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Storm rocks election also

by
02 November 2012

by a staff reporter

AP PHOTO/CHARLES SYKES

Powerless: the New York skyline darkened by power-cuts on Tuesday

Powerless: the New York skyline darkened by power-cuts on Tuesday

CONTENDERS in the US presiden­tial race suspended campaigning because of Hurricane Sandy, just a week before election day.

The last polls before the super­storm hit the east coast showed President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger, Governor Mitt Romney, to be neck and neck. Com­mentators agree that the inter­ruption is likely affect the results; but it is by no means clear which of the two will benefit.

In 2008, Mr Obama won over­whelming support from ethnic-minority voters: 94 per cent of African-Americans turned to him. His decision to support same-sex marriage, however, has shaken these supporters, many of whom are rooted in Evangelical churches. In one Roman Catholic diocese, the Bishop issued a letter warning parishioners that to vote for a candidate who supported "non-negotiables" such as abortion and gay marriage would be "putting your soul in jeopardy".

Some voters have already made their mark by voting early. In Florida last Sunday, churches were calling out their voters and laying on transport to "call souls to the polls". They redoubled their efforts after the Republican state governor, Rick Scott, cut down the number of days allowing early voting. Critics said that he did this because early voting had helped Mr Obama in 2008.

The President was among those early voters this week, in Chicago - the first time a president has voted early, and in person.

Asked whether Hurricane Sandy would have an impact on the 6 November election, Mr Obama said: "The election will take care of itself next week. Right now, our number-one priority is to make sure that we are saving lives, that our search-and-rescue teams are going to be in place, that people are going to get the food, the water, the shelter that they need in case of emergency, and that we respond as quickly as possible to get the economy back on track."

In Ohio, one Christian group urged people to fast from the media for 24 hours before voting. Its cam­ctspaign asks people to "turn down the noise - fast, pray, vote."

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