It’s official: Hurricane Sandy is a Democrat.
Do they actually believe that? Who knows. But it’s a convenient storyline they’ve pitched to reporters and their base to avoid answers like “changing demographics”, the 47% tape, Romney’s taxes and, I mean, you could go on.
Here’s the pitch, in a nutshell: Romney crushed Obama in the first debate, polls reflected as much, the next two debates didn’t matter/happen and Romney was walking on water, á la Peter Sellers at the end of “Being There”—But! then Hurricane Sandy happened. And when the Republican governor of New Jersey, Benedict Christie, played nice with the President, well, voters suddenly went scurrying the other way.
This storyline, of course, assumes voters chase fads the way young girls do One Direction—and that the candidate who wins the Presidency is the one who last, effectively, waves a bright shiny thing in the faces of voters. And if that’s your view of voters as a whole … well, then.
Now, I’m not suggesting Sandy didn’t help Obama. Polls say as much. But the question isn’t whether Sandy helped—rather, the question is “Did Obama need the help in the first place?” I mean, icing is great, but you don’t need it to bake a cake.
Here’s where the Republican storyline gets it right: Polls of likely voters conducted in the seven days after Obama slept walk through his first debate— including Rasmussen, Pew, Gallup and Fox News— showed a Romney lead from anywhere between 1-to-4 points. That, after Obama had led for most of the year. Oh, and voters were witness to Clint Eastwood’s ventriloquism act at the RNC.
However!, fast-forward two weeks. Four out of five major polls of likely voters conducted in the 7 days leading up to Hurricane Sandy’s landfall— National Journal, Pew, CBS/NYTimes, Fox News — showed either an Obama lead or a tie. So —and I think you can smell what I’m cooking here —Romney’s momentum mo-failed him before Sandy struck. And since that time, polls show Obama back to a very narrow lead.
You can assign a number of reasons for this:
- Obama’s much better second and third debates saved his bacon.
- “Reversion to the mean.”
- Voters, polls and Romney are the Lucy, football and Charlie Brown of this election.
Assign any reason you want (or multiple reasons). The point is that any lead of a point or two— particularly when you’ve trailed for the entire year—— is always tenuous. And that Romney needed more than 90 good minutes one Wednesday night in October to prevent his lead from fading.
Mind you, I’m not predicting an Obama win or Romney loss here. I’m just saying that neither did Hurricane Sandy.
But if a fairy tale is what you prefer, then may I recommend “The Princess Bride”, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.