"That the weather affects voter turnout has long been held as a truism of American presidential elections.
...we find the linkage not only to be statistically significant, but sometimes meaningful as well.
...we find that voters seem to be rather sensitive to what is presumably a minor increase in participation costs
...we have shown that bad weather may affect electoral outcomes by significantly decreasing [Establishment] vote share, to the benefit of [Grassroots efforts].
...if [Grassroots efforts] are more likely to turn out than [Establishment voters], then higher turnout levels may correlate with particularly [Grassroots] electorates and thus may appear to actually cause higher vote shares for [Grassroots] candidates.
...[Grassroots] candidates benefit electorally from the turnout-depressing effects of bad weather.
It is possible that forecasts of bad weather motivate [Establishment, paid for campaigns] to increase their voter mobilization efforts, so as to negate the diminishing turnout effect of precipitation.
...the implications are twofold;
First, to the extent that mobilization efforts counteract the negative effects of precipitation, our models provide conservative estimates of bad weather’s effect on turnout.
In other words, if mobilization were held constant, we expect that the percentage of voters deterred by precipitation would increase.
Second, our results suggest that [Establishment, paid for campaigns] may need to increase significantly their mobilization efforts when rain is on the horizon.
It is clear from our results that [Grassroots efforts] benefit from precipitation on election day."
Weather, Turnout, and Voting in U.S. Presidential Elections
Brad T. Gomez University of Georgia
Thomas G. Hansford University of California, Merced
George A. Krause University of Pittsburgh