The Nanos Number: Hurricane Sandy's political impact

Nik Nanos digs beneath the numbers to get at the political, economic and social forces that shape our lives. This week: With the race for the White House a dead heat, could Hurricane Sandy sway support?

Nanos Number: Sandy's political impact

9 years ago
In a new weekly segment on CBC's Power & Politics, Nik Nanos, president of Nanos Research, shares the stories behind the poll numbers 4:57

Nik Nanos digs beneath the numbers with CBC News Networks Power & Politics host Evan Solomon to get to the political, economic and social forces that shape our lives.

This week: With the race for the White House a dead heat, how much could Hurricane Sandy sway support?

The number:


The percentage of Americans who support Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.

The source: National survey by Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, conducted Oct. 24-28, 2012. Sample Size: 1,495 likely voters.

The race to the White House is even, according to the latest poll by the Pew Research Center. The results are from a National Survey conducted between Oct. 24 and Oct. 28, using a sample of 1,495 likely voters.

Hurricane Sandy has thrown a wrench into what was already a close campaign and Nik Nanos says it could impact the race on two different fronts.

For U.S. President Barack Obama "it's a platform to look presidential" and one that is bi-partisan because he's with a Republican governor, Nanos says.

Obama toured the hurricane-ravaged state of New Jersey on Wednesday with Gov. Chris Christie. Christie, a staunch Mitt Romney ally, praised the president this week for his handling of the crisis.

Impact of weather on voter turnout

But Hurricane fallout may impact voter turnout as well.

Nanos says weather can impact voter turnout dramatically. Studies on how weather impacts voter turnout show that "for every inch of rain, voter turnout goes down 1 per cent," he says.

Here are the current turnout results from the Pew Research Center of registered voters who say they definitely plan to vote :

  • All voters 84%
  • Romney supporters 88%
  • Obama supporters 83%

(Source: Pew Research Center survey, conducted Oct. 24-28, based on registered voters.)

"The hurricane actually casts a whole new level of uncertainty in terms of how it might impact ... or lower voter turnout," Nanos says.

Popular vote and the electoral college

When races get this tight there's also a greater chance of a candidate winning the popular vote but losing the electoral college and in turn the election.

The last time that happened was in 2000, in the race between Al Gore and George W. Bush. Gore won 500,000 more votes than Bush, but lost the election.

Nanos says the race could be that tight next Tuesday night.