Dallas County Democrats have some adverse weather to contend with today – and we’re not just talking about voter discontent blowing in off the Potomac. At about 11 a.m., a rainstorm moved in on a chilly breeze and parked itself over Dallas, just in time for lunchtime voting. By the time the countywide storm system lifts this evening, it could leave behind as much as three-quarters of an inch of rain, according to the National Weather Service.
So what exactly does this have to do with voting?
According to a study cited today on The Weather Channel’s Web site, the claim that rain and/or snow decreases voter turnout is true, based on a 2007 study by university researchers.
Political scientists Brad T. Gomez of the University of Georgia, Thomas G. Hansford of the University of California Merced, and George A. Krause of University of Pittsburgh looked at the effects of rain and temperature on voter turnout in more than 3,000 U.S. counties for 14 presidential elections between 1948 and 2000.
They found that not only does weather affect turnout but it provides a boost to Republicans. For each inch of rain, voter turnout declines by about 1 percent, they found. But that one inch of rain increased Republican vote share by 2.5 percent.
Not only is the rain falling on the Dallas Dems parade today—where a number of county and statehouse races are predicted to be closely competitive—but it’s dousing their party plans as well.
The organization announced early this afternoon that they were moving their watch party from an outdoor plaza at the American Airlines Center to the nearby Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Club. “Don’t fret,” the announcement read. “Your hair won’t get wet!”