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Hurricane Sandy could cost Obama 300,000 votes

 

President Obama stands to lose as many as 340,000 votes as a result of Hurricane Sandy, not enough to affect the outcome in heavily Democratic Northeastern states, but something that could make a difference in the popular vote if the results of Tuesday’s presidential race are as close as polls indicate, a First Read analysis finds.

“Sandy has the potential to reduce Obama's national popular vote share by depressing turnout in highly Democratic areas along the Eastern Seaboard,” Dr. Michael McDonald of George Mason University, who studies turnout, told First Read. “The storm is unlikely to change the Electoral College outcome, as Obama is heavily favored to win the affected states. A turnout drop could be the difference in a close national election, and thus could shape the political discourse over important policy issues in a possible Obama second term.”

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For example, assuming 2008 vote totals and a 15 percent reduction in turnout in the coastal counties most affected by Hurricane Sandy in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, Obama would lose a net of 340,000 votes, including 247,000 out of New York, 60,000 from New Jersey, 29,000 from Connecticut, and 3,600 from Rhode Island.

Officials in states hit by Hurricane Sandy are now deciding how to hold an election next Tuesday in communities where residents have been displaced and there's still no power. NBC's Tom Curry discusses.

Officially, four times in American history has a candidate become president while losing the popular vote --  John Quincy Adams in 1824, Rutherford B. Hayes in 1876, Benjamin Harrison in 1888, and George W. Bush in 2000. (Some political scientists believe it’s actually five, and that John F. Kennedy lost the popular vote in 1960.) Most recently, the country was divided in 2000 when Al Gore won the popular vote by 540,000, but lost the Electoral College narrowly because of 537 votes in Florida.

It would be even more accurate to dive into individual precincts, but here’s a rough a county-by-county breakdown:

New York: GRAND TOTAL: Obama -247,000
New York – Obama -86,000, Romney -14,000, Net: Obama -72,000
Queens – Obama -72,000, Romney -23,000, Net: Obama -49,000
Kings – Obama -91,000, Romney -23,000, Net: Obama -68,000
Bronx – Obama -51,000, Romney -6,000, Net: Obama -45,000
Richmond – Obama -12,000, Romney -13,000, Net: Romney -1,000
Nassau – Obama -51,000, Romney -43,000, Net: Obama -8,000
Suffolk – Obama -52,000, Romney -46,000, Net: Obama -6,000 

New Jersey: GRAND TOTAL: Obama -60,000
Bergen – Obama -34,000, Romney -28,000, Net: Obama -6,000
Hudson – Obama -23,000, Romney -8,000, Net: Obama -15,000
Union – Obama -21,000, Romney -12,000, Net: Obama -9,000
Essex – Obama -36,000, Romney -11,000, Net: Obama -25,000
Middlesex – Obama -29,000, Romney -19,000, Net: Obama -10,000
Monmouth –Obama -22,000, Romney -24,000, Net: Romney -2,000
Ocean – Obama -16,500, Romney, -24,000, Net: Romney -7,500
Atlantic – Obama -10,200, Romney -7,500, Net: Obama -2,700
Cape May – Obama -3,500, Romney -4,000, Net: Romney -500 

Connecticut: GRAND TOTAL: Obama -29,000
Fairfield – Obama -36,000, Romney -25,000, Net: Obama -9,000
New Haven – Obama -35,000, Romney -22,000, Net: Obama -13,000
Middlesex – Obama -8,000, Romney -5,000, Net: Obama -3,000
New London – Obama -11,000, Romney -7,000, Net: Obama -4,000 

Rhode Island: GRAND TOTAL: Obama -3,600
Washington – Obama -6,000, Romney -4,000, Net: Obama -2,000
Newport – Obama -4,000, Romney -2,400, Net: Obama -1,600