Can weather swing an election?

By Seriously Science | May 22, 2013 10:30 am

Photo: flickr/hjl

It’s pretty obvious that weather can affect overall voter turnout; many people just don’t want to go out in the rain, even if it’s to exercise their civic duty. But does weather affect some political parties more than others? Are right-wing voters more likely to skip the polls on a rainy day? Do Democrats forget to vote when the surf’s up? Well, not many people go surfing in the Netherlands, but they do have elections and weather, and this study describes the relationship between the two.

Weather conditions and political party vote share in Dutch national parliament elections, 1971-2010.

“Inclement weather on election day is widely seen to benefit certain political parties at the expense of others. Empirical evidence for this weather-vote share hypothesis is sparse however. We examine the effects of rainfall and temperature on share of the votes of eight political parties that participated in 13 national parliament elections, held in the Netherlands from 1971 to 2010. This paper merges the election results for all Dutch municipalities with election-day weather observations drawn from all official weather stations well distributed over the country. We find that the weather parameters affect the election results in a statistically and politically significant way. Whereas the Christian Democratic party benefits from substantial rain (10 mm) on voting day by gaining one extra seat in the 150-seat Dutch national parliament, the left-wing Social Democratic (Labor) and the Socialist parties are found to suffer from cold and wet conditions. Cold (5°C) and rainy (10 mm) election day weather causes the latter parties to lose one or two parliamentary seats.”

Related content:
Discoblog: NCBI ROFL: Surprise! Men vote for the hotter female candidate.
Discoblog: NCBI ROFL: Election week flashback: Democrats and Republicans can be differentiated from their faces.
Discoblog: NCBI ROFL: Voters’ testosterone changes on the night of the 2008 United States presidential election.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: politics schmolitics
  • Frank H Little

    Do the Dutch have a tradition of volunteers taking less mobile voters to the polling station? In the UK, Conservatives tended to have more cars and free time – not so true now, of course – so in the past got more of their supporters to the poll in bad weather. (Of course, making a lift conditional on a favourable vote is an electoral offence, but only a few cussed voters accept a lift from one party and vote for the other.)

NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

Seriously, Science?

Seriously, Science?, formerly known as NCBI ROFL, is the brainchild of two prone-to-distraction biologists. We highlight the funniest, oddest, and just plain craziest research from the PubMed research database and beyond. Because nobody said serious science couldn't be silly!
Follow us on Twitter: @srslyscience.
Send us paper suggestions: srslyscience[at]gmail.com.
ADVERTISEMENT

See More

ADVERTISEMENT
Collapse bottom bar
+

Login to your Account

X
E-mail address:
Password:
Remember me
Forgot your password?
No problem. Click here to have it e-mailed to you.

Not Registered Yet?

Register now for FREE. Registration only takes a few minutes to complete. Register now »