Be prepared to break out your rain gear on Tuesday — and Democrats may want to hang onto it going into Tuesday night. A raging storm system is expected to strike a huge part of the U.S. on election day, and rainy weather tends to favor Republicans, according to USA Today.
Voters in the Great Lakes region, people living in the Ohio Valley, and a large section of the South will be whipped with wind and rain on Tuesday, and that may keep some voters from heading to the polls. To add onto the pile, snow may strike the Midwest.
Bad weather is threatening to strike key battleground states for the midterm elections. This includes Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, West Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia, and Mississippi.
People in the west are likely to escape the worst of Mother Nature’s fury. Other than some small showers in Washington and Oregon, the forecast for everyone west of the Rockies is dry. Florida can expect warm, mild weather as well.
But if you’re in the Rocky Mountain area, give yourself some extra time. Snowstorms could make road conditions dangerous.
Downtown early voting this afternoon! Rain did not keep the voters away: Have you voted yet? pic.twitter.com/FxqBbAhm2v
— Melanie Martin (@melanie4judge) November 1, 2018
The weather does have an effect on how people vote, so be prepared for a few surprises.
“Our study suggests that weather conditions may affect people’s decisions on not only whether to vote, but also who they vote for,” says Yusaku Horiuchi, a Dartmouth College professor and co-author of a study showing how weather affects voting. The entire study was published in the journal, American Politics Research.
“Contrary to the widely shared belief that weather conditions do not change voters’ electoral decisions…our analysis suggests that it is likely that a certain proportion of American voters would change their party preference depending on weather,” the study says.
As odd as that sounds, there is a psychological reason that people change their voting preferences in bad weather. Rain increases fear and pessimism, and people in this state of mind are more likely to cast ballots for Republican candidates.
According to the study, “those who feel in an upbeat mood may lean toward the riskier candidate, while those who feel depressed and anxious lean toward the safer candidate.”
A heavy storm is expected to soak a huge portion of the eastern U.S. on Tuesday, and this could also affect voter turnout, according to AccuWeather.
“Weather was found to be, on average, nearly 20 percent of the change in voter turnout based on our analysis,” says AccuWeather data scientist Tim Loftus.
Loftus looked at weather patterns and voting data stretching back to 1996 to come up with his findings.
“Democrats are more weather-sensitive when compared to Republicans, and among the most weather-sensitive were African-Americans, those 65 and older and 18- to 24-year-olds,” he said.
Early voting turnout has already shocked analysts this year, as millions have turned out to cast their ballots ahead of election day on November 6. But when the ugly weather sweeps across one-third of the U.S., these impressive numbers could drop dramatically.