Massive Hurricane Sandy Changes Campaign Trail

Even though the presidential race is in its last full week, campaigning has come to a standstill across America as the east coast recovers from Sandy, a mammoth hurricane-turned-superstorm. Or so it seems.

In reality, the campaigning has just taken a different turn. Sandy has actually become a major political player. In the wake of the 2005 debacle over former President George W. Bush’s response to Hurricane Katrina victims in New Orleans, all eyes are on President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney and their responses to the storm.

Changing Campaign Strategies

Sandy wreaked havoc across much of the mid-Atlantic, Northeast and New England states, throwing a wrench into Romney’s and Obama’s original campaign plans to go around the nation. Both have said they’ve scaled back campaign stops across the country, vowing to focus attention on damages and the injured.

Experts say that Obama could have the upper hand in post-Sandy campaigning, if he plays his cards right. Obama has the opportunity to look and act presidential, handing out federal disaster funds, reaching across party lines to offer aid, and ensuring a quick response from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Romney, however, doesn’t have as many opportunities. He and vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan have called for donations to the Red Cross and are doing relief work in the swing states of Ohio and Wisconsin.

Close Race in the Polls

New polls show that Romney holds a slight lead over Obama nationally but could be trailing behind in some of the most important battleground states. According to an NPR poll, Romney has a one percentage point lead over Obama overall, but the president was leading by four percentage points in critical swing states that include North Carolina, Florida, Wisconsin, New Mexico, Iowa and Colorado.

ABC News and the Washington Post also came out with their own poll that similarly showed a single percentage point separating the two candidates. Romney is garnering 49 percent support to Obama’s 48 percent. At this stage in 2008, Obama held a majority support, ABC News reported.

With the narrow lead, it’s impossible to say what will happen in the coming week for both candidates. Sandy hasn’t just upended campaigning but also could impact the election overall. Some say that both candidates will lose critical early votes from hard-hit swing states that include Virginia, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire. And no one knows yet how floodwaters will affect polling places across the east coast.

Bill “No Pay” Fay has lived a meager financial existence his entire life. He started writing/bragging about it seven years ago, helping birth Debt.org into existence as the site’s original “Frugal Man.” Prior to that, he spent more than 30 years covering college and professional sports, which are the fantasy worlds of finance. His work has been published by the Associated Press, New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Sports Illustrated and Sporting News, among others. His interest in sports has waned some, but his interest in never reaching for his wallet is as passionate as ever. Bill can be reached at bfay@debt.org.

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    Sources:

    1. Falcone, M. et al. (2012, October 30). One Week To Go: Super Storm Stalls Presidential Politics (The Note). ABCNews. Retrieved from http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2012/10/one-week-to-go-super-storm-stalls-presidential-politics-the-note/
    2. Langer, G. (2012, October 29). 2012 Presidential Race Is Its Own ‘Perfect Storm.’ ABC News. Retrieved from http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2012/10/2012-presidential-race-is-its-own-perfect-storm/
    3. Reeve, E. (2012, October 29). Sandy Is the Most Important Swing Voter. The Atlantic Wire. Retrieved from http://www.theatlanticwire.com/politics/2012/10/sandy-most-important-swing-voter/58470/
    4. Photo credit: Department of Homeland Security. http://www.dhs.gov/