General Election 2019: Does the weather have an impact on voting turnout

We're looking at another unsettled day across the West Country on Thursday, with some heavy rain and strong winds, but what effect will that have on voting turnout?

Well, there is a lot of research to suggest that what really impacts voting numbers is how close a result might be, rather than how wet, cold or windy the weather is. The time of year is also a large factor, especially when it's this close to Christmas, but it seems if people want to vote, they'll vote regardless!

So what about previous elections at this time of year?

The last time we had a general election in December was back in 1923. The first week of that month was characterised by below average temperatures, fog and some lying snow, yet turnout was over 70%.

Here's how the weather chart looked back then...

Election Day weather chart from 6 December 1923. Credit: Met Office

The last time we had an election at such a similar time of year was in 1918 on 14 December. The weather was quite different, dominated by southwest winds bringing mild air and a lot of rain. Turnout was still nearly 60%.

A quote from the observer at Sheepstor, Dartmoor in the monthly weather report at the time sets the scene:

The wettest month I ever experienced. Other Decembers have had more rain, but certainly during the twelve years I have taken records here there has been nothing like the incessant rain of the last six weeks of the year, for it has done little but rain day and night. >

Weather observer report

Here's the weather chart from over 100 years ago:

Election Day weather chart for 14 December 1918. Credit: Met Office

If you're voting tomorrow the best advice is to take some warm layers, wet weather gear and somewhere to keep your polling card dry!

Get all the latest election news from the West Country: