Evaluating the Impact of Vice Presidential Selection on Voter Choice


  • AUTHORS' NOTE: We are indebted to the ICPSR for NES data. The first-named author's participation in this research was partially supported under Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Grant #410-2007-2153, to study “Political Competition” (co–principal investigators: Stanley Winer and J. Stephen Ferris); the second-named author's participation was supported by funding from the Jack W. Peltason (Bren Foundation) Endowed Chair, University of California, Irvine. We also wish to acknowledge our debt to Sue Ludeman for bibliographic assistance.

Bernard Grofman is Jack W. Peltason Chair in the Department of Political Science at the University of California, Irvine, and director of the Center for the Study of Democracy. His most recent book is Behavioral Social Choice, coauthored with Michael Regenwetter, Michael, A. A. J. Marley, and Ilia Tsetlin.

Reuben Kline is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Political Science and a graduate fellow in the Center for the Study of Democracy at the University of California, Irvine.


We update and extend work by Wattenberg and Grofman (1993) and Wattenberg (1995) on the consequences of vice presidential selection for voter choice in U.S. presidential elections by offering a simple quantitative model that allows us to measure both potential and actual effects of differences between vice presidential and presidential preferences. We model the impact of vice presidential selection as a weighted average of the differences in voting behavior between those with differing combinations of presidential and vice presidential preferences and the size of the pool of voters who exhibit such preferences.