Joe Biden’s pick for Vice President, Kamala Harris, has an impact over the remaining months of the campaign, particularly with Independent voters who have not yet chosen a presidential candidate to back. We examined the key factors Democrats are looking for in a VP to see how the choice will energize Biden’s base, or not…as well as if she will help bring Independents to his campaign. The factors Democrats and Independents care about when evaluating Joe Biden’s choice of running mate vary considerably. The study was completed less than 24 hours before Biden’s announcement ensuring the responses were current and genuine but not influenced in any way by the announcement itself.

Highlights of the Study:

  • Every factor matters to persuade independent voters to get to the polls. — Only 68% of independent likely voters are absolutely sure they will vote, compared to over 84% of Democrats and Republicans.
  • Experience matters to Democrats but is less of an issue for Independents. — Democrats strongly (63%) desire a VP with government experience, but among Independents, only half (51%) care about prior government work.
  • Independents and Democrats vary on the political ideology they want to see in the VP. — Less than a quarter (22%) of both Democrats and Independents want the VP to be more conservative than Joe Biden, but 35% of Democrats feel strongly the pick should be more liberal versus only 17% of Independents who feel the same.
  • Choosing a VP pick that is younger than Joe Biden is the top personal traits for both Democrats and Independents (41%). — Democrats are highly interested in seeing a woman (36%) and a minority (33%) as their VP, while these characteristics are less important for Independents.
  • Democrats are more interested in a VP that is aligned with their values. — Particularly on social issues, Democrats care that the VP pick is highly aligned (58%) versus. Independents who rate social values lower (43%).
  • Kamala Harris, followed by Elizabeth Warren, top the list for desired VP picks for both Democrats and Independents, however other choices are more polarizing. — Democrats prefer Tammy Duckworth as their third choice but Independents would like to see Susan Rice as the third option. Gretchen Whitmer is ranked eighth for Democrats, but she fares better among Independents as their sixth choice.

Check out the infographic for the complete survey results.

How did DISQO collect the pulse of the American voter so quickly?

The Study was conducted online, distributed to a nationally representative sample of DISQO Audience members within the United States via the Survey Junkie platform, which is wholly owned by DISQO. The survey, which garnered a total of 1,018 responses on August 10, 2020, was taken on both desktop and mobile devices. Participants were asked about their political affiliation, plans to participate in the November presidential election and preferences related to Vice Presidential selections. Data was available within four hours of the survey launch and the analysis and infographic were completed in less than 24 hours.