If Sandy strikes the northeast a week before the election, and causes massive, widespread and long-lasting power outages, as well as enormous damage to trees and such — not to mention crippling snow over the Appalachians (and parts of Ohio???) — it might affect more than campaign travel. We could well see depressed voter turnout throughout the affected region, if the infrastructural damage is still being significantly felt a week later, which seems possible. That might not affect the outcome of the presidential race (unless Ohio really is hard-hit), but, as my father points out via e-mail, it could harm President Obama’s popular vote totals, if folks in Democratic strongholds — particularly New York — don’t vote because the storm’s aftermath makes it too inconvenient (and besides, they know they are not in a swing state, so why go to all the extra trouble?). There’s been a lot of talk about Obama winning the electoral vote but losing the popular vote, like Bush in 2000; in a worst-case scenario, Sandy’s effects could made that more likely. Sandy could also impact some key congressional races, notably the U.S. Senate battles in Connecticut and Massachusetts.The Democratic strongholds not mentioned by Loy that could be the hit by the strongest winds include Washington, DC and Philadelphia, where electric companies are fearing massive power outages for up to a week. Trains and subway traffic will halt, traffic lights won't work, and neither will the electronic voting machines.
There is also the potential problem that the government, led by Obama, can royally screw up the handling of the weather emergency which would be the last straw (and hopefully last Obama straw man) after Benghazi.
We could soon hear the Fat Lady (RIP Willie) singing "Turn Out The Lights, The Party's Over."