Can Super Tuesday Predict The Nominee?

by April Siese

Super Tuesday is set to take place on (surprise!) Tuesday, March 1. The major election season event features 11 states participating this year in a series of primaries and caucuses to better determine who will emerge as the presidential nominees for both the Democrats and the Republicans. On the right, the fate of the GOP appears firmly sealed: Donald Trump has been nothing short of dominating. Save for the Iowa caucus, which Ted Cruz won, Trump has been victorious in every single Republican primary and caucus thus far. Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton has been similarly successful, though her wins against Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders have so far been by slim margins. Anything can happen leading up to the parties' national conventions, however. Can Super Tuesday predict the presidential nominee before the major party events?

Based off the past two Super Tuesday events, it appears as if everything could be firmly decided once polls and caucus sites close and votes have been tallied. During the 2012 presidential election, all eyes were on Republican candidates as they searched for a nominee to face incumbent President Barack Obama. Super Tuesday 2012 was a particularly contentious affair, as candidates Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum won substantial states throughout the evening. Romney would ultimately maintain his frontrunner status, though not by much. Nonetheless, the momentum was enough to net him the Republican nomination.


Super Tuesday 2008 especially stands out as being a major event for both parties, due to the sheer amount of states participating, as well as dizzying voter turnout. Nearly two dozen states participated in a heated contest between Democratic candidates Obama and Hillary Clinton, as well as Republican candidates John McCain, Mike Huckabee, and Romney. Both races were close. Obama won 13 states, while Clinton won nine. McCain edged out Romney with nine states to his seven, while Huckabee won five states. McCain's earlier victories were enough to net him nearly double the amount of delegates total by the end of Super Tuesday. The primaries and caucuses helped define McCain's eventual ascent to Republican presidential nominee.

Things appeared far less decided on the Democratic side. In terms of total votes cast, Obama bested Clinton by just 1.4 percent. It took until June for her to concede and endorse the man who would go on to become the 44th president of the United States. Super Tuesday both helped perpetuate Obama's momentum while also keeping Clinton in the race. History may very well repeat itself come March 1 for Clinton and Sanders, given just how close the past few primaries and caucuses have been between the two. Still, looking back over the past two Super Tuesdays, it appears as if the day is decisive when it comes to predicting presidential nominees.