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:
IMPORTANCE OF OBAMA’S HURRICANE RESPONSE
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.