Super Tuesday: What's at Stake
This is a huge day for the presidential candidates.
— -- After a month of “early state” contests in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina, “Super Tuesday” -- the biggest day of voting in the 2016 primary -- has arrived. Twelve states total will vote to select a party nominee, plus one U.S. territory for the Democrats. As we’ve seen so far, a race in one state can whittle the field down, so multiple states with hundreds of delegates at stake are potential game-changers. Here’s everything you need to know about what’s at stake, both in general and for the individual candidates.
DEMOCRATS:STATES + TERRITORY VOTING: Alabama, American Samoa, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia
DELEGATES AT STAKE: 1,015
AT STAKE FOR THE CANDIDATES: After a resounding loss in South Carolina that was preceded by a (smaller) loss in Nevada, Bernie Sanders needs to prove that he can win in states with more diverse demographics than Iowa and New Hampshire. Exit polls from South Carolina, where black voters comprise over half of the Democratic electorate, showed him struggling to win this key constituency. He could find that pattern repeating itself in other states with a large population of black voters. A recent NBC/WSJ poll finds Hillary Clinton is trouncing him among likely Democratic voters in Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia and Texas. And while Clinton will likely come out ahead in several states, she still has to prove she is gradually making inroads with white voters (particularly men) and younger voters, who have voted for Sanders by wide margins and whose support could prove crucial to a general election victory.
DELEGATE MATH: A candidate needs to secure 2,383 delegates to clinch the Democratic nomination. After Super Tuesday, a little under 50 percent of that would have been allocated. Clinton is currently leading in both pledged delegates and superdelegates -- unpledged delegates (usually elected officials and party leaders) who can support whomever they want, whenever they want. She is expected to retain that lead after Super Tuesday, but the question will be by how much. Sanders will definitely pick up delegates. While Clinton leads in the South, he is expecting races like Minnesota, Colorado and Massachussetts to be competitive, and the Democratic party's rule that delegates are allocated proportionally once candidates receive over 15 percent of the vote. But if Clinton gets a majority of the pledged delegates and keeps the distance between their counts at a minimum of 100, Sanders may not be able to catch up, especially given her advantage among superdelegates. “That 100 delegate mark -- a lead of that much -- will make it very difficult for Sanders to equalize,” Josh Putnam, a University of Georgia professor who specializes in campaigns and elections, told ABC News.
GOPSTATES VOTING: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Vermont
DELEGATES AT STAKE: 595