In American political jargon, an October surprise is a news event with the potential to influence the outcome of an election, particularly one for the U.S. presidency. The reference to the month of October is because the date for national elections (as well as many state and local elections) occurs between November 2 and 8, and therefore events that take place in late October have greater potential to influence the decisions of prospective voters. – Wikipedia
In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy many people are facing challenges. From emergency workers to elected officials at several levels, from everyday citizens to FEMA professionals, the circumstances call for poise, strength, common sense and sometimes heroism.
Someone in a very tough spot is Mitt Romney. Not that he, nor his opponent for that matter, faces any physical danger, but with the Sandy disaster Obama has had to put campaigning aside and be presidential while Romney has to tread carefully. If he takes advantage of Obama’s preoccupation with Sandy, he appears to be opportunistic. Yet if he dials back his activities too much he faces the possibility of being lost in the media furor that Sandy has created.
This October Surprise couldn’t have come at a worse time for Romney hitting just as he was pulling even or ahead in the polls. And he can’t cry foul as it was hardly a concocted diversion.
This is an illustration of the advantage an incumbent has in an election campaign assuming said incumbent doesn’t screw up entirely. The pressure is on both candidates, one to not appear opportunistic and the other to be presidential and lead his people – which after all is why he was elected. If Obama can step up and be seen as a strong president, putting aside politics in favor of leadership, his poll numbers may see an increase. And he can’t be accused of taking advantage of the situation, that’s his job, just ask New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, who has said Obama has been “outstanding” in his response to Sandy.