Obama widens ballot lead with Sandy push

Obama widens ballot lead with Sandy push

COLUMBUS - Hürriyet Daily News
Obama widens ballot lead with Sandy push

Aimed at dressing wounds of fellow US citizens who were hit hard by a super-storm, which claims many lives and brings destruction, President Obama (L) hugs a marina owner after her business was destroyed in New Jersey. REUTERS photo

With only four days left to Election Day in the United States and efforts underway to clean up damage done by disastrous super storm Sandy, presidential candidates Barack Obama and Mitt Romney boosted their campaign efforts in battleground states as polls currently show them tied at 49-49.

The hurricane, which left at least 54 dead and millions without power along the East Coast, is still the top issue in the U.S. with estimations it will have an effect on the Nov. 6 poll results.

Obama’s decision to suspend his election campaign for three days while Romney was driving a full-speed blitz in Florida and in other swing states worked well for the president, according to an ABC poll showing nearly 75 percent of respondents believed Obama handled the storm positively.

Another advantage for Obama was his close cooperation with the Republican governor of New Jersey Chris Christie, proving his bipartisanship even in the closing days of a heated campaign. Christie and many other Republicans praised Obama for his leadership during the hurricane and even Romney applauded the president’s return to Washington to handle the disastrous storm.

Surveys show tied race

However, one disadvantage for both sides is a possible decrease in election turnout likely to affect Virginia, where both leaders are neck and neck. Obama is believed to be two points ahead in this 13-representative state but nothing is certain until the last vote is counted.

Nationwide surveys indicate the Obama-Romney race is very close, with a recent Washington Post/ABC poll reflecting a tie at 49-49 while the Wall Street Journal indicated a three-point lead for Obama.

However, according to the American election system, having the most votes nationwide does not always pave the way to the White House. Instead, a candidate with at least 270 votes in the Electoral College will gain the presidency. This was experienced in 2000 when Al Gore lost against George W. Bush after his narrow defeat in Florida, one of the leading swing states.

There are nine swing-states that could go to either party: Florida, Virginia, Ohio, Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Caroline, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Most recent surveys of four battleground states showed Obama leading by 3 percentage points in Ohio and 2 points in Virginia. The two rivals are dead even in Florida and Romney leads by 1 percentage point in Colorado. With total of 59 representatives, the decisions of these four states will likely decide who will lead the U.S. until 2016.

After suspending his campaign for three days to handle the storm, Obama is now gearing up for his pre-election campaign with appearances in Nevada, Colorado and Ohio. Obama started his campaign trail from Wisconsin while Romney addressed his electorate in Virgina.