The VP Advantage

How running mates influence home state voting in presidential elections

By Christopher Devine and Kyle C. Kopko

The VP Advantage


  • Hardcover
  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-1-7849-9338-2
  • Pages: 216
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £23.99
  • Published Date: January 2016
  • BIC Category: Politics, Politics & government, Political science & theory, POLITICAL SCIENCE / General, Society & social sciences / Elections & referenda, Society & social sciences / Politics & government


A widespread perception exists among political commentators, campaign operatives and presidential candidates that vice presidential (VP) running mates can deliver their home state's electoral votes in a presidential election. In recent elections, presidential campaigns have even changed their strategy in response to the perceived VP home state advantage. But is the advantage real? And could it decide a presidential election? In the most comprehensive analysis to date, Devine and Kopko demonstrate that the VP home state advantage is actually highly conditional and rarely decisive in the Electoral College. However, it could change the outcome of a presidential election under narrow but plausible conditions. Sophisticated in its methodology and rich in historical as well as contemporary insight, The VP Advantage is essential and accessible reading for anyone interested in understanding how running mates influence presidential elections.


1. Origins and evolution of the vice presidential home state advantage
2. The home state advantage is dead ... long live the home state advantage!
3. When perception becomes campaign reality
4. An empirical analysis of the vice presidential home state advantage (state-level data)
5. An empirical analysis of the vice presidential home state advantage (individual-level data)
6. Did LBJ really 'deliver' Texas ... and the South?
7. Has the vice presidential home state advantage ever decided an election?
8. Who votes for the running mate, anyway?
9: The VP advantage
Appendix A: Documentation of media 'veepstakes' coverage
Appendix B: Fixed effects model of Democratic vote share with interaction terms, 1884-2012


Christopher J. Devine is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Mount Vernon Nazarene University, Ohio, USA

Kyle C. Kopko is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Elizabethtown College, Pennsylvania, USA

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