Why Should the Republicans Pray for Rain? Electoral Consequences of Rainfall Revisited

American Politics Research, Vol. 46, Issue 5, pp. 868-889, September 2018

33 Pages Posted: 20 Jan 2015 Last revised: 12 Oct 2018

See all articles by Yusaku Horiuchi

Yusaku Horiuchi

Dartmouth College - Department of Government

Woo Chang Kang

Australian National University (ANU), College of Arts and Social Sciences, School of Politics & International Relations, Students

Date Written: November 7, 2017

Abstract

Existing studies -- most importantly, Gomez, Hansford, and Krause (2007) -- provide empirical support for an idea often embraced by popular media: the vote share of the Republican Party (as the percentage of total votes) increases when it rains, because the magnitude of decrease in turnout is larger among Democratic vis-a-vis Republican supporters. Considering the compositional nature of aggregated data, we show that the alleged Republican advantage derives in part from an increase in the number of votes for the Republican Party. Based on the extensive literature of psychology and related fields, we provide a possible interpretation of this counter-intuitive empirical finding. Methodologically, our evidence suggests that researchers must be alert when using rainfall as an instrument to estimate the causal effects of voter turnout on electoral outcome.

Keywords: U.S. presidential elections, rainfall, compositional data

JEL Classification: D72; D81;

Suggested Citation

Horiuchi, Yusaku and Kang, Woo Chang, Why Should the Republicans Pray for Rain? Electoral Consequences of Rainfall Revisited (November 7, 2017). American Politics Research, Vol. 46, Issue 5, pp. 868-889, September 2018. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2551928 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2551928

Yusaku Horiuchi

Dartmouth College - Department of Government ( email )

204 Silsby Hall
HB 6108
Hanover, NH 03755
United States

HOME PAGE: http://sites.dartmouth.edu/horiuchi/

Woo Chang Kang (Contact Author)

Australian National University (ANU), College of Arts and Social Sciences, School of Politics & International Relations, Students ( email )

Canberra
Australia

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