In the course of US history, a number of party nominees have used the vice-presidential selection to help advance their own elections. And while some selections have helped shifted the dynamics of the presidential contest that year, they haven’t always helped the candidate win in the fall.
This year, presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama’s selection of Joe Biden does little to shift the dynamics of the current contest. A poll taken after the Illinois Senator tapped his Delaware counterpart shows a dead heat. The selection is not a game-changer.
Obama should have learned from two of the three most recent Democratic nominees. Both picked candidates from the center of their party and saw their political fortunes shift. In 1992, after Clinton tapped then-moderate Senator Al Gore, Jr. of Tennessee, he went from polling third among three candidates to first between two, as far ahead of then-incumbent George H.W. Bush as he had previously been behind businessman H. Ross Perot.
Eight years later, when Gore tapped Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, he surged ahead of then-Governor George W. Bush of Texas in all polls.
In 1980, Ronald Reagan, then a conservative outsider, reassured the Republican establishment when he tapped the elder Bush as his running mate.
Perhaps had Obama picked a more moderate candidate like Indiana’s Evan Bayh or even Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, he may have shifted the dynamic of the race. But, despite hisÂ likability, Biden doesn’t really help broaden the ticket. Oh, yeah, he has experience in dealing with foreign policy issues. The only problem is that his liberal solutions to those issues.
Don’t think that’ll do much to reassure moderate Democrats and skeptical Independents.
UPDATE: No Biden bounce: “Gallup Poll Daily tracking from Aug. 23-25, the first three-day period falling entirely after Obama’s Saturday morning vice presidential announcement, shows 46% of national registered voters backing John McCain and 44% supporting Obama.”