The “Veepstakes” are nearing a close, with Donald Trump expected to announce his vice presidential selection by the end of the week and Hillary Clinton expected to announce her selection sometime next week. In an online survey conducted by Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) that used ranked choice voting, Newt Gingrich emerged victorious, winning 40% of votes in the first round and 64% in the final round.
The survey included 10 candidates, and more than 2,000 votes were cast. While the poll is not a scientific one, it demonstrates the value of ranked choice voting and its wide applicability. Without ranked choice voting, there would be no way to confirm that Gingrich did indeed have majority support among respondents, since he only won 40% in the first round.
Media reports have widely cited Governor of Indiana Mike Pence, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, and Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie as among the frontrunners with Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama often mentioned as a wildcard. Pence has not emerged as a contender until more recently, so he was not included in the poll, which was conducted June 7-17. While there is no perfect way to adapt the poll in light of this, Pence can be considered a substitute for Ben Carson (who was included but is no longer under consideration by Trump), since they might draw upon similar constituencies. With this substitution, the top finishers ranked from most support to least support were Gingrich, Pence, John Kasich (Governor of Ohio), and Sessions with Christie finishing in eighth. Based on respondents’ preferences, Gingrich would win in one-on-one matchups 64%-36% vs. Pence, 83%-17% vs. Christie, and 77%-23% vs. Sessions.