Campaign takes gentler tone as Obama visits areas hit by Sandy

Candidates watch their steps on a road to the White House that's strewn with debris

As Americans enter Day 2 of cleanup after the devastating Hurricane Sandy, both President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney will be back to campaigning, but they will likely take on a less combative tone, at least for now.

Both men kept a low profile on Monday and Tuesday, with Obama returning to the White House to monitor the storm and Romney spending Tuesday aiding in reliefs efforts in Ohio, and dodging questions about previous comments he made about funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

On Wednesday, Obama will tour the damaged New Jersey coast, foregoing battleground states in favour of enforcing his role as the incumbent in a state where he is already expected to win easily.

Romney will be back to the battleground state of Florida on Wednesday, with three stops planned.

But, notes The Associated Press, Obama’s decision to enforce his role as president, instead of campaiging in the few states that will likely decide the election, puts Romney in a tough spot. “The former Massachusetts governor must show respect for the superstorm’s casualties all along the Eastern Seaboard. But Romney can ill afford to waste a minute of campaign time, with the contest virtually deadlocked in several key states and the election six days away.”

An ad featuring Democratic campaign manager Jim Messina, released Wednesday morning, also takes on a gentler tone, with Messina speaking about Sandy before he even gets down to the important businesses of getting Democratic voters out to vote in the most important states.

According to polls released Wednesday, which were conducted before Sandy made landfall, both candidates need to use every moment left to continue campaigning in a race that appears tied leading up to the Nov. 6 vote.

The latest poll conducted for Quinnipiac University/CBS News/New York Times between Oct. 23-28 shows that Obama still has a five-point lead in the key battleground state of Ohio. Meanwhile, the president’s lead in Florida has shrunk to just one point and his lead in Virginia is just two points, reports CBS News.

Another poll, released by the PEW Research Centre, shows a race too close to call. That poll shows that Romney’s lead has diminished, bringing the candidates to a tie among likely voters.