Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Obama and Romney eye Sandy, as response could swing election
An ineffectual response from Obama might give Romney the edge.
Hurricane Sandy struck the east coast Monday night, just a week before the presidential election day. With both President Obama and Gov. Romney neck-and-neck in the current polls, the response the Obama administration shows in the coming days will play a critical role in the election outcome Tuesday.
Cal Jillson, a professor in the SMU political science department, said the storm could benefit Obama and “leave the race where it is,” or it may knock him back in voter confidence.
“We have a big storm and how the federal government through FEMA responds to that storm could affect the way people feel about President Obama,” Jillson said. “If the federal government looks like it’s on its game, that could benefit him a little bit, but more likely just leave the race where it is.”
The Bush administration lost a substantial amount of American support after many believed it failed to effectively respond to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. If Obama is also ineffective in responding to Hurricane Sandy quickly and adequately, it could secure a win for Romney, despite many analysts predicting Obama winning re-election as of Monday.
“[Obama] has returned to Washington to oversee the response to the storm because he knows if the government is seen as being ineffectual he would be punished for that.”
While the first priority is the safety and well-being of all those in affected areas on the east coast, Jillson explained that the election will none-the-less inevitably remain on the minds of both parties.
“Both candidates hope that there will be several days of active campaigning after the storm hits and the initial response has been effective.”
As of Tuesday at 5 p.m., there were at least 40 deaths reported by the Associated Press as a result of Sandy. Disaster relief efforts are in effect.
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