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Is Sandy this election's 'October surprise'?

8:14 AM, Oct 30, 2012   |    comments
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WASHINGTON -- An historic storm has further clouded an already impossible-to-predict presidential election.

PHOTOS | Hurricane Sandy
RELATED | Track Sandy's Path

As aides to President Obama and Mitt Romney assess how Hurricane Sandy might affect their campaigns, pollsters are starting to note the historically close nature of the race.

RELATED | 11Alive poll shows Romney with 8-point lead in Ga.

An ABC News/Washington Post poll released early Monday reported that this campaign "has been the closest by some measures in pre-election polls" since at least 1960 -- and perhaps "even to the early days of polling in 1936."

It added: "Support for Barack Obama and Mitt Romney has averaged 48-48 percent since September, the closest in ABC/Post polls, or Gallup polls before them, in comparable periods dating back 76 years. It's also the first contest since 1960 in which neither candidate, in this period, has exceeded 50 percent support (adjusting for third-party vote where applicable)."

The many and various polls have been all over the place, at both the national and swing state levels.

Now comes a totally unique factor: A massive hurricane that could directly affect as many as 60 million Americans.

Will the storm response enhance President Obama's reputation with the voters? Will it reduce turnout by hundreds of thousands, or even millions? Will Mitt Romney be able to make his case in the face of wall-to-wall hurricane coverage?

Talk about an "October Surprise."

It's an historic twist to an already historically close election.

And the bottom line: Nobody knows how it will play out.

Batten down the hatches. One week to go.

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