Because of the storm.
Hurricane Sandy is literally putting a damper on everything—even everyone’s favorite monthly data announcement. The U.S. Labor Department is waiting until the “weather emergency” subsides to determine whether they’ll go ahead with the Friday release of October’s jobs report. The U.S. Census Bureau is also deliberating whether or not it will hold onto the economic reports it had planned to release this week. Typically influential on political polls, October’s jobs report will be the last released before Election Day.
As the city prepares for Sandy.
The effects of Hurricane Sandy reached New York City on Monday, knocking down trees and causing some flooding. A woman was rushed to the hospital after being hit by a tree in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. The victim, described as being in her 50s, was taken to Bellevue Hospital to be treated for a non–life threatening head injury. Flooding has been reported in parts of the city and water has breached the promenade in Lower Manhattan's Battery Park City. Mayor Bloomberg again urged residents living in the city’s Evacuation Zone A to leave, saying “Conditions are deteriorating ... the window for your getting out safely is closing.”
As Hurricane Sandy heads towards land, The Daily Beast is tracking photos from the flood zones.
Obama heads to D.C.; Mitt keeps campaigning.
Super-storm or not, the political show must go on. Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney is prepared to hit all of his scheduled campaign stops Monday, rally-hopping from Ohio to Illinois to Iowa and ending his day in Wisconsin. But that doesn’t mean Mitt’s ignoring the treacherous weather slated to hit the Northeast. He’s got New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on speed dial, for one thing, and members of his campaign will be collecting storm-relief supplies at their North Carolina, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Virginia offices. Meanwhile, President Obama is heading back to Washington and letting Bill Clinton stand in for him at a Florida rally. Both candidates are giving the residents of states in Sandy’s path a break from fundraising emails for the next day or so.
Romney was on a roll until Hurricane Sandy upended the campaign. Howard Kurtz on why the storm hurts him far more than the president.
The monster storm battering the East Coast is hurting both presidential candidates. But it is probably hurting Mitt Romney more.
Mitt Romney greets supporters at a rally in Celina, Ohio, on Sunday. (Melina Mara, The Washington Post / Getty Images)
By freezing the campaign in its tracks, Hurricane Sandy is blunting the momentum that Romney had achieved since the debates, which put him ahead of President Obama in many national tracking polls and had him edging ahead or closing the gap in several key swing states. With the killer storm now dominating the news, Romney faces the challenge of keeping the conversation on politics when tens of millions of Americans are focused on anything but.
Romney’s progress, at least as measured by polls, may have been petering out anyway before Sandy struck. But from the viewpoint of a challenger trying to make the sale, the storm is an unwelcome October surprise.
To underscore Romney’s dilemma from an appearance standpoint, the president is assuming control of the federal emergency response. Obama flew to Florida on Sunday night, but canceled an Orlando event scheduled for Monday morning to return to the White House to monitor the storm’s damage. Romney, by contrast, has no role other than to express sympathy.
The hurricane takes two critical states, Virginia and New Hampshire, off the campaign trail this week. The candidates simply can’t bring their Secret Service details and motorcades into storm-ravaged areas trying to cope with flooding and blackouts. This could undermine Romney’s effort to close the gap in Virginia, where the latest Washington Post poll gives Obama a 4-point lead. The president has a 2-point lead in New Hampshire, according to a PPP poll.
Both candidates are likely to double down in Ohio, which is mostly outside Sandy’s path. Obama had been clinging to a 4-point lead in that bellwether state, but a Cincinnati Enquirer survey now has them tied at 49 percent. Romney has fewer paths to 270 electoral votes without Ohio.
The storm and its aftermath could hurt Obama’s ground operation, which is widely acknowledged to be stronger than Romney’s and is a linchpin of his strategy. By sidelining staffers, and making potential voters harder to reach by phone, the hurricane could put a serious crimp in the Obama turnout machine. Obama is also banking more heavily on early voting—Maryland shut down its program for Monday—but many of the affected states have tight restrictions on such voting.
New York City and the East Coast were battered by Sandy. See the latest news.
Triumph on Nov. 6 may come down to the five Ws. From the weather (Sandy’s wrath) to waxing and waning party enthusiasm, former Bush and McCain adviser Mark McKinnon on what could seal the deal for Romney—or Obama.
It’s been an epic strategic game of Risk. After four or more long years of offensive and defensive board game moves, the generals feel powerless. (Been there.) It is now up to the troops on the ground. Turnout matters. And with a little over a week to go until Election Day, victory is but a dice roll away for President Obama or Mitt Romney. What will it take for either campaign to win? Well, it may depend on the five Ws.
Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and his vice presidential running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., wave to supporters at a campaign event, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, at Koehler Athletic Complex on the campus of the University of Findlay in Findlay, Ohio. (J.D. Pooley / AP Photo)
Weather: With Sandy, the “storm of the century,” barreling toward the East Coast, targeting some 60 million people, will hurricane damage and potential power outages have an impact on early voting in the mid-Atlantic, southern New England, and inland states? Or even on Election Day itself? Team Obama is pinning its hopes on early voters; Team Romney is banking on high turnouts Nov. 6. But Sandy, like any gathering storm in the Middle East or overseas, is nonpartisan.
Wallet: No matter what “economic experts” project for GDP growth, voters vote based on what they see with their own eyes and feel in their own wallets. Rhetoric is no replacement for reality. And this is a vulnerability for the president. A majority of Americans still describe the current economic situation as poor, and likely voters now trust Romney more than Obama to do a better job of managing it, 51 percent to 44 percent, according to a recent AP-GfK poll (PDF).
Women: More women than men vote. And Obama won the women’s vote by 13 percentage points in 2008. But today, the AP poll finds Romney has closed the gender gap; women are now split evenly between the incumbent and the challenger. Although the Obama campaign discounts any poll showing the president trailing among women, the vanishing gap may be why Team Obama is focusing on abortion in the battleground states and risking the airing of the “Your First Time” video, equating voting to losing one’s virginity. Other than the devastating “Daisy” ad for the incumbent LBJ that aired only once in 1964, this may be the first presidential ad with content inappropriate for family viewing.
Waxing (and Waning): Enthusiasm is up overall among Republicans and down among Democratic voters in 2012. Many of the national and battleground state poll models are based on turnout assumptions that more closely mirror 2008, with its historic turnouts among key demographic voting blocs for Obama, than the red-tide midterm elections of 2010 or the Republican victory in 2004. But Gallup projects a more Republican electorate this year. And though Obama still has significant support among Hispanic, African-American, and young voters, ground Romney is unlikely to gain, the Republican candidate leads among independents by double digits, according to several national polls. No presidential candidate has won while losing independents by double digits since exit polling began in 1972.
Wind: Momentum matters. And right now, it looks like it is going Romney’s way. The wind is at his back. Support for Obama seems to have hit a ceiling. Polls will always tighten, but undecided voters will go with the winner.
No matter which candidate scores more Ws in his column on Nov. 6, will a truce truly be called by the next day? Or will the battle move to the courts, in a repeat of the painful days of the election in 2000, with dimpled chads, hanging chads, and pregnant chads? Having barely lived through that along with the rest of the country, I pray that the popular vote and electoral vote totals align and that the win is decisive. If not, voters may just take their tokens home and not play anymore.
Will head inland Monday.
Hurricane Sandy, which is already rearing her head in the form of flood waters in New York and Virginia, is expected to turn inland on Monday and really hit during the evening, and on Tuesday morning. As of 8 p.m. Sunday night, the storm was about 485 miles southeast of New York City, moving at 15 mph with 75 mph winds. Thousands of flights have already been canceled in preparation for the storm, as major airlines and airports halt all travel. Forecasters say the worst-case scenario has the metropolitan area of New York getting up to 11 feet of flooding.
Because of interference from Hurricane Sandy Monday.
Hurricane Sandy means business—or a lack thereof. Despite initial reports that only the New York Stock Exchange building would be closing on Monday, sources say the U.S. stock market will in fact close trading on Monday and possibly Tuesday as well. In a statement released Monday night, the NYSE said the decision is due to "the dangerous conditions developing as a result of Hurricane Sandy will make it extremely difficult to ensure the safety of our people and communities, and safety must be our first priority" and "concerns about market integrity." Much of lower Manhattan, where the Exchange is located, is supposed to be evacuated in preparation for Hurricane Sandy.
Reminds residents of their possibly imminent deaths.
And don't you fuggetaboutit. In a New Jersey weather service bulletin issued Sunday ahead of Hurricane Sandy, officials used some unusual language to try to convince those at risk to evacuate: "If you are reluctant ... think about the rescue/recovery teams who will rescue you if you are injured or recover your remains if you do not survive," the bulletin read. Meanwhile Sunday, President Obama declared New York and Washington D.C. in a state of emergency, as he and Romney both canceled campaign trail events due to the storm. As New York City begins to shut down all buses and trains, Washington D.C.—which has a flood warning—also announced it would shut all Metro service for Monday.
In states affected by the storm.
Now that Hurricane Sandy is almost upon the East Coast, Mitt Romney is canceling a slew of campaign stops in toss-up states expected to be hardest hit by the storm, according to one of his advisers. The Republican nominee was forced to call off scheduled events in Virginia, as President Barack Obama cancelled plans to fly to Ohio and Virginia for campaigning. Romney is also suspending his fundraising efforts in North Carolina, Virginia, Washington, D.C., New Jersey, and Pennsylvania until the storm passes.
Despite massive storm.
While most of us mere mortals are cowering at the very idea of Hurricane Sandy, Jimmy Kimmel and his producers are throwing caution to the wind. Jimmy Kimmel Live said it won't alter its plans to film this week at the Brooklyn Academy of Music starting on Monday—even though the city is shutting down its mass transit system. The cast and crew are flying to New York early, and the show is bringing in backup generators in case of a power failure. A rep for the show says they haven't had any audience members back out yet. Chris Rock, Kelly Ripa, and Stephen Colbert are scheduled as guests.
Ahead of massive hurricane.
Everybody's getting ready for Hurricane Sandy. The airlines have preemptively canceled more than 7,000 domestic and international flights set to depart Sunday and Monday, leaving passengers stranded all across the country. Roughly a quarter of the canceled flights were from Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, which is expected to get hit especially hard. East coast airports are expected to decide by Sunday night whether they will close during the storm. The combination of winds gusts above 70 knots and mass transit shutdowns will likely make it difficult for the New York area airports to remain open.
Deaths reported in Cuba, Haiti, Jamaica.
While the United States prepares for Hurricane Sandy, the Caribbean is assessing the storm’s toll. 65 people have been reported dead so far across the region according to officials on Sunday. 51 of those deaths have been reported in Haiti. People in the impoverished nation are among the region’s most vulnerable, with many living in unstable structures left over from an earthquake in 2010.
Team Rubicon, a nonprofit that deploys veterans to help with disaster recovery, did their part to aid victims of Hurricane Sandy in lower Manhattan last week. Team member Curtis Coleman, a former Marine, shares his thoughts on heroic leadership.
As Hurricane Sandy barrels toward the northeast, see some of the most hilarious wind-blown reports.