Super Tuesday Cheat Sheet

Admit it: You thought Super Tuesday meant a nickel off gas at the local Shell station and you're too hung over from your Super Bowl party to focus on politics anyway.

You're in luck: ABC's political unit is here to help with this Super Tuesday cheat sheet.

First, an important note: In many states, Republicans give delegates to the winner of the statewide popular vote, while Democrats split the delegates proportionally, typically through a combination of congressional district votes and statewide tallies. That's the main reason that while the GOP could easily have a presumptive nominee by Wednesday morning, the Democrats almost certainly won't.

Now, the top five states to watch:

1. California. The nation's most populous state also sends the most delegates to both parties' conventions. California is a nation unto itself, with broad racial and ethnic diversity, and this is the one state that could provide the biggest boost of momentum moving forward.

On the Democratic side, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama has been surging in polls despite the wide lead New York Sen. Hillary Clinton has long held. The Golden State will test the depth of Clinton's support among Latino voters, and both candidates' appeal to independents, who can vote in the Democratic primary but not the Republican one. It could also give an indication of the value of the Kennedy name in backing Obama; California first lady Maria Shriver joined cousin Caroline and uncle Ted in supporting Obama, and plenty of Kennedys have been working the state hard.

Among the Republicans, this is one of the few states that awards delegates based on congressional districts. Knowing that he can't afford a wipeout in the biggest state to vote, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has made California a late priority, and he hopes the Republican-only makeup of the primary electorate will give him a boost over Arizona Sen. John McCain. The latest polls show conflicting results, leaving the state up for grabs.

Democratic primary — open (independents can vote)

Polls open: 10 a.m. ET;

Polls close: 11 p.m. ET

370 delegates at stake, awarded proportionally

Republican primary — closed (independents cannot vote)

Polls open: 10 a.m. ET;

Polls close: 11 p.m. ET;

170 delegates at stake, awarded via congressional district and winner take all

2. Missouri. The classic bellwether state is wide open on both sides, with key elected leaders supporting all four major candidates. Big coastal states are voting Tuesday, but this is the big prize of the Midwest.

For the Democrats, the state is a test of Obama's red-state appeal. Sen. Claire McCaskill has been outspoken in voicing concerns that Clinton would hurt other Democratic candidates this fall, and Obama is hoping his appeal to independents and Republicans gives him an edge over Clinton despite some of her structural advantages, through labor unions and the help of former House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt.

On the Republican side, McCain is banking on a big turnout from independents, and for former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee to siphon votes from Romney among social conservatives. Romney boasts of the endorsements of Gov. Matt Blunt and former Sen. Jim Talent, who is working the state hard for Romney.

Democratic primary — open

Polls open: 7 a.m. ET;

Polls close: 8 p.m. ET;

72 delegates at stake, proportional

Republican primary — open

Polls open: 7 a.m. ET;

Polls close: 8 p.m. ET;

58 delegates at stake, winner take all

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...