Tuesday, August 19, 2008

On VP Predictions: Timing and Choices

The roots of a good discussion have already begun in the post I put up yesterday regarding McCain opting for Mitt Romney as his running mate. Both Jack and Scott have added some interesting links that, when taken together, point toward Obama making his selection known sometime between Wednesday morning and Friday -- prior to a Springfield event on Saturday to introduce the new ticket.

Scott has already weighed in. He sees a Friday announcement. At this point, I'm hesitant to put in my two cents, having already missed once. However, I'll say that Thursday morning will be when Obama makes the call. [See, I'm still averaging the difference.] That gives them a bit more exposure time, but not enough to set off a backlash.

And what say you, loyal FHQ readers? Lurkers you too can have an anonymous place in the spotlight. The comments section is there for both predictions on when the announcement(s) will be made and who will be named running mate -- on both sides.

[UPDATE]: Check out Scott's comment below for some Sebelius speculation (via our good friends over at DemConWatch.).

Recent Posts:
Is Rasmussen's Inclusion of "Leaners" Affecting the Electoral College Outlook Now? An Update

The New Ohio Poll and McCain's VP Choice

The Electoral College Map (8/17/08)


Unknown said...

For completeness, I'll point out that Saturday itself is also a possibility. I find it unlikely--noon Saturday in Illinois is ten am on the west coast, and I don't really think you want the dramatic cell phone symphony going off early Saturday morning. But DCW is treating it as a possibility.

Incidentally, Leah over at DCW found something that is either great detective work or a fraud. Assuming it's great detective work, it implies Sebelius will be Obama's pick, or possibly Kaine.

Anonymous said...

Now why didn't I think of that? Fraud or not, you have to admit that's pretty clever. Given the GOP domain name buy back in the spring, you'd think they would have had this one covered. Eh, maybe not.

We'll see. The buzz around her has certainly died to a near whisper these days. I won't say that Obama is unconventional, but he isn't necessarily one to bow to the pundits and conventional wisdom on this selection. I don't think that's the guiding force behind his decision, but I do think he is more apt to pull a surprise pick simply because he's going first.

Good stuff. Thanks for the link.

Robert said...

There is one comment out there indicating the timing depends on who the running mate will be. See http://www.thenation.com/blogs

If that is the case look for a Biden announcement tomorrow, Kaine or Bayh on Thursday or Friday, and Clinton who may not be announced until sometime during the convention itself.

Anonymous said...

Here's that link from Rob.

Unknown said...

And the answer is...

Friday, according to CBS news.

That was my guess--what do I win? Well, it was my second guess. Let's not talk about my first guess, since it was so far off I don't even remember it. :)

Anonymous said...

I don't remember your first guess. In fact, I think I'll go delete the comments from the post that both our initial guesses weren't in.

Unknown said...

RE timing: remember this thread?

I was by far the closest and didn't even know Obama's vacation dates at the time.

I think the emails and text msgs will go out Friday afternoon, prior to the event in Springfield.

The top three considerations for Obama's VP pick:

1. Personal chemistry.
2. Ability to assist in governance.
3. Ability to help get elected.

Kaine wins on point 1, Clinton wins on point 3, Biden is a good balance of all three. I predict Biden. I especially predict however that the pick will not be unconventional. If the last month has shown anything, it is that Obama is ready to be completely conventional in everything he does.

Anonymous said...

Hello everyone, I'm happy to have been lead to this site. Much relieved to find informed reason after the plummet of the "comment average" on 538. I think I remember SLS posting excellent comments there but there no more? Well I better say something intelligent, simple though I am. Obama should pick Clinton because progressive politics tell you to be inclusive, that is strength. O and C lapped the field, there is a clear separation. Best outcome is she isn't made to walk the plank, that creates a great deal of negative sentiment up to and including Clinton in 12. I know what you mean by safe but safe gives McCain the opportunity to add his own "exciting woman" as his change act and to build a positive narrative atop the negative attacks which appear to be the source of his recent traction. That's too easy, make the old man work harder than that. The way C has behaved she does not deserve it perhaps, but O should suck it up for the good of the country and the party. As to practical, in brief, if you’re self financed and relying on GOTV, you can't make it easier for yourself than bringing aboard C with her troops and money raising potential. It doesn't matter about the soap opera the cable news makes of the Clintons. She will deliver Ohio for him, that's what matters. I think O is sharp but nothing makes me doubt that assessment more than his seemingly devil may care attitude toward Ohio; i.e. show up there for once Mr. B. The announcement should be in a big rally in Cleveland on Sunday with a promise to come back together for a big tour of the state after the convention. Saturday Ohio watches football. McCain's water compact blunder has created a real opportunity to flip NM and CO but Ohio is easier and death to McCain if he loses it...

Jack said...

I was going to read this post and all the comments, but then I've realized I've read five million posts and comments here and on 538 and am no more informed than I was when this whole thing started. First I read something that it'll certainly be Biden, Bayh or Kaine. Then I read that it'll be Sebelius. I have no idea who he will pick, or even who he should pick. A few months ago I wanted Richardson, then I was saying Biden, and now everybody sounds equally good to me.

I'm sorry if I ranted a bit. This isn't meant to be an attack on you or any of those who have speculated; I've seen much rational and valuable discussion. I'm just, I guess, on overload with this VP stuff and need to take a break from it. And I'm dying to hear the official announcement!

Robert said...

I predicted Obama would win the nomination in May, 2007, when everyone else in our discussion group was going for either Clinton or Edwards. Throughout the primary season, I indicated that the Dem. running mate would be a safe white man. Obama won the nomination on the basis of change as opposed to politics as usual. Picking Clinton destroys that message, so he could not pick her.

Somewhere over the summer Obama lost his message of change. If you look at the no tossup state numbers on RCP, Obama has dropped from 320 to 264 in the past few weeks and from 304 in the last week. McCain now has Ohio, Colorado and Nevada (even when pushing for 45 nuclear power plants -- all of which will send their wastes to Yucca Maountain!). This situation is unbelievable when a large number of elected Republicans are skipping their own convention!

Obama needs to shake things up or he is going to plunge farther than JFK II did in 2004. The only way I see that happening is to name Clinton, so I am in with Borderpeak. I believe that he will name Hillary and it may not be until Sunday or even Monday.

Anonymous said...

See this is what happens when you go teach class for two hours: a real discussion breaks out.

I'm glad Allen is back. And let me say now that he offered the best VP timing guess by far. And even though yesterday came and went without an announcement, I'm willing to let it slide since the rest of us were so far off. Let's put a live version of that link up, embarrassing though it may be.

It is all a guessing game at this point. Both campaigns have done an outstanding job of keeping the internal thought processes under wraps. The delay in announcing has really fed the speculation machine, though. In the end, everyone is just guessing. Kudos to the campaigns. The drawback is that they have to deliver when they finally roll out the choice.

To everyone:
Is a Clinton choice now not an act of desperation (or at least spun that way given recent polling)? I realize what she brings to the table, but does that short term perception hurt long term? I don't have an answer, but I'll throw it out to the group.

I'll have the new map up shortly.

Anonymous said...

Scratch that.

There's a new poll up in Ohio. I should probably incorporate that one before I put the new map out.

Robert said...


A Clinton selection may be seen as an act of desperation, and will surely be spun that way by the Republicans, but the press will be gun-shy to link Clinton with desperation as that will be seen as sexist. Also, it will be disingenuous for all the people in the press who have tried to bring the ticket together to now attack it. After all she was always on his short list. It will come across as a Dream Ticket. I think Clinton comes with lots of baggage, particularly #42, but it is time for an election changer. RCP national average has the Obama lead down to 1.2%. Somehow he needs to halt the McCain surge. A Dream Ticket will also take the air out of the McCain VP announcement and carry in to the Minnesota convention.

Unknown said...

Robert, I agree with everything you have said. I think Clinton would be the "best" pick at this point, but I don't think that is the choice Obama has made. If I'm wrong, I will be pleasantly surprised (not because I like Clinton, but because I want to see the Democratic ticket win the election). But no matter who he picks, I'm not going to be second guessing him! I assume he has better information than I do, and is in a better position to weigh all of the factors!

BTW, this is my website:
http://election-projection.net. When the polls are dropping, the projection will lag somewhat. It is not looking pretty at the moment, although Obama is still in the lead, primarily because he still has more paths to victory than McCain.

Robert said...


Thanks for pointing me to your site. Very interesting.I have refrained from second-guessing Obama and his campaign to this point, but I see his chances slipping away.

Anonymous said...

It is good to have you over here. Thanks for contributing.

Unknown said...

I have a new theory on Obama's recent slide. I'll admit it may be colored by pro-Obama wishful thinking on my part, but I think it's defensible and testable. Since it relates in part to his VP pick, I'm putting it here instead of under the map.

There's a meme out there that if Obama slides enough in the polls, he'll have to pick Clinton.

Consider someone who wants to see Clinton as Obama's VP choice, or who still holds out hope for Clinton to end up in the top slot somehow. Can you really even think about whether you'll vote for Obama-someone else vs. McCain? You're very likely to say undecided, or maybe even McCain if you're feeling snarky.

The polls show some evidence for this, but it's not clear-cut. Obama doesn't seem to be doing well with locking up Dems. That could be a reaction to stuff like FISA, but it doesn't seem to be liberals specifically where he's having some trouble. It could also be Reagan Democrats responding to McCain's negative attacks. That's another good hypothesis, and the one popular in the media.

But I like my hypothesis in terms of timing. When it looked like Hillary had completely joined forces with Obama, his numbers spiked. Then, when Bill Clinton didn't come on board, Obama slipped through July and early August. On August 14 it was announced there would be a roll-call vote and Obama took another leg down.

If I'm right, then Obama should get a big post-convention bounce. If things go well, it will be quite big, with Hillary supporters finally coming into the fold. Even if things go poorly, it at least will resolve some issues (like whether Hillary will be VP), and some of those undecideds will think things through and make a decision. In some cases, the decision will go toward Obama, and his numbers will still go up.

Summary of a long-winded post: we may be seeing a pre-convention anti-bounce due to Hillary supporters who are focussed on the VP and the convention. After the convention, the anti-bounce may go away.

Anonymous said...

I'm a fan of long-winded responses or as I like to call them, informative responses.

I don't see this as necessarily far-fetched. It is the only real way to build in a bounce out of this convention with the GOP's own convention and Labor Day weekend immediately afterward. In the past it has been a good debate performance that has helped people react this comfort zone that we keep hearing about (ie: 1980 and Reagan), but this is a unique situation. You talk about anti-bounces, but this would be the anti-1980 for the Democratic Party and its nominee. We'll have to see how it plays out and whether they find a way to achieve some semblance of unity.

One thing is for sure: It will be interesting.

Robert said...


Interesting perspective. I remain skeptical but I consider your scenario possible. What happens if she is offered and does not take it? How does that affect the second (or third) choice?

Unknown said...

I think I might have been unclear, Robert. I'm saying that Obama's numbers may currently besuppressed by the uncertainty regarding his VP pick. (People don't want to say they're on board until they see how this goes.) Regardless of who he picks, I expect his numbers to go up once the process is done.

To answer your question directly, though, I think the chance of Obama offering without being darn sure that Clinton will accept is zero. I doubt he'll offer it to her at all, but he'd make certain first that she'd take it if offered.

Unknown said...

I just sent out 3 million spoof emails announcing Harriet Miers as Barack's choice for Vice President. A pretty good practical joke, I think. Did you guys get them? I was hoping to make the evening news.

Anonymous said...

Poor Harriet. Always a bridesmaid, never a bride.