Despite storm, voter turnout likely less than in 2008 - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Despite storm, voter turnout likely less than in 2008

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Despite Hurricane Sandy's devastation on the Northeastern United States, projections show national voter turnout will be lower than 2004 and 2008 totals.

Gallup indications of voter turnout, collected before Hurricane Sandy, suggest voter turnout will fall short of that in the previous two presidential elections. Registered voters report giving less thought to this year's election and are less likely to rate their chance of voting as a 10 on a 10-point scale compared with 2004 and 2008.

However, voter turnout is projected to be higher than in 1996 and 2000.

These results are based on Gallup Daily election tracking form Oct. 15-28. Voters tend to give more thought to the election and voting intentions the closer it gets to Election Day. However, hurricane-turned-superstorm Sandy has overshadowed the election and campaign efforts over the past week, and that could affect how voters perceive the election and campaigns, as well as how much attention they give to the election.

Because of that, Gallup has suspended its election tracking because of concerns about the ability to accurately represent the U.S. electorate with so many people displaced by the storm.

How Sandy will affect voter turnout on Nov. 6 is unclear, particularly in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic where effects such as flooding and power outages may linger through Election Day. Sandy could also continue to affect early voting.

Some parts of West Virginia saw anywhere from a couple of inches to a couple of feet of snow caused by Sandy. Secretary of State Natalie Tennant suspended early voting in several counties for Oct. 30. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has declared a state of emergency and is seeking a major federal disaster declaration.

Snow and high winds resulted in power outages for many parts of the state. Power companies are estimating power may not be restored for seven to 10 days.