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Analysis: Pepco Powers Through Storm, Political Polls Reveal Latest Percentages

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Super storm Sandy caused problems in D.C. region, but Washingtonians and local utilities missed the brunt of the storm, and we're heading into the final weekend of campaigning before Election Day. Washington Post columnist Robert McCartney talks about this week's big stories.

On Pepco's performance during super storm Sandy: "Pepco was lucky, and their customers were lucky in that the high winds weren't quite as strong as forecast, and lasted a shorter time than forecast. But I think the initial outages suggest, there was a lot a distinct improvement in Pepco's performance compared to how they've done, which has been disastrously in some previous storms. I think there are a couple of explanations. First, there was much more aggressive tree trimming in recent months, and also unlike in the derecho, Pepco and everybody else had plenty of warning. And they brought in a record number of crews from elsewhere around the country to help."

On the political race in Virginia: "The presidential race in Virginia is a genuine toss up. The seven more recent polls — five were in the margin of error — and then in the other two, one picked Obama and the other picked Romney. So it's going to depend on turnout and the ground game."

On Virginia's U.S. Senate race, which has been very tight: "Personally, I think that Democrat Tim Kaine will beat Republican George Allen. Kaine has had a small lead in recent polls. A Washington Post poll had him seven points ahead, which is a pretty sizable margin."

On the big ballot questions in Maryland (DREAM act, same-sex marriage, and expanded gambling): "I think the DREAM Act should pass. Polls have it comfortably ahead. Same-sex marriage is slightly ahead. It probably will win, but it could fail at the last minute. And that's partly because polls can be misleading on this issue. Maryland gambling has been too close to call. The supporters claim they're slightly ahead, but a Baltimore Sun poll a week ago had it losing by 15 points. And so I'm really uncertain about where that's headed. If it wins, it's going to be because of support in the D.C. suburbs, where Prince George's County wants the jobs and revenue."

On the District's At-large council race and whether incumbents Vincent Orange and Michael Brown are safe: "I think Vincent Orange is safe. He's the Democratic nominee, and of course, the city is overwhelmingly Democratic. But I think that Michael Brown faces a very strong challenge from Independent David Grosso."

Listen to the full analysis here.

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