Incumbents Have an Edge When It Rains on Election Day

While rain on election day is known to keep people indoors, i.e. not voting, those who do come out to vote are more likely to vote for the incumbent

While rain on election day is known to keep people indoors, i.e. not voting, those who do venture out are more likely to vote for the incumbent, suggests a new study out of the University of North Carolina led by political scientist Anna Bassi. In the study, Bassi held a mock election in which people received a stable economic return when they voted for an incumbent and a more variable return--sometimes more, sometimes less--when they voted for a new candidate.


The election was held on a series of days with varying weather conditions: sometimes sunny, sometimes overcast and rainy. Bassi also gauged people's feelings about the weather on the day they voted, ranging from "Terrible" to "Awesome." In general, incumbents had an advantage of ten to twenty percentage points on days with inclement weather. The way people voted, concludes Bassi, corresponded to how they felt, and the weather conditions seemed to contribute significantly to that. 

Of course, if you'd like to eliminate your capricious emotions from the voting booth, consider Steven Bram's mathematical formula for more strategic voting. In his Big Think interview, Bram argues that thinking in a more strategic way about your vote may yield more unified political results:

Read more at Pacific Standard

Photo credit: Shutterstock

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