Special Report

Understanding Super Tuesday In 23 Charts

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1. The Year in Republican Polls

One of the most notable characteristics of the 2016 election is the surprising success of real estate mogul Donald J. Trump. With relatively little party backing, Trump has managed to consistently climb the polls and do well in the Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina contests.

Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida — the most well-funded GOP candidate — suspended his campaign after failing to gain traction in the early contests.

Sen. Marco Rubio has maintained a third place position since November, and Gov. John Kasich of Ohio has managed to poll just well enough to keep his podium at the Republican debates. Since October, support for Sen. Ted Cruz, while trailing Trump’s lead, rose the most dramatically of any Republican candidate. After peaking in the polls last October, Dr. Ben Carson has joined Kasich in the lower end of the polling spectrum.

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2. The Year in Democratic Polls

Former Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton came into the race as the presumed nominee. Despite this, Sen. Bernie Sanders outpaced expectations and had been quickly rising in popularity. Sanders has lacked the party support Clinton has enjoyed. Over the course of the campaign, Sanders had enjoyed the support of younger voters, who have been major drivers behind his rise in the polls. As recently as May, Clinton was leading Sanders by more than 50 points. Recent polls show Sanders has pulled to within 10 points of Clinton.

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3. Delegates Won as of Super Tuesday

Currently, Trump leads the Republican party with 82 delegates. On the Democratic side, Clinton leads the contest with 91 delegates. With 641 Republican and 1,034 Democratic delegates at stake on Tuesday, any candidate has the chance to become the party frontrunner.

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4. States Voting on Super Tuesday

Twelve states will hold Democratic and Republican primaries or caucuses on Tuesday, March 1. Alaska will hold only a Republican caucus, and Colorado will only hold a Democratic caucus. While Democrats in Alaska and Republicans in Colorado will also vote on Tuesday, the delegates for these parties are not required to commit their vote to a candidate. Similarly, North Dakota and Wyoming, which will also participate in Super Tuesday, do not have committed delegates.

While the Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina nomination contests each had a defining demographic that played a decisive role in the outcome of the election, the Super Tuesday voting states are about as diverse as the nation overall.

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5. Super Tuesday Wins Led to 9 of the Last 10 Nominations

Since 1988, no candidate has won his party’s nomination without winning Super Tuesday. The last candidate to represent his party in the general election without a Super Tuesday victory was Democrat Walter Mondale in 1984. Losing Super Tuesday, however, foretold of Mondale’s looming defeat in the general election, as he lost every state but Minnesota to Republican incumbent, President Ronald Reagan.