If McCain or Obama dies before the election would their VP nominee automatically take their place?
No, not necessarily, according to this article in the Washington Post. It’s interesting food for thought.
If a presidential or vice-presidential candidate is incapacitated between a party’s nominating convention and the meeting of the Electoral College, the party’s central committee would gather to pick a substitute candidate.
While a party would presumably feel great pressure to appoint its vice presidential candidate as its presidential candidate, it could probably choose someone else.
“Morbid Political Curiosity” -The Washington Post
“Aim for the Election”