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Super Guide to Super Tuesday — Republican Edition

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Alabama primary

50 delegates (21 district, 29 statewide)

Alabama’s history, polling and delegate rules together suggest that it might be Donald Trump’s best state in the Deep South. Alabama lacks a truly major metropolitan area — unlike Georgia, which has Atlanta (where Marco Rubio should do well) — and has in the past elected outsiders to high government positions (see Gov. Robert Bentley, who voted for Rick Santorum in 2012). Alabama’s delegate rules can best be described as “winner-take-most.” Under that system, if a candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote in a congressional district or is the only candidate to receive over 20 percent of the vote, he will receive all three of the delegates available there. Trump will have a difficult time hitting 50 percent, but he will likely win two of the three delegates in districts where he finishes first, as long as he and the second-place finisher each receive at least 20 percent. (The runner-up will get the other district delegate.) If a candidate earns more than 50 percent of the statewide vote, he will receive all 29 of the statewide delegates. However, if no one reaches that mark, all candidates with over 20 percent statewide will get a proportional share of those 29.

Compare the candidates

Money raised Polling average Delegate target
Trump $26,439 39.4% 19
Rubio 306,554 19.6 13
Cruz 373,012 15.1 26
Kasich 28,821 5.5
Carson 526,385 9.9
AL-winprob-pollsplus-2016-02-29t120426-0500

Delegate rules

Winner-take-most

Electorate ideology (2012 exit polls)

  1. Very conservative 36%
  2. Somewhat conservative 30%
  3. Moderate or liberal 33%

Alaska caucuses

28 delegates (statewide)

Trump’s weakest region seems to be the West, and a January poll found him with just 28 percent support in Sarah Palin’s home state. But caucuses are hard to poll, and low-turnout caucuses like Alaska’s, where less than 15,000 people voted four years ago, are especially difficult to poll. At the end of the day, though, Ted Cruz, Rubio and Trump are all likely to take home a fair share of delegates from Alaska. All 28 delegates are awarded proportionally based on the statewide vote, and a candidate needs to receive only 13 percent of the vote to be eligible. If you’re on the East Coast, you’re better off going to sleep rather than waiting for the returns in Alaska, which won’t come in until the early hours of Wednesday.

Compare the candidates

Money raised Delegate target
Trump $11,554 9
Rubio 15,780 12
Cruz 67,153 12
Kasich 3,070
Carson 107,740

Delegate rules

Proportional

Arkansas primary

40 delegates (12 district, 28 statewide)

If you’re looking for a Southern state besides Texas that Trump might lose, watch Arkansas. A recent Hendrix College poll showed Cruz leading, with Rubio and Trump tied for second. Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and two of the state’s four Republican congressmen are backing Rubio (though one major political figure in the state, Sen. Tom Cotton, still hasn’t endorsed anyone). Arkansas’s delegate rules are similar to Alabama’s, except that in the battle over congressional district delegates, the second-place finisher doesn’t have to meet a vote share threshold to win the third delegate and the threshold for winning any statewide delegates is 15 percent. Another difference: If one candidate wins over 50 percent of the statewide vote, he will receive all the statewide delegates, minus one for each of the other candidates who hits the 15 percent threshold.

Compare the candidates

Money raised Delegate target
Trump $6,931 14
Rubio 31,835 12
Cruz 164,467 21
Kasich 12,700
Carson 157,662

Delegate rules

Winner-take-most

Electorate ideology (2008 exit polls)

  1. Very conservative 33%
  2. Somewhat conservative 34%
  3. Moderate 26%
  4. Somewhat liberal 6%
  5. Very liberal 1%

Georgia primary

76 delegates (42 district, 34 statewide)

Georgia might be Rubio’s best state in the Deep South. He has tended to do well in more urban areas, and he could win the congressional districts around Atlanta while placing third in many other districts. As in many other Southern states, the winner of each congressional district will receive two delegates, and the second-place finisher will get one — so long as no one finishes with more than 50 percent. If a candidate wins more than 50 percent of a district, he will receive all three of that district’s delegates. Also, each candidate who hits at least 20 percent statewide will get a proportional share of 31 of the delegates awarded statewide. The statewide winner will get an additional three. However, if a candidate finishes above 50 percent statewide, he will receive all 34 statewide delegates.

Compare the candidates

Money raised Polling average Delegate target
Trump $55,514 36.8% 25
Rubio 556,982 20.6 26
Cruz 616,657 20.4 41
Kasich 49,205 6.2
Carson 767,467 7.9
GA-winprob-pollsplus-2016-02-29t120426-0500

Delegate rules

Winner-take-most

Electorate ideology (2012 exit polls)

  1. Very conservative 39%
  2. Somewhat conservative 32%
  3. Moderate or liberal 29%

Massachusetts primary

42 delegates (statewide)

This could be the first state where Trump gets over 50 percent of the vote. Massachusetts’s Republican electorate looks very similar to New Hampshire’s, where Trump rolled. John Kasich has invested a lot of time in the state and hopes to beat out Rubio for second place. Kasich could do well with the state’s moderate and liberal Republicans, the ones who voted for former Gov. Bill Weld, a Kasich backer, in 1990. If Kasich can’t beat Rubio here, it’ll be difficult for Kasich to beat him anywhere. All 42 of the state’s delegates are awarded proportionally based on the statewide vote, with a 5 percent threshold for receiving any delegates.

Compare the candidates

Money raised Polling average Delegate target
Trump $55,790 44.1% 20
Rubio 634,575 18.2 16
Cruz 229,904 10.5 12
Kasich 173,766 15.8
Carson 241,501 4.1
MA-winprob-pollsplus-2016-02-29t120426-0500

Delegate rules

Proportional

Electorate ideology (2012 exit polls)

  1. Very conservative 15%
  2. Somewhat conservative 35%
  3. Moderate or liberal 49%

Minnesota caucuses

38 delegates (24 district, 14 statewide)

Trump may have a difficult time in Minnesota. Not only is it a caucus state (where campaign organization is key), but Trump has generally polled poorly in the Midwest compared with the rest of the country. Conservative alternatives have done well here in the past — Mitt Romney in 2008 and Santorum in 2012 each won over 40 percent despite not coming close to winning the nomination. A Trump loss here could signal some weakness in the nearby states of Illinois and Wisconsin, which vote later. Even if Trump doesn’t finish first, he should win some delegates. Each of the state’s eight congressional districts will award three delegates to be divided proportionally among candidates who receive at least 10 percent of the vote. The 14 statewide delegates are also awarded proportionally with a 10 percent threshold.

Compare the candidates

Money raised Delegate target
Trump $11,158 12
Rubio 138,231 14
Cruz 250,079 13
Kasich 28,370
Carson 361,452

Delegate rules

Proportional

Oklahoma primary

43 delegates (15 district, 28 statewide)

This should be Oklahoma’s third consecutive competitive three-way Republican primary contest. Why are GOP primaries so competitive here? The electorate is diverse. Cruz should do well with religious voters, Rubio should do well with voters in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, and Trump should do well with the rest. The danger for Cruz is that this is another state where Rubio is rising into second place. But even if that happens, it shouldn’t cost Cruz many delegates because each of the state’s five congressional districts awards one delegate to the top three finishers, so long as all are above 15 percent and none is above 50 percent. (If only two candidates get more than 15 percent, the winner gets two delegates, and if someone tops 50 percent, he will take all three.) Statewide, 28 delegates will be awarded proportionally to all candidates who receive more than 15 percent of the vote, as long as no candidate gets above 50 percent. (In that case, the winner will receive all the statewide delegates.)

Compare the candidates

Money raised Polling average Delegate target
Trump $19,369 33.6% 15
Rubio 105,992 21.6 14
Cruz 396,156 22.2 19
Kasich 13,800 6.8
Carson 428,756 6.3
OK-winprob-pollsplus-2016-02-29t120426-0500

Delegate rules

Proportional

Electorate ideology (2012 exit polls)

  1. Very conservative 47%
  2. Somewhat conservative 29%
  3. Moderate or liberal 25%

Tennessee primary

58 delegates (27 district, 31 statewide)

The polling has been limited in Tennessee, though Trump has led in what little there has been. But if endorsements sway any votes — a big “if” — you should see it in Tennessee, where Rubio has been endorsed by Gov. Bill Haslam. The more conservative option won in both the 2008 and 2012 primaries, which could be good for Cruz, but Rubio could do well with urbanites around Memphis and especially Nashville. Either way, who finishes second will be important. The winner in each congressional district will get two delegates, and the second-place finisher will get one, so long as each receives above 20 percent and below 67 percent. If one candidate finishes above 67 percent or only one finishes above 20 percent, he will receive all of the district’s delegates. Tennessee’s 31 statewide delegates are allocated proportionally among the candidates who earn at least 20 percent statewide, as long as no candidate gets above 67 percent. If one candidate wins more than two-thirds of the vote, he will receive all the statewide delegates.

Compare the candidates

Money raised Polling average Delegate target
Trump $52,728 40.7% 20
Rubio 232,127 18.7 14
Cruz 508,312 21.0 31
Kasich 95,881 6.2
Carson 766,167 8.1

Delegate rules

Winner-take-most

Electorate ideology (2012 exit polls)

  1. Very conservative 41%
  2. Somewhat conservative 32%
  3. Moderate or liberal 27%

Texas primary

155 delegates (108 district, 47 statewide)

A few months ago, the question was whether Cruz would clear 50 percent in Texas and sweep the state’s 47 statewide delegates, along with the vast majority of the delegates awarded on the congressional district level. Now, the question is whether Cruz will even hold on to win his home state. Most polls indicate that he will, though he’ll likely finish with less than half the vote and have to split those 47 delegates proportionally with any other candidates who finish above 20 percent statewide. An additional three delegates will be awarded in each of the state’s 36 congressional districts. If a candidate clears 50 percent in a district, he will get all three delegates. Otherwise, the winner will get two, and the second-place finisher one. Don’t be surprised if Trump wins more delegates than his vote total indicates because he does well with white voters in areas with heavy minority populations. The minority population won’t vote in the Republican primary, but each district gets the same number of delegates no matter the vote total.

Compare the candidates

Money raised Polling average Delegate target
Trump $211,596 27.2% 67
Rubio 2,292,895 17.6 53
Cruz 15,459,970 36.0 104
Kasich 199,603 5.3
Carson 2,861,244 5.8
TX-winprob-pollsplus-2016-02-29t120426-0500

Delegate rules

Winner-take-most

Electorate ideology (2008 exit polls)

  1. Very conservative 32%
  2. Somewhat conservative 40%
  3. Moderate 20%
  4. Somewhat liberal 5%
  5. Very liberal 3%

Vermont primary

16 delegates (statewide)

There are just 16 delegates up for grabs in Vermont, but it’s a notable test case for Kasich. Vermont’s Republican electorate may be more liberal than any other that will vote this year. It should vote fairly similarly to western New Hampshire, where Kasich did quite well. If Kasich can’t beat Rubio in this state, he’ll have a difficult time beating him in any state voting on Super Tuesday. The few polls we have of Vermont show Trump winning the statewide vote. But here’s one thing to watch: Does Trump get a delegate sweep? He could do so by winning at least 50 percent, but that probably won’t happen. However, he has another route: Delegates will be awarded proportionally to those with at least 20 percent of the vote, and polling suggests that Trump might be the only candidate to clear that bar.

Compare the candidates

Money raised Delegate target
Trump $608 7
Rubio 81,017 7
Cruz 29,044 5
Kasich 50
Carson 28,208

Delegate rules

Proportional

Electorate ideology (2012 exit polls)

  1. Very conservative 19%
  2. Somewhat conservative 29%
  3. Moderate or liberal 53%

Virginia primary

49 delegates (statewide)

If Trump does well in Virginia, he’s likely to do well on Super Tuesday overall. That’s because the northern part of the state, around Washington, and the eastern part of the state are both filled with well-educated voters, with whom Trump has not done well so far. Watch the counties bordering West Virginia to see how Trump does among voters in economically depressed areas of Appalachia. All 49 of the state’s delegates are allocated proportional to the statewide vote, without any thresholds.

Compare the candidates

Money raised Polling average Delegate target
Trump $36,446 38.7% 17
Rubio 783,389 25.0 22
Cruz 723,760 16.9 18
Kasich 188,282 6.4
Carson 800,847 5.9
VA-winprob-pollsplus-2016-02-29t120426-0500

Delegate rules

Proportional

Electorate ideology (2012 exit polls)

  1. Very conservative 32%
  2. Somewhat conservative 33%
  3. Moderate or liberal 34%

 

Sources and terms

Delegates at stake

The number of delegates up for grabs in each state and how they’re awarded, according to The Green Papers.

Polling average

Each candidate’s support as of mid-day Monday, according to FiveThirtyEight’s weighted polling average.

Delegate targets

Estimates, based on demographics and delegate rules in each state, of how many delegates Donald Trump, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz would need in each primary and caucus to win a simple majority of the 2,472 convention delegates at the Republican National Convention.

Money raised

The amount a candidate’s campaign has raised in the state in itemized individual contributions, minus refunds, this election cycle through Jan. 31, according to the Federal Election Commission. Individuals’ contributions are itemized once they have given at least $200 to a candidate.

Delegate rules

How the state apportions its delegates, according to The Green Papers.

Electorate ideology

The ideological makeup of the Republican primary electorate, according to state exit polls conducted by Edison Research.

Harry Enten is a senior political writer and analyst for FiveThirtyEight.

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