WASHINGTON: Politics cannot wait, even for natural disasters, so Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney resumed a full campaign on Wednesday after a two-day break for Sandy, the storm.

US President Barack Obama, who seeks re-election, however, spent another day focusing on recovery efforts. With less than a week to the Nov 6 election, he will also be forced to resume the campaign in a day or two.

But his focus on the storm seems to have helped him as many Americans told media outlets they were pleased with him for leaving politics aside. Mr Obama’s first assignment on Wednesday was a tour of the worst affected New Jersey state with Governor Chris Christie.

A joint appearance with Mr Christie, a Republican, was noted by the US media as indicating Mr Obama’s desire to show that he does not want to link recovery efforts with party politics.

And a poll released on Monday indicated that President Obama continues to hold slight leads in the crucial battleground states of Ohio and Pennsylvania, while the equally critical races in Florida and Virginia are too close to call.The CBS News/New York Times showed that in Florida Mr Obama enjoyed the support of 48pc likely voters and Mr Romney of 47 per cent. Others were independent.

In Ohio, it was 50pc Mr Obama, 45 for Mr Romney.

In Virginia, Mr Obama had the support of 49pc of likely voters and Mr Romney of 47.

Another poll by Franklin and Marshall College showed Mr Romney closing the gap in Pennsylvania, with Mr Obama 49pc and Mr Romney 45. Others were still non-committed.

This poll also shows Mr Obama hanging on to a slight advantage in Ohio and Pennsylvania with Florida and Virginia continuing to poll very close.

Meanwhile, officials in America’s north-eastern states said devastations caused by Sandy was forcing them to delay or cancel early polling, which started last week.

In Maryland, early polling was cancelled on Monday while in Virginia some in-person absentee voting locations remained closed on Wednesday as well.

In West Virginia, where the storm caused blizzards, early voting was suspended in six counties.Officials in New York and New Jersey, two worst-hit states, officials said they were not sure how to arrange polling in the affected areas.

In these areas, seawater has entered schools and other locations designated as voting sites. Power outages in some of these areas may force officials to do hand counting, which may delay results.

President Obama is expected to win the two states but storm-related complications can affect voter turnout. Even cellphone services were out in some of the worst affected areas. In Connecticut, officials are considering proposals to change polling locations. The same could happen in West Virginia where several counties were still under blizzard or winter storm warnings.

In Maryland, Governor Martin O’Malley issued an executive order for early voting centres to be open between 8am and 9pm on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday after the hurricane forced cancellation of early voting on Monday and Tuesday.


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