HANOVER, N. H. — Democrats may become bigger fans of the old children’s tune “Rain, Rain, Go Away” thanks to a new study that explains why Republicans fare better on election day when it’s raining, a new study finds.
Researchers at Dartmouth College and The Australian National University looked at both weather patterns and a comprehensive dataset of recent American electoral outcomes, hoping to learn more about a previously-documented correlation between rain and Republican Party success at the polls.
The electoral dataset, which corresponded with data on atmospheric conditions, included figures on Americans who voted for Democrats, Republicans, or decided to abstain altogether during any given cycle.
Republicans, the researchers found, saw a slight, yet significant statistical advantage — about one percent — at the polls on rainy days, which they attributed to an aversion to risk during inclement weather conditions. In other words, voters who’d planned on picking a Democrat if the weather was pleasant instead opted for the Republican candidates because it was raining.
This reasoning builds off of previous research, which has suggested that conservatives tend to be more risk averse than liberals.
“Our study suggests that weather conditions may affect people’s decisions on not only whether to vote but also who they vote for,” says co-author Yusaku Horiuchi, summarizing his team’s findings, in a university release.
Again, an electoral edge benefiting Republicans on rainy days has been long-documented, but this study adds new insight: it suggests that a handful of blue voters end up defecting from their party whenever there’s precipitation outside, even if no conscious effort to do so is made.
Horiuchi et al. published their findings in the journal American Politics Research.