The (possible) effect of Hurricane Sandy on the 2012 election

Anyone curious about the effect that Sandy might have on the upcoming election should give a thorough read to this NPR write-up:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2012/10/30/163954553/sandy-could-dent-the-vote-but-its-unclear-if-it-hurts-obama-or-romney-more?

Some highlights:

  • Depressed turnout in New England could lower popular vote totals for Democrats, increasing the possibility that Obama could win the Electoral College but lose the popular vote.
  • The extent to which turnout might (or might not) be affected is unclear.
  • On one hand, voters tend to punish incumbents for natural disasters beyond their control. On the other hand, they tend to reward incumbents who are seen as effectively responding to them.
  • Bad weather on Election Day historically depresses turnout, and in a way that gives a slight advantage to Republican candidates.

P.S. Props to NPR for extensively citing and discussing political science research in their report.

Also, this ABC story discusses why it’s possible, but not very probable, that Election Day could be postponed due to the storm:

http://abcnews.go.com/ABC_Univision/Politics/hurricane-sandy-push-back-election-day/story?id=17598371#.UJE15W_A9M8

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