Workers clear a downed tree blocking East 96th street in Central Park the morning after Hurricane Sandy in New York City. AFP Photo
Less than a week before the US presidential elections, political pundits are eyeing two key states, Pennsylvania and Virginia, struggling to recover in the wake of the monster storm.
Superstorm Sandy's effect on election day in those states next Tuesday is just speculation at this stage, but both are vital to President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney's White House ambitions.
Pennsylvania, solidly Democratic for the past two decades, appears to suddenly have come into play -- even though Obama is leading his Republican rival by 49.5 per cent to 44.8 per cent in an average of polls there by the RealClearPolitics website.
But the president's support is drawn heavily from metropolitan areas of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, and less from more conservative rural areas. Havoc on city streets, if widespread outages continue, might depress turnout and could see Romney gain an edge.
Pennsylvania's 20 electoral college votes could prove crucial in the "every vote counts" tight race to the 270 electoral college votes needed for victory.
Scenting a shift in the air, two Republican super PACs were set to spend some $3.2 million flooding the Keystone State with television ads in a last minute all-out push, the Philadelphia Inquirer said.