“Election officials were ordering generators, moving voting locations and figuring out how to transport poll workers displaced from coastal areas as Tuesday’s presidential election became the latest challenge for states whacked by Superstorm Sandy,” the AP writes. “The storm, which devastated East Coast communities with power outages, flooding and snow, had already disrupted early voting in parts of Maryland, West Virginia, New Jersey and North Carolina. With less than a week to go before the general election, officials in the hardest-hit states were scrambling to ensure orderly and fair balloting in places still dark or under water.”
And: Michael McDonald, a professor of public affairs at George Mason University in Virginia who studies turnout, said a calamitous weather event right before a presidential election was unprecedented. McDonald said that in such a tight presidential race any turnout diminished by Sandy could make a difference in the overall popular vote. ‘It’s unlikely disruptions from Sandy would affect the outcome of the election within those states,’ McDonald said. ‘But if those voters, who are mostly Democrats, end up being subtracted from the national popular vote, you'll get a lower vote share for Obama than he would have received if those people had voted.’”
A First Read analysis finds that in the coastal counties most affected by the storm in the four states affected by Sandy and assuming 2008 totals and a 15 percent reduction in turnout, President Obama would stand to lose a net of about 340,000 votes. He could lose 247,000 out of New York, 60,000 out of New Jersey, 29,000 out of Connecticut, and 3,600 out of Rhode Island.
If Obama wins, one reason, Charlie Cook says, is his early negative ads that helped define Romney: “If Obama ekes out an electoral-vote win, look back to last spring and summer, to the Romney campaign’s decision not to define him in a personal and positive way and the Obama campaign’s decision to roll the dice by spending an enormous amount of money to discredit Romney in the swing states, as the factors that led to the outcome.”
Susan Page notes the candidates have just four days left to seal the deal.
National Jorunal’s Reinhard: “Regardless of the outcome, the Hispanic vote will be one of the most important markers of the parties’ futures, pointing the way to newly competitive battlegrounds in traditionally Republican states across the country. Add conservative movement icon Grover Norquist, the antitax crusader, to the growing list of prominent Republicans who are sounding the alarm.”
One analysis has ad spending topping $1 billion already. NBC’s ad tracking has it at $980 million, on pace to top $1 billion.
AP outlines five things to watch in the home stretch: (1) Jobs report, (2) Election Day rain, (3) the fight over “change,” (4) Ohio, and (5) If Bloomberg endorsement matters.