04/04/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Illinois Senate Primary 2010: Could Weather Help Giannoulias, Hurt Hoffman?

A snowy morning in Chicago could bode well for Alexi Giannoulias's chances to win the Democratic nomination for Senate, as he seeks to stave off challenger David Hoffman.

The snow stopped for the most part before noon, but it may have been detrimental to primary turnout that was already expected to be extremely low statewide. Turnout in the last midterm primary in 2006 was around 25%, and with this primary coming unusually early, voters have had less time to get interested in the races.

With the additional deterrent of bad weather, many polling places in Chicago have been all but empty.

While downstate areas also report low turnout, it has hardly snowed at all south of Chicago, a fact that could give those areas greater-than-usual influence in the election results--which could be good news for Giannoulias. Hoffman has made late gains in the polls, and he is quite popular in the city and its affluent North Shore suburbs, which are the areas that saw the most snow Tuesday morning. Meanwhile, Hoffman's name recognition is still relatively low downstate, meaning that fewer votes in Chicago could damper his hopes.

Similarly, gubernatorial candidate Dan Hynes has seen a groundswell of support from rural areas, meaning that he, too, could benefit from the snow in his race against incumbent Governor Pat Quinn.

But with the weather clearing up in Chicago this afternoon, it remains to be seen if voters in the city will show up to the polls later, or not at all.