What are the cons of rain 1

RAIN IS CRUCIAL: Weather has a significant impact on referendums

RAIN IS CRUCIAL: Weather has a significant impact on referendums

According to a new study, the weather has a significant influence on the voting result. If it rains, voters shy away from excessive changes.

Roger Braun

Is it because of the weather that second homes are no longer allowed to be built in many mountain communities today? This question arises after reading an as yet unpublished study by Basel and Lucerne political economists. A good five years ago, the Swiss electorate approved the second home initiative with 50.6 percent. Since then, the construction of holiday apartments has been prohibited in municipalities with a second home share of 20 percent. If it had rained, the researchers argue, the initiative would have been rejected.

The scientists support their statements with a study of over 400 referendums in Switzerland between 1958 and 2014. Their finding: rain makes voters cautious. On the other hand, when the weather is nice, citizens are ready to take risks. The second home initiative, for example, was undoubtedly a risk for the future of many mountain villages, whose local economy is heavily dependent on tourism. Nevertheless, the people had the courage to say yes. Because of the beautiful weather that prevailed back then, the researchers now say.

Good weather increases the willingness to take risks

That may seem disturbing to staunch direct democrats. The Swiss citizen, who carefully weighs the advantages and disadvantages and then throws an enlightened yes or no into the urn, should be controlled by something as banal as the weather? Such a statement borders on treason in grassroots Switzerland.

Assistant professor Lukas Schmid from the University of Lucerne believes that it is important for the researchers not to criticize direct democracy. On the contrary, he would be very positive about the direct influence of the people. “We want to understand human behavior,” he says. This shows that emotions also play an important role in voting decisions. For Schmid, this corresponds to the results of psychological research. Accordingly, bad-tempered people tend to be risk-averse. People in a good mood, on the other hand, have a positive outlook on the future and are more willing to take risks. Because previous research suggests that nice weather brightens the mood, the relationship described arises: Rain favors a low-risk vote, while dry weather is the riskier alternative. According to the researchers' calculations, widespread rain reduces the yes share by around 1.2 percentage points on average.

With the postal vote, the influence of the rain decreases

Since postal voting was introduced at the national level in 1994, only a few citizens have gone to the polls. Instead, around 85 percent now vote in writing. With the spread of postal voting, the influence of the weather on voting Sunday has also decreased, the scientists found. The connection has not disappeared, however, since a significant part of the population does not go to the polls until Sunday.

Schmid assesses the introduction of postal voting positively, also in the light of the study. "It is good that not all voters vote on the same day," he says. As a result, the influence of a purely random rainy day on the overall result is weakened, which is in the sense of an objective decision-making.

He does not see the informative value of the study weakened by the spread of postal votes. “Our study documents that rain has a significant influence on individual voting behavior, he says. "Nothing will change about this knowledge if everyone does not vote on the same day."

Study: Rain, Emotions and Voting for the Status Quo. Authors: Armando N. Meier, Lukas Schmid, Alois Stutzer.

Wind and sports results also have an influence

The fact that irrelevant things influence voting has been well documented in science. Accordingly, it is not only the rain that induces citizens to vote cautiously, but also the wind, as a study from the USA recently revealed. The electorate then seems to have a greater need for security. In the USA, incumbents also have to look at the results of the local football team. If the college team wins a game within ten days of the election, the chances of being re-elected increase. (rob)