Welcome to a storm-curtailed review of US election coverage after a day on which both President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney stopped campaigning because of Tropical Storm Sandy.
As the Financial Times reports, the campaigns caught their breath as a combination of practical difficulties in travelling and organisation, and a desire not to be seen to be practising politics as usual at such a moment took hold. Mr Obama was assuming his commander-in-chief role at the White House.
Politico.com asked a question few were expecting to have to pose: could Sandy delay the election next Tuesday? Forecasting that seemed as difficult as predicting the weather.
“Whether the election can be postponed or not is a legal black hole,” said Adam Winkler, a law professor at the University of California at Los Angeles. “There’s very little precedent for such an act.”
Federal law requires presidential elections to be held on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November, but it also provides that if a state “has failed to make a choice on the day prescribed by law, the electors may be appointed on a subsequent day in such a manner as the legislature of such State may direct.”
The flooding that hit the north-eastern coast of the country, killing at least 16 people, was a disaster big enough to stop the juggernaut of campaigning, so the only non-storm news was the latest set of polling data.
And RealClearPolitics.com says that is not easy to read. In five new national polls, the results are so close that four of them are essentially saying the same thing: no candidate has a lead. Only Gallup showed a significant gap, with Mr Romney having a five-point advantage among likely voters. The other four polls respectively gave him a lead of two points, two were tied and one put Mr Obama one point ahead.
In the critical state of Ohio, a new poll put Mr Romney ahead, by two points, for the first time, but this survey, by the Rasmussen organisation, has in the past diverged significantly from averages and always in favour of the challenger.
One prediction made by several pollsters is that there will be fewer polls available in the next few days, particularly in the states most affected by Sandy, which some might see as a good thing. But as the campaigns emerge from their storm shelters during the course of Tuesday, they will be probably be grateful for the chance to rest and take stock in an unexpected eye of the political storm in which the US finds itself with measurable regularity.