In American political jargon, an October surprise, according to Wikipedia, is a news event with the potential to influence the outcome of an election, particularly one for the nation’s presidency.
It’s too early to tell, but we might end up looking back on this year’s presidential campaign and finding strong evidence that Barack Obama benefited from the otherwise unfortunate October surprise that was Hurricane Sandy.
That evidence would include a Washington Post poll (above) SHOWING strong public approval of Obama’s handling of the federal response to the big storm. Then, too, there’s been the fulsome praise of the president on that score (see HERE) by Chris Christie, the Republican governor of New Jersey.
For three full days this week, the hurricane pretty much sucked all the oxygen out of the news cycle, consigning traditional campaign politics to secondary status. But it also provided a prominent platform on which Obama looked presidential and in control. Christie’s praise simply reinforced that perception.
Of course, none of this will matter much if Obama doesn’t win the election. But if he does win, and by only a narrow margin, the storm and his response to it might have made the difference.