As Hurricane Sandy bears down on the East Coast, the storm is becoming the final ”X-factor” for the 2012 campaign. By affecting everything from campaign stops to early voting, the Hurricane and corresponding winter storms are quickly becoming the October Surprise that everyone has been waiting for.
Usually the October surprise is a bit more conspiratorial, a hidden tape of an interview that doesn’t get released until a week before the election, or maybe a witness to a controversial event that makes news.
However, this season, the October surprise is the Hurricane and while it directly affects both campaigns, it will do more to define the final week of the President Obama’s election season.
President Obama is not only the Commander in Chief of the United States Armed Forces; he is also the unofficial CEO of the United States Government Agencies. Those agencies, like FEMA, will be under the microscope, handling the storm’s affects throughout the Eastern Seaboard.
And like any CEO, Obama will be graded for how the agencies respond. He’ll be given credit if they keep the calm, and he’ll take the blame if systems fail.
If the race wasn’t as close as it currently is, or if we still had a few weeks until Election Day, Hurricane Sandy may not sway many votes.
However, the Hurricane not only has exquisite timing, but also is taking dead aim at a few swing states. North Carolina, Virginia and even New Hampshire are set to feel direct affects from the storm and will be in need of services from those agencies mentioned above.
Even voters in states that won’t directly feel the impact of the storms will be kept abreast of exactly how things are going. Voters in Ohio, Colorado and Wisconsin will have plenty of information to make an opinion of how they feel the United States government is handling this emergency.
The idea that a lot of voters will be watching isn’t exactly profound political science analysis, but it’s just the latest in a long series of small events that may sway a very tight race.
And in a race as tight as this one, every detail and every October surprise can make a difference.
About The Blogger
– Dominic Dezzutti, producer of the Colorado Decides debate series, a co-production of CBS4 and Colorado Public Television, looks at the local and national political scene in his CBSDenver.com blog. Read new entries here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Dezzutti writes about federal, state and local matters and how our elected leaders are handling the issues important to Colorado. Dezzutti also produces the Emmy winning Colorado Inside Out, hosted by Raj Chohan, on Colorado Public Television.