Super Tuesday is the day when the most states hold nominating contests, the most voters have a chance to go to the polls, and the most delegates will be allotted to candidates.

Super Tuesday is the day when the most states hold nominating contests, the most voters have a chance to go to the polls, and the most delegates will be allotted to candidates.

Super Tuesday is the single day when the most states hold contests to pick a presidential nominee, the most voters have a chance to go to the polls, and the most delegates will be allotted to candidates. More than a third of all delegates for the Democratic National Convention are up for grabs on this one day.
What happens on Super Tuesday will shed some light on the big questions around the Democratic presidential primary. Heres what you should know.
[Live news and updates from the South Carolina primary]
When is Super Tuesday?
Its March 3. It will be the first big primary day after the four early nominating states Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina hold their votes.
Poll closing times vary by state: Vermonts close first at 7 p.m. Eastern, and Californias last at 11 p.m. Eastern. We wont know all the results Tuesday, since tabulating votes could go late into the night, especially on the West Coast. Californias results will take days, at least, as mail-in ballots must be postmarked by election day.
Super Tuesday is a popular day to hold a primary because so many states want an early say in who gets the nomination. So theyve clustered as early as they can without stealing any thunder from the first four states, which have deals with the Democratic National Committee to go in the order they do.
[The 2020 Election calendar]
(Republicans also can vote in their presidential primaries in most Super Tuesday states, but since President Trump doesnt face a serious challenger were focusing here on the Democrats.)
Super Tuesday is big, but its relatively early in the primary process; there will be Democratic primaries and caucuses happening all the way until June.
Which states are voting on Super Tuesday and how many delegates are at stake?
SuperTuesday
Before Super Tuesday
155 delegates
1,357delegates
After Super Tuesday
2,467 delegates
N.H.
Vt.
Maine
Minn.
Iowa
Mass.
Nev.
Utah
Colo.
Calif.
Va.
N.C.
Tenn.
Okla.
Ark.
S.C.
Ala.
Texas
Amer. Samoa
Puerto Rico
Dem. Abroad
Guam
N. Marianas
Virgin Islands
Source: The Green Papers
THE WASHINGTON POST
SuperTuesday
Before Super Tuesday
155 delegates
1,357delegates
After Super Tuesday
2,467 delegates
N.H.
Vt.
Maine
Minn.
Mass.
Iowa
Nev.
Utah
Colo.
Va.
Calif.
N.C.
Tenn.
Okla.
Ark.
Amer. Samoa
S.C.
Dem. Abroad
Ala.
N. Marianas
Texas
Puerto Rico
Guam
Virgin Islands
Source: The Green Papers
THE WASHINGTON POST
After Super Tuesday
Before Super Tuesday
SuperTuesday
1,357delegates
155 delegates
2,467 delegates
N.H.
Wash.
Vt.
Maine
N.D.
Mont.
Minn.
Ore.
Wis.
N.Y.
Idaho
S.D.
Wyo.
Mich.
Mass.
Pa.
IA
Neb.
R.I.
Nev.
Ohio
Ind.
Ill.
Utah
Conn.
W.Va.
Colo.
Va.
Kan.
Calif.
N.J.
Mo.
Ky.
Del.
N.C.
Tenn.
Md.
Okla.
Ark.
Ariz.
N.M.
S.C.
D.C.
Ala.
Ga.
Miss.
La.
Texas
Fla.
Alaska
Amer. Samoa
Puerto Rico
Hawaii
Dem. Abroad
Guam
N. Marianas
Virgin Islands
Source: The Green Papers
THE WASHINGTON POST
After Super Tuesday
Before Super Tuesday
SuperTuesday
1,357delegates
155 delegates
2,467 delegates
N.H.
Wash.
Vt.
Maine
N.D.
Mont.
Minn.
Ore.
Wis.
N.Y.
Idaho
S.D.
Wyo.
Mich.
Mass.
Pa.
IA
Neb.
R.I.
Nev.
Ohio
Ind.
Ill.
Utah
Conn.
Calif.
W.Va.
Colo.
Va.
Kan.
N.J.
Mo.
Ky.
Del.
N.C.
Tenn.
Md.
Okla.
Ark.
Ariz.
N.M.
S.C.
D.C.
Ala.
Ga.
Miss.
La.
Texas
Fla.
Alaska
Hawaii
Amer. Samoa
Puerto Rico
Dem. Abroad
Guam
N. Marianas
Virgin Islands
Source: The Green Papers
THE WASHINGTON POST
Before Super Tuesday
SuperTuesday
After Super Tuesday
1,357delegates
2,467 delegates
155 delegates
N.H.
FEB. 11
Wash.
Maine
MARCH 10
Vt.
MARCH 3
Mont.
N.D.
MARCH 3
Minn.
JUNE 2
MARCH 10
Ore.
MARCH 3
Mass.
MARCH 3
Wis.
MAY 19
Idaho
N.Y.
S.D.
APRIL 7
MARCH 10
Mich.
APRIL 28
JUNE 2
Wyo.
R.I.
APRIL 28
MARCH 10
APRIL 4
Iowa
Pa.
Neb.
Nev.
Conn.
APRIL 28
APRIL 28
Ohio
FEB. 3
Ill.
MAY 12
Ind.
Utah
FEB. 22
N.J.
MARCH 17
JUNE 2
MARCH 17
Colo.
W.V.
Calif.
MARCH 3
MAY 5
Va.
Kan.
Del.
Mo.
APRIL 28
MARCH 3
MAY 12
Ky.
MARCH 3
MARCH 3
MAY 2
MARCH 10
Md.
MAY 19
APRIL 28
N.C.
Tenn.
D.C.
MARCH 3
JUNE 2
Okla.
Ariz.
MARCH 3
N.M.
Ark.
S.C.
MARCH 3
MARCH 17
FEB. 29
JUNE 2
MARCH 3
Ala.
Ga.
Miss.
Amer. Samoa
MARCH 3
MARCH 3
MARCH 24
Dem. Abroad
MARCH 3-10
La.
Texas
N. Marianas
MARCH 14
APRIL 4
Alaska
MARCH 3
Fla.
Puerto Rico
MARCH 29
APRIL 4
Hawaii
MARCH 17
Guam
APRIL 4
MAY 2
Virgin Islands
JUNE 6
Source: The Green Papers
THE WASHINGTON POST
Fourteen states and one U.S. territory will hold nominating contests on Super Tuesday, to award a total of 1,357 delegates. To put that in perspective, you need 1,991 delegates to win the nomination.
The states are across the country literally from California to Maine and include heavily Democratic Massachusetts, traditionally Republican Texas and Oklahoma and more in-between states like Colorado, North Carolina and Virginia. Democrats who live in American Samoa will also caucus on Super Tuesday, and Democrats who live abroad will begin casting ballots.
Its the delegate total, not the sheer number of votes, that counts when figuring out who wins a partys presidential nomination. Each state is allotted a certain number of delegates based on a formula of population and weight in the Democratic Party. The state parties then award delegates to the candidates based on the votes they receive. The first candidate to get a majority of the nearly 4,000 delegates wins the nomination.
No one can win the nomination on Super Tuesday alone, but doing well that day can get you a long way. Thirty-four percent of delegates are offered on Tuesday. Thats more than any other single day in the nominating contest.
This year, Super Tuesday is even more consequential because California moved its primary up to March 3. It had been voting in June, at the tail end of the nominating process when theres typically less at stake. The addition of the most populous state adds even more heft to Super Tuesday; 30 percent of the delegates awarded will come from California.
3,979 total delegates
4,000 delegates
3,000
2,000
Super Tuesday
1,357 delegates
1,000
Iowa Caucuses
41 delegates
0
THE WASHINGTON POST
3,979 total delegates
4,000 delegates
3,000
2,000
Super Tuesday
1,357 delegates
1,000
Iowa Caucuses
41 delegates
0
THE WASHINGTON POST
3,979 total delegates
4,000 delegates
3,000
2,000
Super Tuesday
1,357 delegates
1,000
Iowa Caucuses
41 delegates
0
THE WASHINGTON POST
3,979 total delegates
4,000 delegates
3,000
2,000
Super Tuesday
1,357 delegates
1,000
Iowa Caucuses
41 delegates
0
THE WASHINGTON POST
3,979 total delegates
4,000 delegates
3,000
2,000
Super Tuesday
1,357 delegates
1,000
Iowa Caucuses
41 delegates
0
THE WASHINGTON POST
Before Super Tuesday, less than 5 percent of delegates will have been allotted. After: 38 percent.
Why is Super Tuesday important, especially this year?
Heading into Super Tuesday, the race for the Democratic nomination still lacks clarity. After winning convincingly in Nevada, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has taken the lead on delegates and leads in recent national polling. Former South Bend, Ind., mayor Pete Buttigieg won Iowa and finished second in New Hampshire. Former vice president Joe Biden won in South Carolina on Saturday, putting him back in contention.
But there is still a long way to go to decide the nomination. And no nominating contest has presented a potential shake-up like the one this Super Tuesday could provide. With the race still in flux and 14 states voting all at once, Super Tuesday could serve as a gut-check for where the Democratic Party electorate is.
Theres another reason Super Tuesday could have an especially big impact this year: Former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg will first appear on presidential ballots then. He entered the race late, skipped the early states and has spent hundreds of millions of his own money on campaign ads, and his standing in the polls, including among black voters, has risen.
Note: Delegate counts will continue to update as South Carolina results come in.
After failing to win any delegates in South Carolina, investor Tom Steyer dropped out. Other candidates who did poorly among black voters in South Carolina could soon follow, depending on how things go for them Tuesday.
The candidates strategy on Super Tuesday
Super Tuesday states have 10 times the population of
earlier-voting states
Nearly 130 million people live in the 14 states with primaries on Super Tuesday — more than 10 times as many people who live in the four states with earlier caucuses and primaries.
represents 10,000 people.
Each square
White non-Hispanic
Hispanic
Black
Asian
Other
Primaries or caucuses before Super Tuesday
Primaries on Super Tuesday
Minn.
N.C.
Okla.
Vt.
Calif.
15.5 million Hispanic people live in California. The purple area on this map represents their proportion
of the population, not
where they live.
Ala.
Maine
Mass.
Tex.
Utah
Ark.
Colo.
Va.
Tenn.
Super Tuesday states are more diverse than states that follow
Super Tuesday states
Black
White
Hispanic
Other
53%
25%
11%
Asian
Post-Super Tuesday states and Puerto Rico
13%
64%
15%
United States overall
60%
18%
12%
“Other” includes Native Americans, people of multiple races and other races. Puerto Rico is the only U.S. territory included.
Source: American Community Survey
ALYSSA FOWERS/THE WASHINGTON POST
Super Tuesday states have 10 times the
population of earlier-voting states
Nearly 130 million people live in the 14 states with primaries on Super Tuesday — more than 10 times as many people who live in the four states with earlier caucuses and primaries.
represents 10,000 people.
Each square
White non-Hispanic
Hispanic
Black
Asian
Other
Primaries or caucuses before Super Tuesday
Primaries on Super Tuesday
11.4 million Hispanic people live in Virginia. The purple area on this map represents
their proportion of the population, not
where they live.
Va.
Calif.
N.C.
Okla.
Ark.
Ala.
Mass.
Vt.
Colo.
Minn.
Tex.
Maine
Utah
Tenn.
Super Tuesday states are more diverse than states with later nominating contests
Super Tuesday states
Black
Asian
White
Hispanic
25%
53%
11%
7%
Other
Post-Super Tuesday states and Puerto Rico
64%
15%
13%
United States overall
60%
18%
12%
6%
“Other” includes Native Americans, people of multiple races and other races. U.S. territories other than Puerto Rico are not included.
Source: American Community Survey
ALYSSA FOWERS/THE WASHINGTON POST
Super Tuesday states have 10 times the population of
earlier-voting states
Nearly 130 million people live in the 14 states with nominating contests on Super Tuesday — more than 10 times as many people who live in the four states with caucuses and primaries before Super Tuesday.
Each square
represents 10,000 people.
White non-Hispanic
Black
Asian
Hispanic
Other
Primaries or caucuses before Super Tuesday
Primaries on Super Tuesday
Okla.
11.4 million Hispanic people live in Texas. The purple area on this map represents
their proportion of the population, not where they live.
Calif.
Tex.
Ala.
Vt.
Utah
Maine
Mass.
N.C.
Minn.
Colo.
Ark.
Va.
Tenn.
Super Tuesday states are more diverse than states that follow
Super Tuesday states
Black
Asian
Other
4%
White 53%
Hispanic 25%
11%
7%
Post-Super Tuesday states and Puerto Rico
64%
15%
13%
5%
4%
United States overall
60%
18%
6%
4%
12%
“Other” includes Native Americans, people of multiple races and other races. U.S. territories other than Puerto Rico are not included.
ALYSSA FOWERS/THE WASHINGTON POST
Source: American Community Survey
Super Tuesday states have 10 times the population of earlier-voting states
Nearly 130 million people live in the 14 states with nominating contests on Super Tuesday — more than 10 times as many people who live in the four states with caucuses and primaries before Super Tuesday.
Each square
represents 10,000 people.
Black
Asian
Hispanic
Other
White non-Hispanic
Primaries or caucuses before Super Tuesday
Primaries on Super Tuesday
1.2 million Hispanic people live in Colorado. The purple area on this map represents their proportion of the population, not where they live.
Maine
Mass.
Va.
Okla.
Colo.
Utah
N.C.
Tenn.
Calif.
Ark.
Minn.
Tex.
Ala.
Vt.
Super Tuesday states are more diverse than states that follow
Super Tuesday states
Asian
Other
Black
White 53%
Hispanic 25%
11%
7%
4%
Post-Super Tuesday states and Puerto Rico
64%
15%
13%
5%
4%
United States overall
60%
18%
12%
6%
4%
“Other” includes Native Americans, people of multiple races and other races. U.S. territories other than Puerto Rico are not included.
ALYSSA FOWERS/THE WASHINGTON POST
Source: American Community Survey
Super Tuesday states have 10 times the population of earlier-voting states
Nearly 130 million people live in the 14 states with primaries on Super Tuesday — more than 10 times as many people who live in the four states with caucuses and primaries before Super Tuesday.
Primaries or caucuses before Super Tuesday
represents 10,000 people.
Each square
White non-Hispanic
Black
Asian
Hispanic
Other
Primaries on Super Tuesday
Mass.
Minn.
Colo.
Tex.
Calif.
Ark.
Okla.
Ala.
Maine
Va.
Utah
Vt.
15.5 million
Hispanic people
live in California.
The purple area on this map represents their proportion of the population, not where they live.
N.C.
Tenn.
Super Tuesday states are more diverse than states that follow
White
Hispanic
Black
Asian
Other
Super Tuesday states
53%
25%
11%
7%
4%
Post-Super Tuesday states
and Puerto Rico
64%
15%
13%
5%
4%
United States overall
60%
18%
12%
6%
4%
“Other” includes Native Americans, people of multiple races and other races. U.S. territories other than Puerto Rico are not included.
ALYSSA FOWERS/THE WASHINGTON POST
Source: American Community Survey
Their strategies, much like the elections themselves, are all over the map. Sanders is making a big play for California, and it could pay off. Polls there suggest its possible that he will be the only candidate who reaches the 15 percent of support that the Democratic Party requires to win statewide delegates. (Other candidates can win delegates that individual congressional districts hand out.)
If Sanders manages to eliminate most of his competition in California, it would be a huge boost for his campaign. But remember, we wont know the full results in California until well after the primary, so its hard to discern what that big delegate payout will do for the momentum of the race.
The candidates are also focused on Texas and a thriving Democratic Party there. Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Buttigieg and Biden all plan to travel there or have already traveled there recently. Polls show Sanders competitive in Texas with Biden. A CNN poll released Friday found Sanders with a big lead in both California and Texas.
Warren and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) are both hoping to win their home states (not doing so doesnt bode well).
Bloomberg has specifically tailored his message to appeal to black voters in states like North Carolina. A poll in the state released Friday shows him bunched up with Sanders and Biden. In an attempt to show his organizing strength, Bloomberg plans to hold 2,400 events across the country in the coming days, ABC News reported. But some of his supporters fear that if Biden does well in South Carolina with black voters, it could ding Bloombergs chances in Southern states on Super Tuesday.
What to watch for on Super Tuesday
A few things. Like:
1. How does Bloomberg do on the ballot? Its the first time hell be on, due to his novel strategy of skipping the early states. Hes got momentum, from what we can tell from early state polls. But that rise is coming with increased scrutiny of his racially divisive policies as mayor and history of crude comments to women and gender-discrimination lawsuits at the company he runs. His first time on the debate stage recently, he struggled to defend his past.
2. Does Warren survive beyond Super Tuesday? She has finished below the top two in all four early nominating contests. Warrens campaign has looked to Super Tuesday states for wins to bring her back in the game. But what happens if she doesnt win much of significance? Same with Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), who has performed poorly with voters of color since her third-place finish in New Hamsphire, and Buttigieg, who hasnt won a contest since Iowa?
3. Does Super Tuesday blunt Sanderss momentum in any way? Since the Iowa caucuses, Sanders has been leading in national polls. But some polls in Super Tuesday states show hes bunched up with other candidates, like Biden and Warren and Bloomberg. Sanders still has plenty of convincing to do within the Democratic establishment that he can beat Trump, and finishing outside the top three in a significant number of Super Tuesday states could seriously ding his argument that he can win a national election.
A brief history of Super Tuesday
Super Tuesday as we know it was born out of a desire by Democrats in the 1980s to nominate a more moderate candidate, said Richard Berg-Andersson, an elections expert with The Green Papers blog. In 1984, Democrats nominated Walter Mondale, who got crushed in the general election by Ronald Reagan. So for the next election, the Democratic Party in Southern states moved their primaries en masse to March to try to have the more conservative wing of their party chime in sooner in the hopes of boosting a more moderate candidate. (It didnt really work: Democrats nominated then-Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis who was perceived to be more liberal than Southern Democrats wanted, Berg-Andersson said in an email to The Fix.)
Today, Super Tuesday is more geographically diverse and less about specific regions trying to influence the election. Rather, each state wants a say earlier and earlier and earlier in the nominating contest, for fear of being left out of the decision-making. It takes some the fun out of picking if you already know who your nominee will be. Super Tuesday has swollen so much that during the 2008 election for both Democrats and Republicans, about half the states had their contests on one day.
Super Tuesdays can be decisive and signal the end of a primary, like it was for both parties in 2000, said Josh Putnam, a political science professor who runs the elections blog Frontloading HQ. But they can also show whether things are evenly divided or evenly enough to keep primary season going for a longer time, he said in an email.

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