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Discussion: (4 comments)

  1. SeattleSam

    If people really were that influenced by the storm, I have to be even more frightened about the electorate than I already am.
    My interpretation, though, is that those who decided to vote for Obama (for whatever reason) had to give some rationale that wouldn’t sound silly, and the one at hand was Sandy. What were they going to say, “I was wavering but decided to vote of Obama because of how well the economy’s been doing the last four years?”

  2. Michael Stein

    “15% of people said that the hurricane response was the most important factor in their vote, but only 9% of people said they decided in the last few days. That implies that some people decided whom to vote for based on Obama’s response to a hurricane that hadn’t occurred yet.”

    It’s a bit murkier than that. The hurricane arrived the evening of 29th October. People who decided on 31st October – after the hurricane – would still fall into the “in October” group, which comprises 11%. So there may not be a mathematical contradiction after all.

    It should also be kept in mind that the hurricane factor was _not_ just a matter of Obama getting a chance to look Presidential. Romney had said he wanted to turn emergency response back to the states. Doubts about how well that would have worked if the philosophy had been in effect during Sandy would also cause a shift towards Obama.

    “There was no new information that these late deciders had to base their decision on other than the hurricane.”

    Not true. I can think of two things. In the last week, Romney released an ad about Jeep jobs going to China, and got slammed for the dishonesty. But how many people were influenced by this knock on his integrity is something I don’t know. Given that Romney had been roasted by the fact-checkers on earlier points, it might not have been that much.

    The piece of news with a bigger chance of influencing the election (IMO) was the October job creation report. Late deciders who took the report as signs of gradual but real improvement would be influenced towards Obama. Those who took the Romney position that it’s still not good enough were probably already in Romney’s pocket before then.

    1. Henrik Temp

      Good points, particularly re: the job report. My view on the jobs report was that it was neither particularly good nor particularly bad–probably a wash. If you thought the economy was improving before that report, you probably saw it as good news. If you thought the economy was doing poorly, you probably saw it as bad news.

      As for the Jeep ad, I don’t think it made much difference. You’re correct that Romney had been called out be fact-checkers and the like on dishonesty throughout the campaign, so I doubt one more example would seriously change things. You either thought he was a liar or you didn’t by that point.

      In any case, my intention here wasn’t to necessarily say that “Sandy caused Obama to get reelected.” Rather, it was to point out a contradiction in historical voting trends and to try to find an explanation. To me, Sandy is the most likely factor, though I could have explained more clearly why I don’t think the jobs report was a big factor.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  3. re: last minutes “deciders” making shallow judgments.

    If Romney was a strong, powerful candidate who appealed to a wider diversity than just white guys – he would
    have easily won no matter what “benefited” Obama in the last few days.

    For myself, as someone who has voted for Republicans before and wants the deficit and debt dealt with, I was extremely uncomfortable with Romney’s “plan” which simply did not add up. You can’t cut taxes, increase the DOD budget and balance the budget.

    The dog whistle politics and outright racist talk from folks on the right and not repudiated by Romney did not help.

    He came across as not having a backbone and not standing on principles.

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