Super Tuesday is finally here. To help make sense of it all, I’ve compiled a guide to today’s Republican races, grouped according to the time (in Eastern time) that primary polls close. States selecting delegates by caucus or convention have to wait their turn.
Why no state-by-state discussion of the Democratic races? Because they’re not different enough to be worth sifting. All of the Democratic races allocate delegates by some variation on a proportional representation system — the closer the results, the more evenly delegates will be split.
Either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton has to win across many states by large margins if the Democratic race is going to be settled any time soon. Which is why many observers believe that it won’t be. The Republicans could be a very different story:
Georgia — John McCain has a slight lead over Mitt Romney in the polls, with Huckabee close behind. Georgia’s 72 delegates will be allocated according to a hybrid system, with 33 delegates going to the statewide winner and 3 delegates to the winner in each of 13 congressional districts. The results in Georgia could give a hint as to what’s going to happen later in the night, especially in other Southern states.
Connecticut, New Jersey — These are winner-take-all states, with 27 and 52 delegates, respectively. McCain is expected to win both of them easily.
Massachusetts — Romney will win here, but unfortunately for him these 43 delegates will be allocated proportionally.
Alabama — This is a proportional-allocation state with 48 delegates; the polls show McCain in the lead with Huckabee in second.
Illinois — McCain has a commanding lead in the polls here, with Romney in second. Illinois’s delegates are selected by an unusual system: Between 2 and 4 delegates are elected in each congressional district (the number depends on relative strength of support for the GOP nominee in the last presidential election), for a total of 57 delegates; the other 13 delegates are selected at a convention in June. Oddly enough, the popular vote that candidates receive is entirely advisory; all of Illinois’s delegates go to the convention technically unpledged.
Oklahoma — Like Georgia, Oklahoma gives a bloc of delegates to the statewide winner and a bloc of delegates to the winner each congressional district. The polls have shown a lot of variation, though most seem to be pointing toward a victory for McCain with Huckabee in second.
Tennessee — McCain is leading in the polls, with Huckabee in second. Thirty-nine of Tennessee’s 55 delegates will be allocated proportionally (the system is actually slightly different from other proportional systems — it becomes winner-take-all if a candidate gets more than two thirds of the vote — but in this election that won’t matter). The others will be selected by the State Executive Committee in March.
Missouri, Delaware — If there’s a surprise this hour, these are the places to look for it. They’re both winner-take-all, with 58 and 18 delegates, respectively. The latter hasn’t been polled very much, though the one recent poll there showed a lead for McCain over Romney. In the former, the polls also show a lead for McCain — this time over Huckabee, with Romney not far behind — but not a huge one.
Arkansas — No polling organization is even bothering to do surveys here, presumably because they assume that the huge leads that Huckabee held in his home state a few months ago will hold. There are 34 delegates from Arkansas. If Huckabee wins a majority of the vote, he will take all but a few delegates; if he doesn’t they’ll be allocated proportionally.
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