Election Weather a Thumbs Up
The national election is upon us and to hear political pundits like NBC’s Chuck Todd tell it, the race is razor close. Indeed, the party that more galvanizes its electorate will be the one that claims victory.
Since weather can play a big role in voter turnout, a look at conditions expected coast to coast may be a litmus test for how many people get out to vote. That’s especially true in so-called “swing states” like Ohio and Florida where an ill-timed downpour could keep people at home.
Imagine had Hurricane Sandy hit one week later! States like New Jersey, New York and Connecticut would have witnessed all time record low turnouts. Ohio too would have been even more closely watched since power was cut to hundreds of thousands around Cleveland. This heavily Democratic stronghold in Cuyahoga County played a key role in earning President Obama the 18 coveted electoral college votes from the Buckeye State in 2008. That earned Mr. Obama the title 44th President of the United States of America.
Even a week since the storm first cut power, life in Cleveland is still not completely back to normal though the juice is back on. How many people in this area will decide to not vote and instead use their time to fix a leaky roof or take care of unfinished errands?
Fortunately, the weather across most of America will be conducive to a big turnout. Sure a few rain and snow showers will fall in Illinois and Wisconsin. In coastal New Jersey and New York, the morning chill in the 30s will be uncomfortable for those who have spent another night without electricity. Some makeshift polling places are being erected as power remains out for hundreds of thousands. But of these 4 states, only Wisconsin is considered in play. Indeed America’s Dairyland (aka Wisconsin) is considered a swing state that could go either GOP or Dem despite native son Paul Ryan being on the Romney ticket. Humm!
But at the large scale, most areas will have little weather impediments to good turnout. The exception is Florida, a key swing state, where rain and thunderstorms will slow or even interrupt the voting progress for many. Granted, in Florida it rains a lot, and people still go about their tasks. But for a senior citizen who is used to waiting until the next day to avoid today’s rains, I could see a sizeable decline in turnout.
Morning rains in northern and western Florida (Tallahassee, Tampa and Gainesville) will shift to the east coast and south Florida by afternoon and evening. Granted southern rains will be more scattered by late day, but as the polls close I could see some heavy thunderstorms on radar from Cape Canaveral to West Palm even Miami.
Back to Ohio where a jewel of 18 electoral votes has brought the candidates to the state countless times in the past few weeks. Except for early morning fog, the weather will be fair and cool for all Buckeyes. Temperatures will rise from the high 20s at dawn to the 50s by afternoon with virtually no wind.
Four years ago the temperature soared into the 60s and 70s for much of the eastern half of the nation including here in Appalachia as young people turned out in droves to help elect the young Obama.
One final word on voter turnout. When it comes to poor weather, the minority party (GOP) has a history of getting its people out to the polls, rain or shine.
Let’s hope we get a big turnout, an honest count and decisive victory on Tuesday night.
Get out and vote!