Here's How Mississippi's Delegates Are Awarded

With some candidates still ringing in their victories or licking their wounds from last week's Super Tuesday and weekend primary results, this Tuesday ushers in a new set of states in the 2016 race to the presidential nomination. Hawaii, Idaho, Michigan, and Mississippi will continue to push voters and candidates closer to their party's convention. The latter state of Mississippi could help give a boost to faltering candidates or further secure what seems to be an inevitable nomination for the GOP frontrunner. A win here could help edge out of nomination for a candidate, but is the Magnolia State's primary a winner-take-all system?

Mississippi is both a winner-take-all and proportionate state. If a candidate wins over 50 percent of the vote, they will be awarded all of the delegates the state has to offer, thus honoring the state's case-by-case winner-take-all system. However, if no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote, the delegates will be awarded proportionately to the percentage of the vote a candidate received. But candidates also have to receive at least 15 percent of the vote to get any delegates at all. For Republicans, the state offers 40 delegates while the Democratic Party has 41.

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This distinction is an important one to make for the Democratic and Republican parties. According to recent polling, candidate Hillary Clinton currently leads Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary by a 44-point average lead, with 62.5 to Sander's 18.5. If the polling is accurate, this huge lead means Clinton would benefit from Mississippi's sometimes-winner-take-all system and would therefore walk home with all 41 of the Democratic candidates. This would further bolster her lead and pathway to her party's convention nomination.

The GOP doesn't have such a clear path for the Magnolia State, however. The latest data puts Ted Cruz just 84 delegates behind GOP frontrunner Donald Trump and even a proportionate win in Mississippi coupled with one other state could help Cruz steal the top stop from the businessman, who has held the position since summer of last year.

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Mississippi's ability to swing either as a winner-take-all or proportionate state carves out two very different paths for the Democratic and Republican parties. Coming out of this week's batch of primaries, voters could possibly even see a new GOP frontrunner, if the delegates swing in Cruz's favor.