Barack Obama, Election 2012, Politics, Reader Polls, Technology

ATL Readers Totally Called It (and Rate Their Firms’ Performances Pre-Sandy)

Did Sandy’s thumb tip the scales in favor of Obama? Yesterday, we asked you, the ATL readers, and the answer was an emphatic no. For just last week, you predicted a comfortable reelection, despite the contemporaneous claims of a dead heat. And you were right. So, apart from the election, where the Superstorm seems to have been of little account, we wondered how Sandy (ed. note: are we still talking about the damn storm?) was, in your view, handled by your employers and schools.

Responses to our ATL Insider Survey tell us that, generally speaking, lawyers rate their employers highly in more abstract areas (e.g., “satisfaction” and “culture”) and lower in more concrete categories (e.g., “compensation” and “training”). Last week, we in the Northeast megalopolis all faced the very concrete challenge of Superstorm Sandy. Since then, we’ve covered how many firms have acquitted themselves admirably in the wake of the storm, with pro bono efforts and charitable contributions to support relief and recovery efforts.

But how about during the run-up to Sandy? Yesterday, we asked our readers who live and work in Sandy-impacted areas to assess the performance of their schools or employers in the face of the storm: how prepared were they? Was sufficient technology in place to continue operations? And how are things going now, a week later? This, in addition to a question about how the storm might have affected the outcome of yesterday’s election. Read on for the results….

Just over 40% of our respondents live and work in Sandy’s path. This group gives their organization high marks for preparedness, with 71% characterizing their school or employer as “highly” or “adequately” prepared to face the storm:

It appears that the lawyerly “belt and suspenders” approach applies to disaster preparation as well. To cite just one example, yesterday Fordham Law Dean Michael Martin noted in an email to alumni, “The construction site for the new law school building was not affected due to the diligence and foresight of our construction crew.” As we’ve learned in the past week, construction sites are especially vulnerable to the ravages of a major storm.

Some other survey takeaways:

  • 74% of respondents tell us that their organizations are back up operating at pre-Sandy levels. Only 6% responded “No,” and 20% said “Almost.”
  • As to whether their employers or schools has sufficient technology in place to continue operations during office and campus closures, only 46% of respondents said “Yes,” 35% told us “Partially,” and 18% reported that their organization’s technology was insufficient.
  • About three-quarters of you felt that Sandy would not have a decisive effect on the election. Of those who did feel it would tip the scales, 90% thought it would be in Obama’s favor.

Here are some representative comments from those in the “Obama benefited” camp:

I think Romney saying that FEMA does not work and should not exist when FEMA has responded well to Sandy is not in his favor. The Obama administration was diligent in its response to disaster.

By getting the election off of the front page, the incumbent will take home the election.

Continuity becomes a greater priority after the storm. For those tri-state area voters who were undecided or unenthused by either candidate, keeping President Obama for the sake of continuity with respect to recovery efforts might become a decisive factor.

A solid response to a non-political event like a hurricane can only help an incumbent by boosting morale and goodwill towards him, like a one-way ratchet. A bad response can have the opposite effect. A non-incumbent really isn’t helped or harmed, except in comparison to the incumbent.

With Obama’s victory yesterday, ATL readers have yet again proved prescient. (Except when they’re not.)

So have at it in the comments with your gloating and/or venting, depending on how you feel about what happened yesterday.

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