CONCORD, N.H. – Just over a week after Iowans faced record-cold temperatures to attend the first-in-the-nation caucuses, New Hampshire voters will head to precincts Tuesday and face the opposite side of the weather spectrum.
According to the FOX Forecast Center, warmer air will start to filter into the Granite State, but it will not preclude chances of ice or snow from being present on election day.
A storm system that created an ice storm in parts of the mid-South and Midwest could approach the Granite State before polls close on Tuesday, but any precipitation is expected to remain relatively light through most of the day.
“The cold weather suppressed turnout in Iowa, but I don’t think it changed any results,” said Dr. David Richards, an associate professor and political chair at the University of Lynchburg in Virginia. “They were pretty much in line with polling suggestions.”
According to the FOX Forecast Center, temperatures will be in the upper 30s for most of New Hampshire on Tuesday, with the possibility of snow showers in cities including Manchester, Concord and Lebanon.
Typically, turnout for primary contests in New Hampshire is at least double that of Iowa, so the forecast for what could be labeled as a reasonable weather day will likely contribute to higher turnout.
“I think a lot of people are going to show up,” Richards said. “Instead of at a caucus where you sit in a room and negotiate and take a couple of different votes through the evening – this will be just like voting in any election. You go there and vote, and the polls will be open all day.”
Past weather events may foreshadow what to expect for Tuesday’s Democratic and Republican presidential primaries.
New Hampshirites have never faced blizzard conditions on primary day, and that will remain the case for at least another four years.
In at least three-quarters of all the contests held since 1952, daily high temperatures in populated regions of the state have been at or above average. According to studies, warmer weather could have a role in voter turnout.
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 location in the Granite State that won’t participate in any warmup is Mount Washington, which sits at some 6,288 feet above sea level.
The mountain peak is not a home for any permanent residents and is about a half-hour drive outside the town of Gorham.
Gorham sits at an elevation of about 800 feet and is expecting a high near 30 degrees Tuesday, with isolated snow showers possible after sunset.
“Voters in New Hampshire take presidential elections very seriously, and that’s part of the reason the turnout could be as big as it will be,” Richards said.
After New Hampshire, the next contests will be held in Nevada, the Virgin Islands and South Carolina, so chances are high that voters and candidates will face warmer weather than during the first two events.