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Schoen: Superstorm Sandy Has 'Frozen' Election Action

By Patrick Hobin and Kathleen Walter   |   Tuesday, 30 Oct 2012 12:47 PM

If the election were held today, President Barack Obama would win narrowly, Democratic pollster and strategist Doug Schoen told Newsmax TV, but the momentum is with Mitt Romney now so in a week things could be different.

The superstorm that rocked the eastern portion of the country has “frozen the action,” Schoen said, which will likely pick up again on Wednesday or Thursday “where we left off with a statistical tie in the popular vote and 8 or 9 swing states hanging in the ballots.

Schoen said that a week before the vote, “I’d say Barack Obama would ever so narrowly win.”

Watch the exclusive interview here.

Romney’s momentum, however, cannot be discounted, he said. “I would not count out the possibility that a week from today, Governor Romney could emerge victorious. We will have to watch the polls closely over the next seven days and my only hope is that we have a chance that we have to talk one more time before the election to have a final wrap up.”

In terms of which candidate could be helped by the storm, Schoen said, “it’s impossible to say what the impact will be.”

“The President in the short term is trying to use it for the purposes of generating leadership,” he said. “For those of you who saw Fox and Friends this morning, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was effusive in his praise of the President. On the other hand, if there appears to be a drag in the clean-up efforts it certainly could affect Governor Romney in the remaining days of the campaign.”

It remains to be seen as to whether people’s ability to vote will be affected by the storm, Schoen said.

“I largely think we will be up and running by Tuesday but time will tell,” he said. “But bottom line, we have states like Virginia that were impacted, we have states like Ohio that were not impacted so what will happen a week from today, it’s hard to say. It could well be like a different century a week later.

That said, “I don’t think there’s any chance that the election will not be held next Tuesday barring some other hurricane or otherwise unanticipated act of God.”

In terms of storm-related lawsuits by one of the political parties, Schoen said it’s hard to say what will emerge.

“I think we’re in really an unanticipated arguably virgin territory,”
he said. “I think it’s impossible to say what the impact of the storm will be and any lawsuits that fly from it. I think we really just have to see where we stand with power and with cleanup efforts in the next two or three days.”

Given the tight race, Schoen said it’s “certainly possible” but “probably not probable” that a winner won’t be declared on Election Day.

“But my sense is its more likely than not that we’ll have a clear and definitive winner,” he said. “The real question to me perhaps a subject for another day, is will and can America pull together after the most divisive contest in recent political history.

As far as the swing states, Schoen said, “From what I’m seeing, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin are potentially in play in ways that two weeks ago were never expected. There’s been some movement recently that remains unabated to Governor Romney. I think he has the momentum.
Whether he can close the race out and win is the big unanswered question.”

He added that he sees Florida and North Carolina going for Romney and Ohio as a statistical tie.

"Florida I see red, North Carolina I see red, and Ohio at this point in my judgment is a statistical tie."

He said it’s too hard to say what the storm’s impact will be on the Senate races, but “it looks to me that Elizabeth Warren is the favorite in Mass. It looks to me like Angus King is the favorite in Maine. Both are likely to either in Warren’s case be a democrat or in King’s case caucus with the Democrats. That being said, you have a whole host of races in the Midwest that are within the margin of error. You have Nebraska which was a pickup and you have Montana, North Dakota, even Missouri now that are all within the margin of error for the Republicans.”

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If the election were held today, President Barack Obama would win narrowly, Democratic pollster and strategist Doug Schoen told Newsmax TV, but the momentum is with Mitt Romney now so in a week things could be different.

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