After a historically tempestuous campaign season, Tuesday could well turn out to be one of the most peaceful Election Days on record. At least from the atmosphere’s perspective.
This time of year, storms are prone to form as temperature contrasts sharpen across the Northern Hemisphere, but tranquil conditions should be the landslide winner throughout the nation on Tuesday, forecasters say.
The only blemishes would be some rain in the Pacific Northwest and snow showers in northern New England. “The weather is looking pretty good,” said Tom Kines, a meteorologist with AccuWeather Inc.
Weather should be dry in all the major battleground states, including Pennsylvania, where the sun and seasonable temperatures will rule from the Ohio border to the Delaware River.
In any election, teasing out the weather as a variable in turnout is a complicated exercise, but forecasting how it will play out this time is going to be particularly challenging, said Brad T. Gomez, a political science professor at Florida State University who has wrestled mightily with the question.
Gomez was the author of a 2007 study of 14 national elections that found that heavy rains can suppress turnout, a slight advantage to Republicans. They might increase GOP margins on the order of 1% in the affected areas, which might matter in a close election.
Conversely, favorable weather would argue for higher turnouts, which would tend to favor Democrats.
So would Gomez be comfortable predicting that the Democratic presidential nominee is about to benefit from the atmospheric tranquility?
“I would be comfortable,” he said, “if everyone was turning out on Election Day.” That, of course, is not the case, and Democrats have outnumbered Republicans among the 95 million-plus who cast early votes.
About the only certainty is that the weather isn’t going to be the reason someone doesn’t make it to the polls on Tuesday.
The jet stream winds, the upper-air boundaries between warm and cold air that are the instigators of storms, will be well to the north on Tuesday and in subsequent days, Kines said, more of an issue in Canada, where no one is voting this week.