It's said that all politics is local, but who would have thought that a local weather forecast might help predict election results? Those are the findings of some recent research by American and Australian researchers. In their study, scientists from Dartmouth College and the Australian National University found that at least one out of every 100 voters who go to the polls planning to vote for a Democrat will instead choose a Republican if it's raining. Although they didn't identify a definitive explanation for this behavior, the study's authors suggested that one possible reason for the apparent change of heart is that rainy weather tends to make people want to feel safer, and voting for a conservative is typically viewed as less risky than voting for a liberal candidate. The researchers pointed out that their study builds on the established knowledge that rainy weather tends to help Republican candidates, as GOP voters are less likely to shy away from the polls during inclement weather. And while it might seem far-fetched that someone would base a political vote on the weather, the authors pointed out that all types of human behavior can be affected by climate, including economic decisions, homicide rates, and college enrollment.
A look at voting in America:
- Elections are typically held in autumn because America was originally a farming-focused nation that needed to prioritize the harvest before worrying about politics.
- It wasn't until 1845 that Congress decided that all presidential elections would be held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.
- Approximately 60 percent of registered voters go to the polls for a presidential election; about 40 percent turn out for midterm elections.