Sabato's Crystal Ball

2016 President

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The Crystal Ball‘s 2016 Electoral College ratings

Updated March 31, 2016

2016 Democratic Vice Presidential Watch

Updated May 12, 2015

Candidate Key VP Advantages Key VP Disadvantages
Tim Kaine
Senator, VA
•Swing-state senator
•Has been a No. 2 as VA’s Lt. Gov.
•Speaks Spanish fluently, Catholic missionary as young man
•Dem governor would appoint his replacement
•Widely respected
•Not going to excite Sanders’ voters
•Not a powerful stump presence
•Low profile in Senate
Julián Castro
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
•Latino pol in an election where that demographic may be more important than ever
•Dynamic, youthful; keynoted ’12 DNC
•Short governing resume
•Ready for primetime campaign exposure?
Sherrod Brown
Senator, OH
•Could ameliorate Clinton’s problems with left regarding trade issues
•Populist/left appeal to Sanders backers
•Swing-state senator
•Might pull ticket too far left
•GOP governor would appoint his replacement
Ken Salazar
Ex-Secretary of the Interior
•Latino politician from a swing state (CO)
•Lengthy resume as senator, cabinet secretary
•Westerner provides geographical diversity
•Too moderate? Could rankle Sanders’ voters
•Very low key
Al Franken
Senator, MN
•With comedy background, could be Clinton attack dog versus Trump
•Dem governor would appoint his replacement
•Possibly attractive to Sanders backers
•Might be too loose on the stump
•Won’t excite minority voters
Elizabeth Warren
Senator, MA
•Progressives love her
•Fundraising machine
•Double woman ticket could expand gender gap
•Might pull ticket too far left
•Could overshadow Clinton
•’12 campaign baggage
•GOP governor would appoint short-term replacement early in Clinton’s term
Amy Klobuchar
Senator,
MN
•Popular woman senator from Midwest
•Double woman ticket could expand gender gap
•Dem governor would appoint her replacement
•Not going to excite Sanders’ voters or minority voters
•Not a powerful stump presence
Deval Patrick
Ex-Governor, MA
•African-American pol, could help minority turnout
•Dynamic on the stump
•Mixed governing record
•Now works for Bain Capital
Cory Booker
Senator, NJ
•African-American pol, could help minority turnout
•Young, dynamic on the stump
•Closeness to Wall Street hurts with Sanders’ voters
•Style over substance?
•NY/NJ lacks geographic balance
•GOP governor would appoint replacement
Mark Warner
Senator, VA
•Strong executive record

•Swing-state senator
•Bipartisan respect in Senate
•Closeness to business sector hurts with Sanders’ voters
•Might not have mindset to be a No. 2
•Nearly lost Senate seat in 2014
Joaquín Castro
Congressman, TX
•Latino pol in an election where that demographic may be more important than ever
•Young, fresh face
•Less known than twin brother Julián
•Ready for primetime campaign exposure?
Tom Perez
Secretary of Labor
•Latino pol in an election where that demographic may be more important than ever •Totally anonymous
John Hickenlooper
Governor, CO
•Swing-state governor
•Former big-city mayor
•Not going to excite base
Bill Nelson
Senator, FL
•Swing-state senator
•Almost universally liked
•Won’t overshadow Clinton, unlikely to eye future pres run
•Older than Clinton
•Not going to excite base
•GOP governor would appoint replacement
Evan Bayh
Ex-Senator, IN
•Could boost Clinton’s chances in a tough “reach” state (IN)
•Long governing experience as governor and senator
•Bipartisan respect in and out of Senate
•Might spark revolt among Sanders’ voters because he’s so moderate
Terry McAuliffe
Governor, VA
•Swing-state governor
•Totally loyal to the Clintons
•Can raise big-time money
•If elected, gives VA Dem Lt. Gov. the top job and a leg up for 2017 election
•Can come on too strong
•Reinforces idea that Clintons are over-reliant on cronies
•History as political “fixer” doesn’t fit electoral mood
Martin Heinrich
Senator, NM
•Westerner
•Youthful, well-liked by environmentalists
•Anonymous
•GOP governor would appoint replacement
•NM should be safe for Clinton
Claire McCaskill
Senator, MO
•Could boost Clinton’s chances in a tough “reach” state (MO)
•Double woman ticket, has reconciled with Clinton after backing Obama in ’08
•Could potentially cost Democrats a Senate seat
•Not going to pull in Sanders’ voters
Tom Vilsack
Secretary of Agriculture
•Was relatively popular governor of swing state (IA)
•Governing experience at state and federal level
•Not going to excite base
•Largely anonymous nationally
Bernie Sanders
Senator, VT
•Would thrill millions of his backers and unify party to some degree after fractious campaign
•Small-dollar fundraising machine
•Clearly could be at odds with Clinton on the campaign trail and in a future administration
•Will pull ticket well to the left
•Not going to excite minority voters
•Six years older than Clinton
Joe Biden
Vice President
•Vast experience
•Knows the job! Plus no moving expenses.
•Age (73 by Election Day ’16)
•Has been critical of Clinton, would he want the job again?

2016 Republican Vice Presidential Watch (in alphabetical order)

Updated May 19, 2016

Candidate Key VP Advantages Key VP Disadvantages
OUTSIDE THE BOX PICK •N/A •N/A
Jan Brewer
Ex-Governor, AZ
•Woman to counteract Clinton
•Strong anti-illegal immigration focus
• Appeal may be too similar to Trump’s
•Inevitable Palin comparisons
Scott Brown
Ex-Senator, MA
•Blue-collar appeal, famous for driving his truck around on campaign trail
•Republican who has won in blue state
•Lost 2014 NH Senate bid
•Style over substance?
•Too moderate? Social views could hurt party unity
Shelley Moore Capito
Senator, WV
•Woman to counteract Clinton
•Well respected and well vetted
•WV is definitely NOT a swing state
•Too moderate? Social views could hurt party unity
Chris Christie
Governor, NJ
•Already on board the Trump Train •Too much of same personality as Trump?
•Bridge scandal hangover?
•Not going to put NJ in play
Bob Corker
Senator, TN
•Brings serious foreign policy cachet to ticket
•Respected member of the Senate, political vet
•Geographical diversity
•Might not be flashy enough for Trump
•TN is not a swing state
Joni Ernst
Senator,
IA
•Woman to counteract Clinton
•Swing-state senator
•Would bring stylistically different but still-strong stump presence to the ticket
•Lack of high-level governing experience
Deb Fischer
Senator, NE
•Woman to counteract Clinton •NE is not a swing state
Mary Fallin
Governor, OK
•Woman to counteract Clinton
•Credibility with conservatives
•Not a flashy pick
•OK is not a swing state
Newt Gingrich
Ex-Speaker of the House
•Strong on the stump

•Serves as retrospective critic of Bill Clinton’s administration
•Has-been?
• History of infidelity might compound Trump’s problems with women
Lindsey Graham
Senator, SC
•Just kidding •Yes, just kidding
John Kasich
Governor, OH
•Popular swing-state governor
•Long governing track record
•Could help further unify party
•Might not have mindset to be a No. 2
•Ran toward center in primary, wouldn’t excite conservatives
Paul LePage
Governor, ME
•Outsider qualities
• Duplicates Trump’s appeal
•Loose cannon on the stump
• Duplicates Trump’s shortcomings
David Perdue
Senator, GA
•Outsider credentials
•Businessman with some governing experience
•First-term senator, probably doesn’t compensate enough for the holes in Trump’s resume
Rob Portman
Senator, OH
•Swing-state senator
•Gravitas would reassure elite conservatives
•Fundraising machine
•Faces tough reelection race he would have to run in concurrently
•Not well-known nationally — or really even in Ohio
Rick Scott
Governor, FL
•Swing-state governor
•Already on board the Trump Train

•Mixed governing record, not very popular at home
•Medicare fraud scandal in his past
Tim Scott
Senator, SC
•African American, can help Trump address his problems among nonwhite voters
•Tons of credibility amongst conservatives
•Seems unlikely to want job
•Does not help in swing states, unlikely to make major difference with black voters
Jeff Sessions
Senator, AL
•Already on board the Trump Train, first senator to endorse him •Doesn’t add anything new or different to the ticket
John Thune
Senator, SD
•Respectable, safe Republican who could add gravitas to Trump ticket •Largely anonymous nationally
Scott Walker
Governor, WI
•Heroic conservative credentials
•Checks boxes for many wings of party
•Underwhelmed in presidential campaign
•Backed Ted Cruz in Wisconsin, would Trump pick him?
Jim Webb
Ex-Senator, VA
•Doubles down on white working class appeal
•Foreign policy experience and knowledge
•Ostensibly still a Democrat, could prompt convention revolt
•Poor on the stump