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Study: Hurricane Sandy Helped Obama Hold Off Final Romney Push

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U.S. President Barack Obama delivers his victory speech after being reelected for a second term. Obama won reelection against Republican candidate, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.  (credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers his victory speech after being reelected for a second term. Obama won reelection against Republican candidate, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. (credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (CBS DC) – Barack Obama edged ahead of Mitt Romney in the final days of the presidential campaign, and Hurricane Sandy is being looked at as one of the major possible factors.

In the Pew Research Center’s election weekend survey after the storm, Obama held a 48 percent to 45 percent lead over Romney among likely voters.

A week before, the race was deadlocked with each candidate drawing support from 47 percent of the likely electorate. Interviewing for the final pre-election survey was conducted Oct. 31- Nov. 3 among 2,709 likely voters. The previous survey was conducted Oct. 24-28, before Hurricane Sandy made landfall along the East Coast.

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Obama’s handling of the storm’s aftermath may have contributed to his improved showing.

According to the Pew Research Center, 69 percent of all likely voters approve of the way Obama is handling the storm’s impact. Even a plurality of Romney supporters (46 percent) approve of Obama’s handling of the situation; more important, so too do 63 percent of swing voters.

Superstorm Sandy, which devastated areas of the East Coast one week before the election, wiped out power for millions and disrupting usual voting routines. Associated Press polls found that about 13 percent fewer voters in New Jersey cast ballots for president than in 2008.

Elections officials have given displaced residents in some areas until Friday to cast special email ballots.

In mid-September, Obama led Romney by eight points among likely voters, but in early October, shortly after the debate, he trailed by four points.

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