Exit Polls 2012: Hurricane Sandy Was A Deciding Factor For Millions Of Voters In The Election

Climate Changedby Brad Johnson

Exit polls by CBS News reveal that Superstorm Sandy, and President Obama’s response, was a crucial factor for two in five voters nationwide. This recognition comes despite the Obama campaign decision to downplay the growing crisis of climate disasters and to minimize the actions of the Obama administration to build climate resilience. With Obama and Romney neck-and-neck in the polls, the reality of climate disasters and the need for strong governmental response may turn out to be the deciding element of the 2012 election.

Twenty-six percent of those polled said Obama’s broadly praised response was an important factor, and 15 percent — about one in six voters — said it was the most important factor in their vote:


Most important factor 15%

Important factor 26

Minor/not a factor 55

In contrast to President Obama, who has said on the campaign trail that the “droughts we’ve seen, the floods, the wildfires aren’t a joke,” Romney has mocked sea level rise and called for the privatization of the Federal Emergency Management Administration.

Recognizing the fingerprint of global warming pollution on the Sandy disaster, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a Wall Street billionaire, endorsed Obama as a climate voter.

It now looks like tens of millions of Americans agree with Bloomberg: climate change is not a joke, but instead the most important reason to vote.

Brad Johnson is the campaign manager of and Forecast the Facts

12 Responses to Exit Polls 2012: Hurricane Sandy Was A Deciding Factor For Millions Of Voters In The Election

  1. nyc-tornado-10 says:

    Republicans are not happy about the influence hurricanes are having on recent elections, but they have to understand, “hurricanes are people, my friend”!

    Btw, the situation in nyc is surreal. Gas lines, not only for cars, but also for people filling gerry cans. The traffic has been much lighter than normal, if this were not a disaster, it would be pleasant. Global warming – linked weather has caused major distruptions around here in recent years, with heavy flooding, massive blackouts, very hot summers, and severe winter storms limiting our ability to get around or enjoy the outdoors, even for those of us who are lucky to not have suffered damage. If this is what a world with half the arctic ice cap missing looks like, what will our world be like when we melt it completely by summer 2020?

  2. Rob Painting says:

    It would be poetic justice if Hurricane Sandy played a role in Romney’s defeat, however small that role may have been.

  3. Ozonator says:

    Extremist media outlets said that AGW is a hoax and Mitt would win the election. They also are paid to say business could replace government. Thus, I was extra surprised when they didn’t say a thing when the government had to bring in gasoline and fuel oil to victims of AGW Hurricane Sandy due to the failure of good ole conservative businesses.

  4. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Reality was always going to beat silly little human theories, ME

  5. Mark E says:

    que the conspiracy theorists asking what Obama knew about Hurricane Sandy when he gave that Rolling Stones interview several months ago….

  6. idunno says:

    Hi Joe,

    Now the election carnival is over, would you guys look to give some coverage to “Occupy Sandy”?

    Also, this from Naomi Klein:

  7. Chris Winter says:

    Hurricane Sandy was not caused by climate change; but it was helped along (or made more likely, if you prefer that phrasing) by climate change.

    President Obama’s reelection was not caused by Hurricane Sandy, but it was helped along (or made more likely, if you prefer that phrasing) by Hurricane Sandy.

  8. Well, but that presupposes that Obama could have lost without Sandy, and Nate Silver really never had Obama below 70% likely to win all year.

    If we rely on science (which I think we do, here) on climate change, then we rely on science (Nate) on polling too.

  9. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Klein’s article is a timely reminder that Evil never sleeps and looks everywhere and everywhen for opportunities to exploit and pillage. The election result has decent people elated, but, in reality, nothing has changed. The Right simply went too far, this time. They will be back, and they can only ever be defeated by ceaseless effort and eternal vigilance. I doubt that Obama is the man for the job, but, of course, this is the work of millions, not just one ‘iconic’ figure.

  10. Toby Thaler says:

    I think Brad Johnson has over-interpreted the poll results that he quotes. Johnson says “Superstorm Sandy, and President Obama’s response, was a crucial factor for two in five voters.” There is nothing in the question and responses indicating “crucial factor” let alone 40% (2/5). 26% said “important,” not “most important” at 15% or “crucial” (which appears no where).

    Furthermore, extending feelings about Obama’s response to Sandy cannot legitimately be extended to a conclusion about voters’ feelings or beliefs regarding climate change generally. Approval of Obama and Christie hugging and cooperating in a disaster response is not the same thing.

  11. Jan says:

    And, as Rachel Madow and Barney Frank pointed out, Dems upset victories in Congress may have had little to do with Sandy.

    On the other hand Elizabeth Warren scared the pants off us when she observed that a Rep. majority would put Senator Inhoffe in the driver’s seat. So, perhaps, Sandy reminded all of us not to let that happen.

  12. BillD says:

    Yeah, my guess is that Sandy just confirmed the choice of people already leaning strongly to Obama. I’m glad that I contributed a few dollars to the political ad that focused on Romney’s joke about climate change. The good thing about that ad is that was also a broadside shot against the tea party and their congressional candidates.