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Does a vice presidential candidate's home state matter?

Posted by Garrett Quinn, Less is More  July 18, 2012 06:28 PM

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One of the arguments we've heard during the Mitt Romney Veepstakes is that he needs to pick a running mate that helps in a swing state, like Senator Rob Portman of Ohio or New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez. It's a weak argument given the history of vice-presidential candidates carrying their home states. Nate Silver explains:

With that said, it seems likely that the vice presidential nominee's effect on his or her home state is normally quite modest -- perhaps two or three percentage points on average, if a little more in some cases and a little less in others.

To be sure, two or three percentage points in the right swing state is not trivial, but it is probably not enough to outweigh the other strengths and weaknesses that a vice presidential candidate could potentially impart onto the ticket.

Sure, the VP pick can give you a slight bump in their home state but it is not enough to make it a major reason for selection.

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About the author

Garrett Quinn began writing for newspapers at age 17 with CNC in his native South Shore. He has been published in BlueMassGroup, RedMassGroup, Pioneer Investigates, and Wonkette. He is a More »

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