What May Our Weather Tell About Who's Elected President?

By: METEOROLOGIST MARK HENDERSON
By: METEOROLOGIST MARK HENDERSON

Early November is often a very volatile time of the year here in the Stateline, and no, we're not just talking about the countless political ads you see on TV, hear on the radio, or read in the newspaper or online! The weather can often be just as volatile, if not moreso!

Our Election Day weather records date all the way back to 1908, spanning the past 26 Presidential Elections. As one would expect, there's a TON of variability in the weather that's occurred on those days! On the warm side, there's the 74° high temperature that occurred in the Forest City the day in which Lyndon B. Johnson defeated Barry Goldwater on November 3, 1964 and 2008's 73° the day that our current President, Barack Obama was elected to the White House. On the cold side, look back just 20 years to the day Bill Clinton earned his trip to Washington, November 3, 1992. The high temperature that day here in Rockford only made its way up to 40°, and more than an inch and a half of snow came down to boot!

So, the question is, does Rockford's weather on Election Day have anything at all to do with who wins the Presidential Election? It's probably about as likely a predictor as who wins the World Series in an election year, or how the Redskins do the week before the election... In a nutshell, it's highly unscientific, and carries little, if any weight whatsoever... But still, I thought it would be fun to take a look back at the records and see if we can pick out any trends.

So, without further ado, my forecast for Election Day in Rockford calls for periods of rain (and perhaps some wet snowflakes), with a high temperature of 48°.

So, let's first look at temperatures. There have previously been just four Election Days that have seen high temperatures in the 40s. Three of those four Presidential Elections have gone to the Democratic Candidate (John F. Kennedy in 1960, and Bill Clinton in both 1992 and 1996). However the Republicans took the most recent race in which our temperatures only reached the 40s. The high temperature on November 2, 2004 reached just 47° here the day that President George W. Bush won re-election over Sen. John Kerry.

Now, onto the rainfall part of the forecast. We've recorded measurable precipitation in Rockford on eight occasions since 1908. Of those eight Election Days, five went to the Democrats (Woodrow Wilson in 1912, Franklin D. Roosevelt in both 1932 and 1944, John F. Kennedy in 1960, and Bill Clinton in 1992), with three going to the GOP candidate (Dwight Eisenhower in 1956, Richard Nixon in 1972, and George W. Bush in 2004).

Here's where we got a little more outlandish with the trends. Let's simply examine the six most recent Election Days in which measurable rainfall occurred in Rockford.

Year -- Winner -- PARTY

1944 -- Roosevelt -- DEMOCRAT
1956 -- Eisenhower -- REPUBLICAN
1960 -- Kennedy -- DEMOCRAT
1972 -- Nixon -- REPUBLICAN
1992 -- Clinton -- DEMOCRAT
2004 -- Bush -- REPUBLICAN

So, if we were to follow the back and forth trend between winning parties, that would bode well for the President's bid for re-election.

In the end, while our little in-house study does slightly favor President Obama's chances for re-election, the reality is that I was simply very bored and looking for something to do in my free time this weekend, and this is what you got! The weather isn't going to determine the result of this Election... It's going to be you, me, and the tens of millions of other voters throughout this great country that will write the final chapter of this story!


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