The Vice Presidential Home State Advantage Reconsidered: Analyzing the Interactive Effect of Home State Population and Political Experience, 1884-2008


  • AUTHORS' NOTE: We extend our sincerest thanks to Herbert F. Weisberg and Jeffrey L. Budziak for their helpful comments and suggestions on previous drafts of this article.

Christopher J. Devine is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Political Science at The Ohio State University. His research interests include voting behavior, political psychology, partisanship, and ideology.

Kyle C. Kopko is an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania. His research interests include judicial politics, political psychology, and partisanship.


Previous research has found that presidential tickets perform particularly well in a vice presidential candidate's home state when that state is relatively low in population. In this article, we argue that selecting a vice presidential candidate from a small state is not sufficient to produce a large vice presidential home state advantage; rather, state population should matter only insofar as the vice presidential candidate has extensive experience within that state's political system. Analysis of presidential election returns from 1884 through 2008 demonstrates the statistically significant interactive effect of home state population and political experience on the size of the vice presidential home state advantage. The models presented in the article perform much better than models that do not account for this interactive effect.