All in all, I don’t think the choice makes all that much difference to Obama’s chances. The more important thing is that it didn’t hurt, and didn’t create downstream problems in potentially running the government, as the choice of Clinton undoubtedly would have. Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight basically agrees:

What’s noteworthy is not so much that Biden will turn a lot of McCain voters on — Tim Kaine and Hillary Clinton would have done a better job of that — but that he’ll turn very few Obama voters off. As a result, this method projects a net swing of 2 points toward Obama, which is better than he’d do with any of the other candidates.

I’m not convinced there’s any swing at all. 

What the pick does tell us is that Obama feels confident enough about his chances that he didn’t have to risk a Hail Mary, which is what Clinton on the ticket would have represented. The analogy here is to 1980 when Reagan briefly considered putting Gerald Ford on the ticket and then decided, wisely, that an administration is only big enough for one president, and that picking Ford would have communicated weakness.

The question now is what will McCain do. The past five weeks are notable for his having completed the process of bringing the right on board. He has more latitude now and doesn’t have to chose a Huckabee, say, to shore up his credentials. Romney has had an air of inevitability about him but it’s well known that McCain just doesn’t like the guy personally. But a more off-the-wall pick like Lieberman would have a Hail Mary quality all its own.

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