Can VP selection really be a true game-changer?

Associated Press
FILE - In this Aug. 29, 2008 file photo, Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, left, smiles as his choice for his vice presidential running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, pumps her fist as she is introduced to supporters at a campaign rally in Dayton, Ohio.  Four years after Palin, it might certainly feel to voters as though the choice of a presidential ticket's No. 2 can be a make-or-break decision for the ticket's No. 1.   But the conventional wisdom among those who study this stuff is that, in truth, the veep choice actually doesn't do much, if anything at all, to change the outcome of an election. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia, File)
.

View photo

FILE - In this Aug. 29, 2008 file photo, Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, left, smiles as his choice for his vice presidential running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, pumps her fist as she is introduced to supporters at a campaign rally in Dayton, Ohio. Four years after Palin, it might certainly feel to voters as though the choice of a presidential ticket's No. 2 can be a make-or-break decision for the ticket's No. 1. But the conventional wisdom among those who study this stuff is that, in truth, the veep choice actually doesn't do much, if anything at all, to change the outcome of an election. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia, File)

GILBERT, Ariz. (AP) — When a little-known Alaska governor stepped onto the American political stage as John McCain's running mate four years ago, the choice was intended to be a game-changer.

While Sarah Palin gave a boost to the Republican Arizona senator's presidential campaign initially, her campaign overall had mixed results.

Now voters and election watchers are trying to determine if Republican Mitt Romney's choice of Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate will be a game-changer in this year's elections.

Those who have studied elections and vice presidential choices say the VP choice doesn't do much, if anything, to affect the outcome most years.

But they say it can make a difference in a very close race.

EDITOR'S NOTE _ Another story in the occasional series "American Pulse," plumbing deeper currents in American politics in this election year.

View Comments (99)