Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Vice Presidential impact in general

In the latest survey conducted by Public Policy Polling, 507 likely voters were polled on their general thoughts about the various impacts that a running mate has on a presidential election, and also the overall impact a vice-president has on the policies of the president.

46% of the respondents said that the presidential candidate's choice of a running mate has a strong impact on their vote. I'm skeptical about the validity of these responses because that would seemingly imply that almost half of the voting population in North Carolina would potentially change their vote solely based on the candidate's running mate. It also doesn't fully match up with the other survey responses, because when asked about Clinton's affect on an Obama vote, 32% said they would vote for Obama no matter what and 33% said they would vote for McCain no matter what. This shows that only 31% are actually more or less likely to vote for Obama based on his choice of running mate.

Post by Curtis Labban, PPP Summer Fellow


Dan said...

Polls consistently show that very few people actually change their votes based on a vice presidential choice. Yet, many will respondent to poll questions by indicating that the choice is important to them. How to explain the dissonance? It's easy--most voters recognize that what matters most are the policy positions of the presidential candidate. They also recognize that the VP selection tells us important things about the values and judgment of that candidate. They're trying to say that they understand it to be an important choice, even though it's not likely to change who they vote for in the final analysis. These vice-presidential preference polls would be far more enlightening if they were asked only of voters who admit that they are undecided in the presidential contest. It's on these mushy-middle types that the modest actual political impact of a VP choice could actually be observed.

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