Open Forum: Storm surge

Posted: November 10, 2012

Judging by the Rasmussen Poll, a three-point Mitt Romney lead collapsed during the final week of the campaign, so that, on the day before the election, Romney was up by only one point; and, on the day of the election, President Obama won by two points.

The Gallup Poll tells us approximately the same story. Before it suspended, it had Romney ahead by five points. When it resumed, the day before the election, it had Romney ahead by only one point, just like the Rasmussen Poll. Its suspension, however, masked the change in voter preferences that was taking place.

All the key battleground states fell to the winner of the nationwide popular vote. The nationwide popular vote was 50 to 48. Florida, Ohio, Virginia, and Colorado fell 50 to 48 or 50 to 47 to Obama.

These four states turned out to be the ground zero of the election. Obama’s vote plus that of Jill Stein (the Green Party candidate) nudged the vote of Romney plus those of Gary Johnson (the Libertarian Party candidate) and Virgil Goode (the Constitutionalist Party candidate), by one point.

Obama enjoyed the same strong support he received from minority voters and single women in 2008. But, he lost ground among whites, younger voters, and independents. Based on the economic conditions, he should have lost the election by two points. But, he was reelected in an under-performing economy in part because of race and gender issues.

It turned out that this year’s “October Surprise” was Hurricane Sandy, an act of God. It suspended the campaign and presented the president as nonpartisan. After that, it was all “Get Out the Vote” and a surge at the polls.

The stock market was decidedly up on Election Day, as the surge seemed to be big enough to overcome the Democratic advantage in the early and absentee vote. But, the stock market was down, big time, the day after, with the tabulation of the vote. As it turned out, voter participation fell relative to the historic turnout of 2008, and the Election Day majority of the Republicans did not overcome the pre-Election Day majority “banked” by the Democrats.

Now that the election is over, the real problems facing the country and the world remain — the threat of a nuclear Iran and radical Islam in general, the budget deficit and the looming bankruptcy of the nation’s entitlement programs, the under-performing economy, and the recovery of New Jersey and New York City from the super storm that got Barack Obama re-elected.

Clifford F. Thies is a resident of Winchester.