Punditology: our collective wisdom - the veepstakes

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

Last week, in the latest edition of the Punditology Challenge, I asked you to predict who Barack Obama and John McCain would pick for vice president -- and when. And I also asked you which veep picks you would recommend, if you were advising the two candidates. 268 of you participated.

Your predictions
Your predictions for Barack Obama's veep were all over the map. 59 of you think it will be Evan Bayh. 45 think it'll be Tim Kaine and 40 have picked Kathleen Sebelius. From amongst the presidential contenders, 25 of you picked Joe Biden, 17 picked Bill Richardson, and 14 picked Hillary Clinton. 12 for Wesley Clark and 10 for Brian Schweitzer. 48 of you picked one of the others (but zero for Ann Veneman.)

John McCain's pick has always been harder to figure out. But over a third of you, 91, think it will be Mitt Romney. 50 think it'll be Tim Pawlenty and 28 picked Charlie Crist. It drops off fast - with 17 for Mike Huckabee, 13 for Eric Cantor, and 12 for Tom Ridge. 57 of you picked one of the others (but zero for Sonny Perdue.)

The most popular combo - Bayh & Romney - was predicted by 23 of you. In all, 268 people combined for 111 different possible combos.

Yeah, but who should it be?
Of course, our preferred picks didn't match up with our predictions. I asked you to assign 100 points to identify your recommendations (100 on one, 50 each on two, scattered around to suggest a ranking - whatever.) Here's how it shook out:

For Obama, three strong favorites emerged -- 11% each for Kathleen Sebelius, Bill Richardson, and Hillary Clinton. Wes Clark drew 10%, Evan Bayh got 9%, Joe Biden 8%, Tim Kaine 7%, Brian Schweitzer 6%, and John Edwards 6% (obviously, before his Friday night admission.)

For McCain, a 17% recommendation for Mitt Romney. 13% for Charlie Crist, 10% for Mike Huckabee, and 7% for Tim Pawlenty. 5% each for Sarah Palin, Tom Ridge, Condi Rice, Bobby Jindal, and Joe Lieberman.

When will it happen?

On the jump, your predictions about when the two candidates will announce their running mates.

Of course, I started the Challenge the day before rumors ran rampant in Indiana that Obama would pick Evan Bayh imminently. So that skewed things a bit.

Here's the charts. Obama in blue, McCain in red. Note that the Democratic convention runs August 25-28, and the GOP convention runs September 1-4.



  • Sierra A. Mike (unverified)

    Picking Bayh loses a Senate seat. I'll gladly eat crow if he's selected, but how people think he's such a top contender is beyond me.

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    Maybe, maybe not. It all depends on whether Jill Long Thompson (D) can defeat the Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) in November.

    If she does (and it's not looking good), then she'd get to appoint the Senate replacement for Vice President Bayh.

  • Steiny (unverified)

    I vaguely remember, back in 1992, thinking that the Democratic Ticket should have been "Gore/Clinton". Now I have to live with the reality that the 2008 Ticket must be "Obama/?". I certainly don't think another Clinton would be appropriate, nor do I think that ANY DLC (Y'know, "Democrats Licking Corporate-asses") faux-Democrat would be an appropriate VP choice. So I would suggest that Mr. Obama consider Lincoln Chafee, former Senator from Rhode Island, and former (now Independent) Republican, now at Brown University, and certainly a valuable asset to the Citizens of the USA, and not to any particular Party. He is the only Republican whose election loss in 2006 made me sad. I am supporting the very Moderate Republican (the first "R" in 20 years), Joel Haugen, in the 1st CD race for US Representative, since the Incumbent Congressman, Mr. Wu, has voted for the Corporations, over the Citizens, one (or more...) too many times.


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    It's not entirely clear to me what kind of VP either Obama or McCain is looking for. For better or worse, Cheney's tenure has shown the benefits to an administration of having a VP who can manage a large portfolio on their own (though to be fair, Gore actually started the trend.)

    Obama has shown he has real managerial skills in picking the right people for his campaign positions and keeping them focused, but what kind of VP is he looking for--somebody to go to funerals and send the fruit baskets or somebody to exercise real authority in shaping policy? Anybody have insights?

    McCain has shown much less acumen in managing his campaign, which is something to bear in mind when deciding whom to vote for. Whether McCain's pick is a strong policy wonk (as many mistakenly perceive Rice) or a glad-hander (like Huckabee) would probably have a much greater impact on his eventual administration's operations than Obama's VP choice would, because Obama seems more likely to pick a strong, competent cabinet and then to manage it effectively on his own.

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    I have no idea if the respondents to your survey represent Democrats or even the Democratic base, but it's interesting that there's not a single veep candidate who gets more than 11%. There's no fave coming in, which one can interpret as good or bad news.

    Good if you think that there will be no constituency badly flustered by a snub (cough Hillary cough).

    Bad if you consider that the vast majority will feel snubbed.

    I for one plan to vote McCain if Obama doesn't go Sebelius. I mean, that's obvious.

  • RichW (unverified)

    Not to pick on Jeff in particular, but I canot for the life of me understand why someone would change theit vote for POTUS based upon a VP choice. It is an irrational knee-jerk reaction. The differences between McCain and Obama are so crystal clear that a choice of veep should have minimal effect on where the the presidential candidate stands. I can understand the "favorite son/daughter" effect where the choice might energize the voting public in a certain region. But to completely reverse ones support of a candidate seems to me to be a vanity issue rather than one of the issues at stake.

  • backbeat (unverified)

    RichW, please adjust your snarkometer. That said, as a woman I'll be very, very, very pissed if Obama goes with anti choice Kaine. No, I won't vote for McSame nor stay home, but he'll get no money or time.

  • Jon (unverified)

    Snark detector says:

    I think Jeff was joking.

  • Bill R. (unverified)

    Kaine's position on abortion is characterized above as anti-choice, meaning being opposed to legal access to abortion. That is a wrong characterization. He supports legal access to abortion. Personally he is opposed to abortion but as a matter of public policy he supports abortion being legal. http://mediamatters.org/items/200511110006

    Here is his position in his own words: http://www.ontheissues.org/Governor/Tim_Kaine_Abortion.htm

  • RichW (unverified)

    "I think Jeff was joking."

    Doh! My apologies from one who is snark challenged!

    But my comment still stands. A VP choice can energize or disapppoint the progressive base, but to go to McCain and the GOP platform over it just doesn't make sense.

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    Whether McCain's pick is a strong policy wonk (as many mistakenly perceive Rice)

    Well, I hardly consider Rice a "policy wonk" (at least not a very "strong" one), but I've been placing my bets that she'll be McCain's pick because I think the campaign would believe that it could shave off a few points of African-American or woman voters, and inoculate it against charges of racism in their anti-Obama ads during the rest of the election season. Any time they ran something slimy, they could point to their VP selection and say they're not racist or sexist.

    It could sure go a long way toward burnishing McCain's tarnished "moderate" image with people who may not have been paying close attention.

    I don't necessarily think it would be a winning tactic, but for strategists who live and die by identity politics like the GOP's, I can see how it would appeal.

  • Humblerodent (unverified)

    Gov. Tim Kaine on Charlie Rose. I thought this was an amazingly good interview and I'm a Dem who has no issues with his stance on abortion. I'm a fan of the man. His answers seem to flow quite naturally cause you get the feeling he is actually sincere in what he says

    Charlie Rose interview with Gov. Tim Kaine

  • backbeat (unverified)

    NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia on Tuesday announced it will not endorse a candidate in the state's gubernatorial race this fall, noting a lack of support for abortion rights among the two leading candidates, the Washington Post reports. The group said it did not endorse Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine (D) because he supports some restrictions on abortion, such as parental consent and notification laws for minors seeking abortion and a ban on so-called "partial-birth" abortion. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/29334.php

    Screw Kaine, okay? Screw him.

  • JG (unverified)

    backbeat - thanks for the specifics. That certainly will inform my thoughts about Kaine, but I still don't think that makes him anti-choice. There are a lot of gradations within "pro-choice." He clearly isn't fully to the side of NARAL (or where I'd like him to be). BUT - that being said, "anti-choice" implies that he wants to outlaw abortion, and that isn't the case.

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    Kaine on Rose:

    Kaine: Keep Roe, Hussein Needed to Go ... In an hour-long interview with PBS's Charlie Rose Wednesday, Virginia Governor Tim Kaine outlined his views on national and international matters including abortion and the war in Iraq. ... While saying that he supports Roe and that he does not want to criminalize abortion, Kaine voiced support for three abortion restrictions. ... Governor Kaine also discussed the 2003 U. S. invasion of Iraq, describing the Bush administration's case for military intervention as "very, very flimsy" and "maneuvering the vote in Congress around an election cycle." Kaine said he agreed with the Bush administration that former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein should be ousted but disagreed with the U.S.-led invasion.

    Of course, that's what he's saying now. Two strikes, so far as I'm concerned.

    Here's a third:

    Kaine: Lieberman for President ... But before everyone gets ready to anoint Tim Kaine as Obama's VP, consider this startling fact, which has some of the liberal blogs up in arms: Tim Kaine endorsed Joe Lieberman for president in 2004—over both John Edwards and John Kerry. Here's what Kaine said then, according to a story in the Richmond Times-Dispatch: "Joe's record as a state official and senator shows he has the qualities necessary to lead our nation, strengthen our economy and promote a safer world," Kaine said. "Joe is the right person to revive the Harry Truman wing of the Democratic Party, which has traditionally been strong for national defense, strong for the economy and strong for equal opportunity."

    That's the Joe Lieberman of 2004 -- the post-invasion, Bush-hugging, hell-bent for Iraqi devastation Joe Lieberman who's gone on to endorse John McCain -- he's endorsing there.

    Favoring (more) restrictions on abortion. Supportive of regime change but lacksadasical about the problems of actually effecting said change. And someone who thought (like the perenially-wrong New Republic) that Joe Lieberman would be a great choice for the Democratic party as president.

    But he apparently talks real good to Charlie Rose (the same guy who chuckled at Thomas Friedman's "Suck on this" speech back in 2003).

  • Jack Sullivan (unverified)

    I've been placing my bets that she'll be McCain's pick because I think the campaign would believe that it could shave off a few points of African-American or woman voters

    Not to mention closeted lesbians.

  • humblerodent (unverified)


    i thought i would just share my two cents and let people view the interview for themselves and come to their own opinion. should i give kaine a 4th strike for even appearing on charlie rose?

  • Bill R. (unverified)

    @ backbeat- "Screw Kaine, okay? Screw him."

    Intelligent discourse. Fortunately neither you nor NARAL controls the political dialogue or direction of debate on abortion. And today the Dem. Party has decided to find a middle ground in its party plank. http://voices.washingtonpost.com/the-trail/2008/08/13/conservative_dems_hail_party_p.html

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    Yeah, that was snark upthread. Since it's mid-August, we focus intently on the veep pick; in October we'll barely care.

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    <h2>Well, the GOP side of this is completely blown out of the water. I think I should get a half point for picking Condi Rice, though.</h2>

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