Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Sweating the Vote: Heat and Abstention in the US House of Representatives

  • Alexander Cohen (a1)

Several recent studies noted systematic links between weather conditions and voting turnout amid the mass public. This article extends this logic to the elite level by exploring the relationship between summer heat and abstentions in the US House of Representatives. In controlled multivariate regressions, heat is a significant predictor of abstentions across all votes held between 1991 and 2000. This finding provides new insight into legislative behavior as well as the motivation behind some abstentions, which could inform the understanding of the literature on legislative shirking.

Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

D. Figlio 1995. “The Effect of Retirement on Political Shirking: Evidence from Congressional Voting.” Public Finance Review 23: 226–41.

B. Gomez , T. Hansford , and G. Krause . 2007. “The Republicans Should Pray for Rain: Weather, Turnout, and Voting in U.S. Presidential Elections.” The Journal of Politics 69 (3): 649–63.

E. Howarth , and M. Hoffman . 1984. “A Multidimensional Approach to the Relationship Between Mood and Weather.” British Journal of Psychology 75: 1523.

M. Keller , B. Fredrickson , O. Ybarra , S. Cote , K. Johnson , J. Mikels , A. Conway , and T. Wager . 2005. “A Warm Heart and a Clear Head: The Contingent Effects of Weather on Mood and Cognition.” Psychological Science 16 (9): 724–31.

D. Kenrick , and S. MacFarlane . 1984. “Ambient Temperature and Horn-Honking: A Field Study of the Heat/Aggression Relationship.” Environment and Behavior 18: 179–91.

S. Knack 1994. “Does Rain Help Republicans? Theory and Evidence on Turnout and the Vote.” Public Choice 79 (1-2): 187209.

C. Lakhdar , and E. Dubois . 2006. “Climate and Electoral Turnout in France.” French Politics 4: 137–57.

C. Lawrence 2007. “Of Shirking, Outliers, and Statistical Artifacts: Lame-Duck Legislators and Support for Impeachment.” Political Research Quarterly 60: 159–62.

G. McGregor 2001. “The Meteorological Sensitivity of Ischemic Heart Disease Mortality Events in Birmingham, UK.” International Journal of Biometeorology 45: 133–42.

K. Poole 2007. “Changing Minds? Not in Congress!Public Choice 131: 435–51.

K. Poole , and T. Romer . 1993. “Ideology, ‘Shirking,’ and Representation.” Public Choice 77: 185–96.

A. Reifman , R. Larrick , and C. Fein . 1991. “Temper and Temperature on the Diamond: The Heat-Aggression Relationship in Major League Baseball.” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 17: 580–85.

K. Rohde 1991. Parties and Leaders in the Postreform House. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

L. Rothenberg , and M. Sanders . 2000a. “Lame Duck Politics: Impending Departure and the Votes on Impeachment.” Political Research Quarterly 53: 523–63.

L. Rothenberg , and M. Sanders . 2000b. “Severing the Electoral Connection: Shirking in the Contemporary Congress.” American Journal of Political Science 44: 310–19.

R. Steadman 1984. “A Universal Scale of Apparent Temperature.” Journal of Applied Meteorology 23: 1674–87.

A. Vrij , J. Van Der Steen , and L. Koppelaar . 1994. “Aggression of Police Officers as a Function of Temperature: An Experiment with the Fire Arms Training System.” Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology 4: 365–70.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

PS: Political Science & Politics
  • ISSN: 1049-0965
  • EISSN: 1537-5935
  • URL: /core/journals/ps-political-science-and-politics
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 8
Total number of PDF views: 15 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 133 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 28th May 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.