Rain affects voter turnoutArchive
Rain on a presidential election day decreases voter turnout not only in the current election but also during future elections, suggesting that voting today is associated with voting in the future, according to a study by Thomas Fujiwara and Tom Vogl at Princeton and Kyle Meng at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Matching daily weather data with county-level US presidential election returns from 1952 to 2012, they found that Election Day rainfall reduced voter turnout — their data suggests that 1mm of rainfall decreases turnout by 0.05-0.07 percentage points — and this effect persists in future elections. Their main estimates imply that a 1-percentage-point decrease in past turnout lowers current turnout by 0.6-1.0 percentage points. The evidence suggests that habit formation may occur by reinforcing the value of voting, the researchers say.
Published in Dawn, Business & Finance weekly, March 14th, 2016