It’s the October Surprise no one expected. Hurricane Sandy has pushed the 2012 presidential campaign off the front pages of newspapers, websites and TV news shows. The priority for people in the path of the storm is staying safe, not parsing the Gallup or Rasmussen polls. And not expressing faux outrage over some inane gaffe by either candidate. And if Sandy prevents another idiotic comment about rape and women’s bodies to reach our ears, we can only be quietly grateful.
The surge in storm coverage arrived just as poll watchers and assorted pundits were imagining another Bush-Gore 2000 scenario, when George W. Bush won the Electoral College, but Al Gore won the popular vote. This time around, pundits with air time to fill were musing on how it was possible for President Obama to score the necessary 270 electoral votes to win next week, but Mitt Romney could win the popular vote. Not all the pundits are convinced that this possible outcome is probable, and they’ll dig deep into the poll numbers to tell you why.
Of course just because people are glued to the Weather Channel doesn’t mean the campaign has stopped. President Obama and Mitt Romney may have canceled events, but they continue to spin as furiously as Hurricane Sandy. Romney is claiming momentum, but Obama’s camp says not so, look at the “cold hard data” of early voters and state-by-state polling, said Obama campaign spokesman David Axelrod in a phone conference early today.
Hurricane Sandy offers not just a respite for voters sick of the bickering and mudslinging. It gives Obama a chance to remind everyone he’s still in charge.
“I’m not worried about the impact on the election,” the president said in response to a question at his news conference today. “I’m worried about the impact on families, on first responders, on the economy and on transportation. The election will take care of itself next week.”
This is a national emergency and everyone must put their efforts to help, what are sure to be the many victims of this terrible disaster ahead of politics and partisan bickering.