Do hurricanes vote?

A monster storm is about to hit the East. From what I understand, Hurricane Sandy is on a path to the Mid-Atlantic and New England, while a huge cold front is coming down from Canada, and something weird is coming in from the West. When they all converge, the result will be, according to some crazy person who comes up with bizarre names, a Frankenstorm.

Notice the path? It’s affecting North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Swing states. So, TPM and others are taking a look at the storm and guessing how it will affect the presidential election.

“It depends on where it hits and how much, it’s just impossible to say in advance,” Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, told TPM. “If Obama were directing the snowstorm it would be in the Shenandoah valley and Southwest Virginia as they want as low a turnout as possible in those rural areas. If Romney were directing the snowstorm, it would go right down the corridor from Northern Virginia into Richmond, which is where Obama’s votes come from.”…

Ohio is another place to watch. Heavy snow could make things more difficult in the many smaller counties where Romney is expected to dominate, but if it hits the more Democratic northwest corner of the state that could have an outsize impact on early voting. Speaking of early voting, it can’t hurt that Democrats already have a big lead banked before whatever weather heads their way….

Finally, the storm could have an impact on the final round of public opinion polls as well, making it hard to get accurate data in swing states facing severe weather conditions. Phone line and power outages could make it hard to call voters in certain areas, for example, or throw off the usual daily routines that pollsters rely on to reach respondents. Tom Jensen of Democratic pollster PPP, which plans on running about 20 more surveys before election day, told TPM they’re worried about the potential impact from Sandy.

I will be so happy when this election is over. Then we can worry about things like how many people a major storm is going to wipe out when we’re not distracted by how it’s going to affect voter turnout.

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