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Hurricane Sandy may reduce voter turnout in New Jersey!/JohnPMcLaughlin/status/263856268765171712

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2.4 million people in New Jersey currently do not have power. By comparison,  3.8 million New Jersey voters cast ballots in the 2008 presidential election.

If power outages continue into next week, voter turnout probably will decline sharply. Usually, reduced turnout benefits Republicans.

With devastation from #Sandy & many outages, do NY & NJ have a chance to go red with distracted voters & a depressed turnout? #Hmmm

— The Real Bepo (D) (@TheRealBepo) October 30, 2012

Meanwhile, Sen. Robert Menedez’s sex scandal could further depress Democrat turnout.

But is Barack Obama’s lead in the Garden State so large that he will win there no matter what?

The most recent poll, conducted by the Philadelphia Inquirer, put Obama up 10 points. (The Inquirer did not release internals, so we do not know whether the sample was skewed toward Democrats.)

And Republican strongholds have been affected by Hurricane Sandy along with Democrat strongholds:

But much of the Jersey Shore leaned toward McCain, and it is among the areas hardest hit by Sandy in the state. Ocean County, for instance, which includes the townships of Toms River and Barnegat, gave McCain 59 percent of its vote to 40 percent for Obama.

So while voting could prove difficult in Democratic strongholds like Newark, where power is likely to be out for days, and Atlantic City, where large-scale flooding occurred in addition to power outages, Republican areas will likely be affected, too.

Even if New Jersey is not in play, reduced turnout there and in other northeastern states should increase Romney’s likelihood of winning the popular vote:

Now I can start fretting about how low turnout in NY and NJ will cost Obama the popular vote, if not the electoral college.

— Ayelet Waldman (@ayeletw) October 30, 2012

Even if it doesn't affect most swing states, I wonder if Sandy decreases turnout in NY, NJ, etc enough to help Romney win popular vote.

— Adam Radwanski (@aradwanski) October 30, 2012

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