Remember how Tim Kaine was supposed to help the Democratic ticket appeal to Latino voters because he speaks fluent Spanish? And how, if selected as Hillary Clinton’s running mate, he would help her win votes in his home state of Virginia? Or how Mike Pence would be able to serve as an emissary to Midwestern and conservative voters if selected as Donald Trump’s running mate?
Did Clinton and Trump really believe the veepstakes punditry that Kaine and Pence could deliver these electoral advantages? And do these considerations help explain how the running mates are being used on the campaign trail right now?
To help answer these questions, we’ve been tracking where the presidential and vice presidential candidates have been traveling throughout the campaign. Our database of campaign visits differs from existing candidatetrackers in that we record not only where the major-party candidates have been traveling, but also the exact locations of their events and the demographic and political characteristics of each locale visited. The logic of our research is simple: If a presidential campaign really believes that its running mate can help win votes from a particular demographic or political group, then it will send the vice presidential nominee to campaign in places where those voters are disproportionately represented compared to the places the presidential candidate visits.
Copyright © 2016, Authors
Devine, Christopher J. and Kopko, Kyle C., "How Clinton and Trump Are Using Their Running Mates on the Campaign Trail" (2016). Political Science Faculty Publications. 91.