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Vice-presidential Selection: Ticket-balancing or More?




Riley, Eugene

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Political Science

Restriction Status


Restriction Type


Date Available



Abstract Traditionally, scholarly research on vice-presidential selection was focused almost exclusively on “ticket-balancing” – the practice of pairing presidential and vice-presidential nominees of differing geographical and ideological backgrounds to unify the party and broaden the ticket’s electoral appeal. Over the years, however, authorities have expressed skepticism about the continuing significance of ticket-balancing. Indeed, several authorities have argued that, as influences on the selection process, ticket-balancing criteria have been superseded by competence (Goldstein, 2012; Hiller & Kriner, 2008; Nelson, 1988). This development is attributable to higher voter expectations about the qualifications of vice-presidential nominees; the enhanced responsibilities associated with the ascendancy of the vice-presidency; and the increasing attractiveness of the vice-presidential slot, which has made a higher caliber of prospective candidates available for selection. The following dissertation presents six case studies of vice-presidential selection. It uses the literature to identify relevant research questions and hypotheses, which it then tests. The study serves at least three purposes. First, it adds to the literature on vice-presidential selection by applying comparative case study analysis, rather than the traditional methodological approaches. Second, it identifies the decision-making criteria used by past presidential nominees to select running mates. Third, it assesses whether the political environment influences vice-presidential selection.