Presidential Polls: Hurricane Sandy Could Impact Election

    October 30, 2012
    Amanda Crum

President Obama has consistently had at least a slight lead in most of the polls so far, but that could change with the effects of Hurricane Sandy charging down the Eastern seaboard, which holds several key states for him in the election.

With enormous power outages throughout several cities and thousands of voters displaced because of evacuations and flooding, it’s difficult to say just how big the impact will be on Election Day. The Investor’s Business Daily Poll has announced they will be suspending polling activity until further notice, and other national polls could be affected as well. Nate Silver of The New York Times predicts that Obama’s lead could drop right when it really matters…but will it be enough to count?

“Imagine that 15 million people are essentially off-limits to pollsters because of the hurricane, because they are without power, displaced from their homes or otherwise are well-adjusted human beings who are more interested in looking after their families than in answering a political survey,” he writes. “The Northeast is Democratic leaning, of course: imagine that these voters would prefer Barack Obama to Mitt Romney by a net of 20 percentage points, on average.

Fifteen million Americans represent about one-twentieth of the American population. If one-twentieth of Americans, who are 20 points Democratic-leaning, are unable to reply to surveys, Mr. Obama’s standing in the polls would be negatively impacted by a net of one percentage point as a result.”