Weather, Mood, and Voting: An Experimental Analysis of the Effect of Weather Beyond Turnout
39 Pages Posted: 2 Jun 2013
Date Written: May 22, 2013
Theoretical and empirical studies show that inclement weather on an election day reduces turnout, potentially swinging the results of the election. Psychology studies, however, show that weather affects individual mood, which -- in turn -- affects individual decision-making activity potentially beyond the simple decision to turn out. This paper evaluates the effect of weather, through its effect on mood, on the way in which voters who do turn out decide to cast their votes. The paper provides experimental evidence of the effect of weather on voting when candidates are perceived as being more or less risky. Findings show that, after controlling for policy preferences, partisanship, and other background variables, bad weather depresses individual mood and risk tolerance, i.e., voters are more likely to vote for the candidate who is perceived to be less risky. This effect is present whether meteorological conditions are measured with objective or subjective measures.
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