BREVARD COUNTY, Florida -- During every election, pollsters and campaign teams keep a close eye on the weather which has historically shown to affect voter turnout in general elections. But what about primary elections?
In a primary election, specifically amongst Republicans for the 2012 election year, weather can have an impact on voter turnout within the party itself. The schism that has arisen within the Republican party is that of four major groups: Social conservative, Tea Party, Libertarian, and neo-conservative/Establishment candidates.
Although there was a mild 2012 Winter during the Republican Presidential Primary, poor weather such as rain and snow tended to favor voters motivated by ideology which helped Rick Santorum's social conservatives turnout in the Mid-west and Ron Paul's Tea Party and libertarian-leaning conservatives in the Northeast and Washington State. This is because Mitt Romney relied heavily on a well-financed ad campaign that is most effective on casual voters - those voters who do not follow the day-to-day political news, but are most likely to be swayed by negative campaign ads and name recognition.
Florida will have relatively average and good weather across the state during the August 14, 2012 Primary Election, which will tend to favor the better-financed candidates. Depending on the severity of afternoon thunderstorms, casual last-minute voters who are stuck in weather-created traffic or localized heavy rainfall and thunderstorms would be less likely to vote on their way home from work.
In other words, severe afternoon thunderstorms could favor Florida politicians with a strong ideological voter following at the expense of well-financed politicians who do not have a strong following of ideologically motivated voters.