Friday, 10 September 2004

Weather to Vote

Just finished going through the Aug 30 issue of the New Yorker in which Louis Menand discusses how political scientists see the voters. (The article is online in which discusses how political scientists see the voters. (The article is online here.) I love Menand's literature-review style of article - he dissects all the key books in a field with the incisive touch of a fine surgeon. In the article, Menand makes the point that people cast votes for a whole variety of reasons, and cites the following doozy, from a 2004 paper by Princeton political scientists Christopher Achen and Larry Bartels:
An estimated "2.8 million people voted against Al Gore in 2000 because their states were too dry or two wet" as a consequence of that year's weather patterns. Achen and Bartels think that these voters cost Gore seven states, any one of which would have given him the election.
There's a follow-up in the Ann Arbor News, in which Achen elaborates that "droughts and floods cause people to get upset, lose money, and vote against the incumbent". So, from a pure observer's point of view, after the Charley-Frances-Ivan triumvirate rampaged through Florida, does that mean Kerry takes the state and its 27 electoral college votes? Would be interesting to see.




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