How Does Florida Allocate Delegates? The Sunshine State Heats Up

Florida's primaries are almost here, taking place on March 15 and it's an important state for presidential candidates this year. Florida could be the state that either breaks Sen. Marco Rubio's campaign or gives him the boost he needs as he trails Republican frontrunner Donald Trump by 297 delegates. It could also be a big state for the Democrats, with the margin getting smaller between Hillary Clinton's and Bernie Sanders' campaigns after his win in Michigan last week. With 99 delegates up for grabs for Republicans and 214 for Democrats, how does Florida allocate delegates? It truly depends based on party affiliation.

On the Republican side, Florida's primary is winner-take-all, meaning that whoever wins the state also takes its 99 delegates. Overall, there are 367 total delegates at stake for the Republican candidates on Tuesday. Florida could be the win Rubio needs. It's certainly the one he has been aiming for, as it is his home state. Even so, Trump still leads Rubio in Florida, with 46 percent of the vote compared to Rubio's 22 percent, according to the latest Quinnipiac University poll, which was published on Monday morning. Rubio has taken advantage of Trump's controversial weekend — during which violence has erupted at a number of his rallies — to make a statement on what it means to hold a leadership role. He tweeted the following on Monday morning:

On the Democratic side of the race, Florida's primary allocates delegates proportionally. Clinton currently leads the race with 1,234 delegates to Sanders' 579, although that includes the large number of superdelegates which Clinton holds, and they can still change their votes before or during the Democratic National Convention in July. According to the same Quinnipiac University poll, Clinton is leading Sanders in Florida, with 60 percent of support to his 34 percent. This doesn't necessarily mean it's the end for Sanders, who has a chance to win in Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois.

Clinton leads Sanders in Ohio and Illinois, but the demographic makeup in the swing state of Ohio is similar to that of Michigan, where the Vermont senator just won last Tuesday. Clinton's lead in Illinois is narrow. She is ahead of Sanders 51 percent to 45 percent there. Likewise, Sanders holds a narrow lead over Clinton in Missouri, with 47 percent to Clinton's 46 percent. Overall, there are a total of 792 delegates at stake for the Democratic candidates on March 15, so it is looking to be a big day for both candidates.