The Results of Super Tuesday and Why It Matters
What You Need To Know About Super Tuesday
Thirteen states vote on Super Tuesday in the presidential primaries or caucuses — the most in 2016.
What is Super Tuesday?
Super Tuesday is a Tuesday in the presidential primary election season in which the largest number of states hold their primaries or caucuses.
This year’s Super Tuesday takes place on Tuesday, March 1.
The Super Tuesday election day typically features at least a dozen contests, which makes it likely that a candidate who performs well on Super Tuesday will go on to secure the nomination.
The Super Tuesday moniker dates to the 1980 election, when Alabama, Florida and Georgia held primaries on the same day.
According to a report by National Public Radio, the current, high-stakes Super Tuesday contest came about in 1988, when a dozen Southern states decided to hold Democratic primaries on the same day with the goal of nominating a more moderate Democratic presidential candidate. The effort failed, when then-Sen. Al Gore (D-Tenn.) and Jesse Jackson split the Southern states, setting the stage for then-Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis (D), a Northern liberal, to become the party’s nominee.
What are this year’s Super Tuesday states?
Thirteen U.S. states and one American territory will hold primaries or caucuses on Tuesday.
In the vast majority of the Super Tuesday states, both Republican and Democratic elections will be taking place. Those elections are:
- Colorado caucus
- Minnesota caucus
The contests taking place exclusively on the Democratic side are the American Samoa caucus and the primary for Democrats living abroad. In Alaska and Wyoming, which are hosting caucuses, only Republicans will vote.
What is the difference between a primary and a caucus?
A primary election is a simple secret-ballot vote administered by a state or local government. A caucus, by contrast, is run by the state-level political party and involves some element of party activists convincing one another to join their preferred candidate.
There are typically complicated historical and political reasons that some states hold a caucus rather than a primary.