Princeton Election Consortium

Innovations in democracy since 2004

Outcome: Biden 306 EV (D+1.2% from toss-up), Senate 50 D (D+1.0%)
Nov 3 polls: Biden 342 EV (D+5.3%), Senate 50-55 D (D+3.9%), House control D+4.6%
Moneyball states: President AZ NE-2 NV, Senate MT ME AK, Legislatures KS TX NC

Politics and Polls #2: Does the VP Pick Still Matter?

July 8th, 2016, 10:00am by Sam Wang

In the second segment of Politics and Polls, Julian Zelizer and I discuss what the vice-presidential pick might accomplish for the candidates. Courtesy of the Woodrow Wilson School.

[Politics & Polls on iTunes]

Tags: 2016 Election · President

10 Comments so far ↓

  • CalStateDisneyland

    The sound quality is moderately choppy at times.

    • Sam Wang

      Fixing that for next time. Is my voice the only problem, or is Julian Zelizer’s voice also unclear?

    • Kevin

      I would say neither voice recording is up to professional/NPR standards, but your voice gets the worst of it.

  • Steve Robinson

    Julian Zelizer’s voice was fine. Sam, you sounded like you were calling in from a cellphone with a poor connection.

  • CalStateDisneyland

    Clearly the most important quality should be the ability to step in and be President. And that is undoubtedly where Sarah Palin did huge harm to the ticket. Second, the person has to seem presidential. For instance, Al Franken is very capable intellectually but he does not seem to have a presidential aura. I think the regional impact of a VP is negligible in this modern day and age. Not even Paul Ryan carried WI last election. There is definitely a nod to accommodate the candidate’s perceived weakness. Such as newcomer Obama picking oldhand Joe Biden or RINO McCain picking conservative Palin. Overall, you want to pick someone who could be president (i.e. make a credible choice) and shores up some weakness.

    • Kevin

      I agree with the central point but you have to be careful about whether someone seems “to have a presidential aura,” because that can play to prejudices and historical trends more than ability. I remember being incredulous about Bill Clinton’s nomination in 1992, because someone with that Arkansas accent just didn’t sound like a president to me. I got over it (and perhaps accent has become less pronounced).

    • Olav Grinde


      I object to you calling John McCain a “RINO”. It is, unfortunately, all too common for the right wing of the Republican party to believe that they – and they alone – own the definition of Republican and Conservative.

      As a result, the Republican Party has taken a sharp rightward turn in recent years, which fully explains its lack of appeal amongst certain voter demographics.

      Some analysts, of course, think of this as a mere image or branding problem. It is not! The problem – and the only possible solution – is to adjust policies, something the GOP has been unwilling to do.

  • Chip

    I don’t know what hardware you are using but many people doing podcasts record local copies of their audio and upload them somewhere afterward (either as the primary audio or as a backup) where it can be knitted with other individual audio files afterward. On Macs QuickTime Player is built in, though many podcasters use Call Recorder, which is a Skype plugin.

    Good article on podcast recording hardware/software (with a Mac focus) here: and there was a follow-up post on podcast editing here:

  • Josh

    Hey Sam,

    Off-topic here but would you care to comment on the model created by Helmut Norpoth at SUNY-Stony Brook?

    It seems at first blush to be so against everything you and other cutting-edge forecasters are doing these days…but maybe I’m missing something?