Hey Josh –
Thanks for your post (below) regarding Hurricane Sandy’s relation (or lack thereof) to the election. I absolutely agree with you, and I’d like to bring up another point to support your argument.
As Sandy was raging through the mid-Atlantic states and New England, there were a lot of voices predicting low voter turnout due to the storm. There were some still shouting about Sandy’s new brand of voter suppression after both the storm and the election had passed.
My mother lives in one of the counties that was worst affected by Sandy, and yet, she texted me on November 6th to say that it was such a beautiful day that she was planning to walk to her polling place with a friend. Clearly, Sandy failed to suppress my mother’s vote.
Interestingly, I came across an article on the reputable political hub, http://www.weather.com, that is boldly titled ‘Sandy Leads to Drop in Voter Turnout‘. On a serious note, this article is actually titled as such, and although The Weather Channel certainly can’t boast much political expertise, one would expect that they might be able to collect and present accurate data concerning inclement weather – considering the fact that they are THE Weather Channel.
In any case, the brilliant author of this article, Josh Lederman, begins by noting the nation-wide drop in turnout as compared to 2008, acknowledging the eleven percent drop in voter turnout in the state of Texas.
Lederman somehow goes on to place blame on Hurricane Sandy for, again, the nation-wide decrease in voter turnout. He cites New Jersey as an example of Sandy-induced low voter turnout, with an ‘almost twelve’ percent drop in voter turnout as compared to the 2008 election – a whopping FRACTION of a percentage point more than the drop in Texas turnout. Furthermore, he went on to explain the ways in which the state of New Jersey was facilitating and encouraging its citizens’ right to vote at their own convenience in the aftermath of the storm.
I wish I were kidding, but I’m not.
Lederman also notes the shocking ‘drop-off’ in voter turnout in Maryland, one of the states that Sandy attacked quite violently. Maryland experienced a decrease in voter turnout by SEVEN PERCENT, which is five points lower than that of Texas – one of the many states that featured a sharp decrease in voter turnout this year AND stayed well out of Hurricane Sandy’s path.
It’s true that voters turned out in smaller numbers this year than in 2004. It’s possible that this was one of the factors in Romney’s loss. However – to blame Hurricane Sandy for this drop in voter turnout, and thus suggest that the storm may have contributed to Romney’s defeat – is entirely unfounded.
On a final note – to incorrectly represent Hurricane Sandy as a significant factor in the outcome of the election is, in my mind, highly disrespectful to the many Americans who were gravely affected by the storm. With a death toll of over 100, Sandy should be regarded as a national tragedy – not as an ‘unfair advantage’ to President Obama for pundits to shout about.
– Emily Rose Pelz