Weather in the Foothills

“A cloudy day or a little sunshine have as great an influence on many constitutions
 As the most recent blessings or misfortunes.”
~ Joseph Addison (1672-1719), English writer and politician

Can weather be the one true determining factor of who will be the next president?

In just a few days, the elections will be over … at last. The wait has seemed endless. Soon, talk of politics will take “back seat” to one of weather. Although this year, Super Storm/Hurricane Sandy blew in before election day, bumping politics off the front page and out of the headlines. No other force could accomplish this!

Interestingly, research reveals weather can also affect an election’s final outcome – presidential included. A comprehensive study made in 2005 by political science researchers Brad Gomez, Thomas Hansford and George Krause gave this once considered “urban myth” credibility.

Election Day weather does influence voter turn out. According to their study, for every inch of rain above normal in a given area, nearly 1% fewer voters turn out and the Republican presidential candidate receives an extra 2.5% of the vote. For every inch of snow above normal, overall voter turnout drops by .5% and the Republican candidate’s share increases by .6 %. This study covered a time period between 1948-2008 and took into account the weather in 3,000 counties across the U.S. The title of this research paper, “The Republicans Should Pray For Rain:  Weather, Turnout, and Voting in U.S. Presidential Elections.” For the record, this amateur weather watcher will never publically express a political preference.

So what can we conclude from the above? Of the two parties, Democrats like rain the least. Or maybe Republicans are just more partial to umbrellas. Snow deters most voters equally, so the chance of seeing  a “snow angel” imprint outside a polling place is unlikely. I think “snow angels” are bi-partisan, anyway. One can only hope …

Aware of “a big storm” brewing in the Atlantic, I began to write. Late-season Hurricane Sandy slowly crept up the coast from the south as a cold nor’easter came from the north. It was just a matter of time before they collided. Monday night, with the full moon at the peak of high tide, full-on disaster struck bringing hurricane force winds, torrential rains and heavy snowfall. Now considered the worst storm in over a 100 years, Super Storm Sandy leaves much of the eastern U.S. ravaged.

Thus far, the lives of 61 people were lost and hundreds of homes were destroyed by flooding, winds or fire. More than 8 million households in 17 states were without power. Public transportation was out, schools closed and the New York Stock Exchange shut down. Political campaigning even stopped. Could Sandy postpone Tuesday’s election?

Our weather, I humbly report, is that of autumn – pleasant. This week’s end will be cool including  a chance of drizzle. Come Sunday and into next week a moderate Santa Ana moves in with daytime temperatures in the 80s and nights in the 50s.

Voting weather: Good.