Super Tuesday: Where US presidential hopefuls stand, and the road ahead

  • Yashwant Raj, Hindustan Times, Washington
  • Updated: Mar 02, 2016 01:23 IST
Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders interact during a primary debate at the University of New Hampshire. (AP)

Super Tuesday, when 12 US states hold their nominating contests, could help frontrunners Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton take complete control of their respective races.

Or watch rivals upend polls, and open up the fight.

On the Republican side

Donald Trump is leading polls in most of the 11 states holding Republican nominating contests in Super Tuesday, except Texas, where Ted Cruz is ahead and by far, and Minnesota, where Marco Rubio is leading according to the last poll, done in January. If Trump runs the table, he may become unstoppable, according to pollster John Zobgy. Trump has already won three of the party’s four nominating contests — New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada.

Pollsters will also be watching for the impact of Trump’s recent comments — failure to disavow white supremacists and the racist Ku Klux Klan, for instance — on his popularity.

Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz speaks at a campaign event in Jefferson. (REUTERS)

Ted Cruz is expected to win Texas, his home-state. But he has to win big to stay in the race. After winning the Iowa caucuses, the first in the nominating contests, Cruz hasn’t won any other state. He is locked in a close fight for the second slot with Marco Rubio in national polls, 19.8% to 17.4%.

Marco Rubio has not won any contest yet, but remains in contention because of finishing second in South Carolina and Nevada, and as someone, the party establishment hopes, who can take on Trump, and stop him. Rubio is polling second in some of the big states polling Tuesday — Virginia, Georgia, Massachusetts and Oklahoma. But he has to win something to stay in the race. He is trailing Trump, however in his home-state Florida, which holds its primaries on March 15.

Ben Carson has not only won nothing yet, but has performed poorly in the contests held so far, and has been confined towards the bottom of polls for some time now. News reports suggest pressure is mounting on him to leave the race.

John Kasich has not won any contest yet, but remains in the race after finishing second in New Hampshire, and is expected to do well in his home-state Ohio, which primaries on March 15, but he trails Trump there in the RealClearPolitics average of polls.

On the Democratic side

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at a rally to promote early voting ahead of Super Tuesday. (AP)

Hillary Clinton, who has won three of the party’s four nominating contests so far, is expected to do well on Super Tuesday specially in the southern states, which are demographically similar to South Carolina, where she posted a resounding victory last week. She is ahead in polls in Texas, Georgia, Virginia, Arkansas (home-state of the Clintons), Alabama and Tennessee, and mostly by double-digits, and up north in Massachusetts. A strong showing on Super Tuesday, as forecast by polls, could set her on the path to party nomination.

Bernie Sanders is leading in home-state Vermont, Colorado and Minnesota, and could turn Massachusetts and Oklahoma into close contests. “Sanders has the enthusiasm and money,” Zobgy said, adding, “Look for him to go to the very end.” He has won one contest so far, the New Hampshire primary.

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