Could Super Tuesday’s weather impact voter turnout?

Voters in Iowa faced record-cold temperatures in January, while New Hampshire residents were treated to mild conditions. Research published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology found that some voting groups’ turnout increased by 0.14% for every 1.8-degree jump in temperature.

One of the most anticipated voting days of the primary cycle will take place on Tuesday when 15 states and one territory will hold contests in the races for the presidential nominations.

Contests will be held from Alaska to Maine, and voters could face everything from snow showers to severe thunderstorms.

According to the FOX Forecast Center, three storm systems will impact the country on Tuesday – one stretching from the Ohio and Tennessee valleys to the Gulf Coast, one over the mid-Atlantic and Northeast and another in the Pacific Northwest and Northern California.

The forecast for Super Tuesday.
(FOX Weather)


Neither storm system is expected to be historic regarding the strength of impacts. However, according to political experts, even nuisance weather could affect voter turnout, especially during caucuses.

"In states like Virginia where they’ve been voting more than a month at this point, early voting really kind of reduces the weather impact," said David Richards, Ph.D., an associate professor and political chair at the University of Lynchburg in Virginia.


The severe thunderstorm threat in the South on Super Tuesday.
(FOX Weather)


On Tuesday, primaries will be held in Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia and American Samoa.

Unlike when dangerously cold temperatures were credited for lowering turnout at the Iowa caucuses in January, most states are expected to see above-average readings.

Forecast models show Dallas could reach 80 degrees while Charlotte, North Carolina, will be in the lower 70s.

The forecast temperature departures from average on Super Tuesday.
(FOX Weather)


While the warmth has existed for a while in the eastern two-thirds of the nation, Richards said the weather hasn’t caused a notable uptick in activity at voting precincts.

"Early voting in Virginia, North Carolina, California and in a lot of other states is a lot lower than previous cycles such as 2020 or 2016, and so, it’s not as exciting as it could be," Richards said. "Due to that, I’m not looking for a huge turnout on Tuesday."


After Super Tuesday, mini versions of the election day will happen on March 12 and March 19 and are sometimes referred to as Super Tuesday II and Super Tuesday III. These dates will feature states such as Georgia, Washington, Florida, Illinois and Ohio.

Contests are slated to continue into June despite both major parties having candidates who will likely have reached the threshold for nomination in the coming weeks.

"It’s a matter of access and democracy that everyone gets to have their say," Richards said. "These contests are scheduled months ahead of time. It’s people’s jobs to run these elections. So, they’re going to go forward in almost every case."