Opening Act: After the Flood

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Oct. 30 2012 8:28 AM

Opening Act: After the Flood

Ben Domenech asks, possibly too soon after a megastorm, whether we are set for an "undertow election."

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

If you believe the polls, even the ones where Obama is ahead, they no longer dislike Romney as much as they once did – and they may even like him more than they do the president. As the approval advantage has evaporated to below fifty percent, no one in the old media seems to be questioning the assumption that Obama will maximize the votes of the 47-48 percent of people who still approve of him, or at least tell pollsters they do.

The third party candidate debate, previously scheduled for tonight in D.C., will happen on November 5 instead.


Andrew Cohen profiles Ohio Secretary of State John Husted, who keeps trying to limit voters' access to the polls for some vile reason.

The 6th Circuit ruled earlier this month that [provisional] ballots now must be counted. But as late as last week, Husted and his lawyers were still in court fighting a ruling by U.S. District Judge Algenon Marbley, in Columbus, who declared that registered voters in Ohio couldn't be disenfranchised because of the misdirections of poll workers. The threat of thousands of legitimate votes not being counted was not abstract but very real, Judge Marbley noted -- it had happened before, just last year, under Husted's watch.

James Galbraith asks whether income stratification will be... good for the Democrats, for one day next week.

Adam Serwer looks at the poli sci and determines that storms are usually good for incumbents, unless the damage sticks around.

"The pretty strong pattern turns out to be that all other things being equal, the incumbent party does less well when it's too wet or too dry," says Larry Bartels, a professor of political science at Vanderbilt University. In 2004, Bartels and his then-colleague Christopher Achen, who's now a professor at Princeton, authored a study on the impact of climate on elections. According to their study, Al Gore lost an estimated 2.8 million votes to George W. Bush in certain states because of drought or excessive rain. These are votes, the study dryly points out, that Gore could have used.

Many moons ago I wrote a post-Katrina Campaigns and Elections cover story on the same subject.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 


Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

Global Marches Demand Action on Climate Change


Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

  News & Politics
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 21 2014 1:15 PM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 5  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Time Heist."
Sept. 21 2014 9:00 PM Attractive People Being Funny While Doing Amusing and Sometimes Romantic Things Don’t dismiss it. Friends was a truly great show.
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 21 2014 8:00 AM An Astronaut’s Guided Video Tour of Earth
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.