Hillary Clinton, Marco Rubio, Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump Photo: Getty/ Reuters
Before Superman vs. Batman later this month, “Super Tuesday” -- the biggest day of voting in the 2016 primary -- starts today. Eleven states 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 break the field down. With hundreds of delegates at stake are potential game-changers. Here’s what you need to know about what’s on the line, for the individual candidates.
DEMOCRATS: STATES VOTING
Alabama, American Samoa, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia DELEGATES TOTAL: 1,015
After a devastating loss in South Carolina, 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.
WHAT’S ON THE LINE FOR THE REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES
A recent NBC/WSJ poll shows Donald Trump leading the pack in Tennessee and Georgia. A Roanake College poll also has him ahead in Virginia. Although there are still five candidates left in the GOP race, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, have repeatedly found themselves in second and third place behind Trump.
Rubio needs to prove he can beat Trump in a contest of not just words. He can still mathematically win the nomination. Ted Cruz has two objectives: to hold off a Trump victory in his delegate-rich state of Texas, and that he can retain support among evangelicals across the Southern states.
THE FINAL COUNTDOWN
Donald Trump has a massive advantage over the GOP field in delegates, leading Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio by 65 and 64. A presumptive nominee needs 1,237 to secure the nomination. Putnam estimates that if Rubio and Cruz want to remain competitive, they will need to keep Trump’s total lead to a maximum of 250 delegates.