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What’s so super about ‘Super Tuesday’?

America loves to use the term “super”. Super Bowl for sports, “super size” for fast food, and Superman or Supergirl for our larger-than-life heroes. Politics is no exception: today is “Super Tuesday”.

Super Tuesday is a major electoral event that was established in 1988 – where a dozen U.S. states and one territory go to the polls for their primaries and caucuses. A total of 1,526 combined delegate votes are at stake for both the Republican and Democratic nominees (see “Peter Peyser’s Primary Primer” for background). So what should we expect after this super election day?

As of today, March 1, the U.S. presidential race to the White House current delegate count is the following, including superdelegates (again “super!”) for the Democratic party:

112454811_democrat_jackass_answer_1_xlargeDemocratic Party

Republican Party

MTE4MDAzNDEwMDU4NTc3NDIyHillary Clinton

543 (453 super delegates)*

donald-trumpDonald Trump


BERNIE-6Bernie Sanders

83 (20 super delegates)*

ted_cruz6Ted Cruz


Rubio10Marco Rubio


Governor_John_KasichJohn Kasich


Outstanding delegates


Outstanding delegates:


*Superdelegates are delegates to the Democratic convention who are free to vote for any Democratic candidate. Often superdelegates are party leaders, current or former elected officials, and other key individuals in the party establishment.

At the polls, 865 delegates are up-for-grabs for Democrats, and 661 delegates for Republicans. None of the primaries or caucuses on Super Tuesday are “winner takes all,” so delegates will be won on a proportional basis. 

States participating in Super Tuesday include:

  • Alaska
  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Georgia
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • Oklahoma
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Vermont
  • Virginia

On the Republican side, Super Tuesday will be sure to narrow the field even further as candidates who do not remain in the top three will have difficulty maintaining any momentum and attracting further donor support to continue their campaigns. After Tuesday, we will likely begin to see consolidation of political support and funds behind a final select group of candidates that will battle it out for the rest of the primary season.

For the Democrats, we will certainly see a clearer trajectory take shape for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. While Clinton has performed well recently in Nevada and South Carolina, it would be unwise to discount Sander’s committed grassroots base and astonishing support of youth voters (in Nevada, Sanders beat Clinton among voters under 30 by 6:1). Both are sure to remain in the race for most of the primary season.

Thus far, only five percent of delegates have been allocated for the Republican candidates and two percent for the Democrats. After today, this percentage will leap to thirty percent and twenty-four percent, respectively. At the July party conventions, the successful nominee will need to win a major of the delegates in the primary and caucus season. 

The next primary is this weekend in Kansas (caucus), Louisiana, and Maine for both parties; Kentucky for the Republicans, and Nebraska for the Democrats. Combined with the results of these primaries, there will certainly be a “snowball” effect for the Super Tuesday winner in each party as we go into March. 

Stay tuned …


Jason C. Jarrell

Managing Partner and Head of Global Practice | Editor for InterelInsight.US

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