Superstorm Sandy could make waves on election day - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Superstorm Sandy could make waves on election day

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New Orleans, La. -- While Sandy didn't hit close to home, its aftermath could make a difference in the future of this country and that affects all of us.

The Northeast took the brunt of Sandy, but the entire nation could feel her effects on election day.

"I think how Obama handles it is the biggest issue," said one woman.

"If it's handled well, it'll have a positive impact for the president.  If not, it will have a negative impact on the president," added another likely voter. 

President Obama made this announcement Tuesday: "My message to the Federal Government... no bureaucracy, no red tape, get the resources where they're needed as fast as possible." 

Election day is quickly approaching, and the outcome could have "Sandy" written all over it.

"There's actually political science research on natural disasters and weather on voting," said Tulane political science professor Brian Brox.  He says this is another chance for President Obama to be seen as presidential, but there is another side to the story.

"Natural disaster, people lose possessions, people lose family members... you just don't want to be an incumbent when people go to the voting booth in a bad mood," said Brox.

That could be good news for GOP candidate Mitt Romney, who greeted donors at an emergency relief site on Tuesdays.  "We're going to send them into, I think, New Jersey, where we've identified a site that can take these goods and distribute them to people who need them," Romney told a crowd of supporters.

Perhaps the biggest election impact, though, could be on the process itself.  "The area affected by the hurricane is traditionally more Democratic-leaning areas," said Brox.  "If this hurts Democratic turnout, this could take, you know, slight Obama leads, make them very close to tied or perhaps take tied states and put them slightly into Romney's category."

Brox says Sandy has taken an already tight race and made it even more uncertain.

There have also been questions about whether the election should be postponed because of Sandy.  Congress sets the date for the presidential election and could come back from recess and pass a law to change it, but that's not likely to happen.

If there are still problems with power outages and mass transit, states will have to work to accommodate voters by extending voting hours or relocating polling places.   

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