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Experts: Harris ‘the Safest Choice’ as Biden’s VP Pick

Authorities on Politics and Public Opinion Available for Interviews

Pile of 2020 Presidential Election buttons Photo by Carsten Reisinger
UMass Lowell's Joshua Dyck and John Cluverius conduct polling and research in the university's Center for Public Opinion.


Contacts for media: Nancy Cicco, 978-934-4944 or and Christine Gillette, 978-758-4664 or

Joe Biden’s selection of U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris of California as his running mate in the 2020 presidential race is a “safe” choice that reflects the aspirations of Democrats, according to UMass Lowell political scientists available for interviews.

“The VP pick in many cases is about avoiding making the wrong choice. Harris personifies the story that mainstream Democrats want to tell about the future of leadership in the country: female, multiracial, the child of immigrants and progressive,” said John Cluverius, associate director of UMass Lowell’s Center for Public Opinion

Biden, the former vice president and presumptive Democratic nominee in the race against Republican President Donald Trump, announced Harris as his choice yesterday after weeks of speculation and pledging to select a woman as his running mate. They are scheduled to make their first campaign appearance together today in Wilmington, Del. Their nomination is expected to become official during next week’s Democratic National Convention.

Harris, 55, who was a 2020 presidential candidate until she suspended her campaign in December, is the first Black and South Asian American woman to be selected for a presidential ticket of a major political party. She is the third woman in that role after Geraldine Ferraro became the Democratic vice presidential pick in 1984 and Sarah Palin the Republican vice presidential choice in 2008. 

Harris began her career as a district attorney and the skills she developed in that job will serve her well as she stumps for Biden, according to Joshua Dyck, director of UMass Lowell’s Center for Public Opinion. 

“Harris will campaign as Biden’s prosecutor of Trump’s failings. It’s a role she’s good at and frankly, a role she’s better at than Biden,” he said.

Cluverius and Dyck are available to discuss:
  • What’s next for Harris as she steps into her new role;
  • Whether she can help Biden win over independents and  conservatives;
  • How the Trump campaign and Republicans may use Harris’ selection to shore up their base.

Cluverius and Dyck are faculty members in UMass Lowell’s Political Science Department. An expert on public opinion research and polling, Dyck is an authority on campaigns, voter behavior and government. Cluverius is an expert in research methods and state and local politics. 

To arrange an interview with either of them via phone, email or Zoom (or another platform), contact Nancy Cicco at, 978-934-4944, or Christine Gillette at, 978-758-4664.