Saturday, 3 March 2012

How To.. Make Sense of Super Tuesday

As Super Tuesday looms on March 6th, the race for the Republican presidential nominee heats up as the candidates prepare for this make or break event. I have found that for a non American, big voting days can be a puzzling matter and can quite frequently result in a massive brain ache.

To understand Super Tuesday and to make sense of it's results, it's best to kick things off with the basics. You need to know who's in the race and what they stand for, you never know, it may come in handy for a pub quiz one day. Although I'm going to whip up a quick overview on the candidates, I recommend looking here for details on where the candidates place themselves on the big issues.

Super Tuesday in a  Super Tiny Nutshell
Super Tuesday is a day with 10 states voting their choice for GOP nominee, with a grand total of 437 delegates at risk. Candidates need 1,114 delegates in the 2002 remaining in order to achieve the nomination.  Its a chance for the currently less popular (e.g. Gingrich) to regain momentum or for Santorum to outshine Romney as the front runner. In short, it's the catalyst.

Name Game: A Round-Up of Who's Who
Image courtesy of @mittromney Twitter account

Mitt Romney @mittromney

Ah, the Mitt bubble. Perhaps the most controversial of all candidates, Romney is currently front runner despite Rick Santorum's unprecedented surge in February. Former Governor of Massachusetts,  his moderate stance on issues such as abortion concern those in the GOP, and he has been attacked for being too moderate in his ideology. His Mormon faith has also been a concern for some voters. Unflattering stories of his past have continued to dog Romney in the press. Stay in your bubble, Mitt, the press are after you and they're all wondering, will the real Mitt Romney please stand up? Trivia: Romney's wife Ann reportedly has Welsh heritage. Personally I'd rather enjoy seeing the Romney's vacation in Maesteg, someone YouTube it if it happens, there's a cookie in it for whoever comes up with the goods.

Current delegate count: 150  180 (edited 05/03/2012)

Image courtesy of

Rick Santorum @ricksantorum

Santorum is the pesky thorn in Mitt Romney's side, a former United States Senator who has also dabbled in the media by commentating for Fox News. He most recently lost the Michigan primary to Romney, although very narrowly by finishing three points behind with 37.9%. Santorum considered this victorious due to Michigan being Romney's home state. He seems to connect fairly well with the working class and appeals to the social conservatives, which seemed to work in his favour in the Iowa caucus. His political ties with Pennsylvania should also assist him with his focus on Ohio. He is criticised by many female voters for his severe stance on abortion. Sorry Rick, right now you have no more control over a woman's uterus than any other man.

Current delegate count: 85 90 (edited 05/03/2012)

Image courtesy of 

Newt Gingrich @newtgingrich

Gingrich, a former House speaker, is one of the most recognisable figures in the Republican party and was largely responsible for the takeover of Congress back in 1994 during Bill Clinton's first term. He showed strength in South Carolina but has yet to recapture that popularity in recent weeks. He has also been criticised for his interference in the Clinton presidency and urging impeachment despite his own private transgressions. Gingrich is a critic of Obama's leadership and favours repeal of Obamacare.

Current delegate count: 29

Image courtesy of

Ron Paul @ronpaul

A favourite with celebrities such as Kelly Clarkson, this candidate is still unable to connect with many voters. Paul served twenty years as a United States Representative for Texas and is popular with the Tea Party movement. He is known among the community for sticking to his ideological principles, and is currently concentrating on campaigning for the delegates available in the caucuses. He finished behind both Romney and Santorum in last week's Michigan primary with 11.6% of the votes, although he did not campaign in either Michigan or Arizona, relinquishing them as a battlefield between Romney and Santorum. Despite achieving the lowest number of delegates at present, Ron Paul is currently being endorsed by Chuck Norris, make of that what you will.

Current delegate count: 18 23 (edited 05/03/2012)

More information and candidate profiles available here at the Washington Post

The Ten States
Georgia, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Virginia
Newt Gingrich will be concentrating heavily on the south, especially his native state Georgia which will award 76 delegates. Gingrich will be a serious contender and Georgia is a chance for Gingrich to emulate the success he experienced in South Carolina and boost his odds. He is currently promoting a bus tour for the state with his wife Callista. However, he will not appear on the ballot for Virginia as he failed to meet the criteria needed. Chances are this one will go to Romney.
Other delegates up for grabs:
Oklahoma: 43
Tennessee: 58
Virginia: 49

Vermont and Massachusetts
Romney will have the edge needed here, however it has been pointed out he is not the same candidate Massachusetts citizens originally voted for when he became Governor, which could become a slight problem. However chances are his ties to the state will work in his favour. Massachusetts and Vermont will award 58 delegates.

The second biggest award of the day, 66 delegates will be at stake on Super Tuesday. Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney are both focused on campaigning heavily here, with Romney travelling to Ohio last Wednesday where he campaigned in Columbus and Toledo. For Santorum, Ohio is a pivotal win. For more information and poll results for the Ohio primary, see here.

87 delegates will also be awarded in Idaho, Alaska, and North Dakota, this may be a chance for Santorum to recapture his recent surge as he's previously demonstrated popularity in the caucuses. Ron Paul is also expected to concentrate on these three states in order to revitalise his campaign.

One more thing... 

This was just a quick jump into Super Tuesday, I'd personally recommend  keeping up to date on the developments of the day as websites such as Washington Post, The New York Times, and Huffington Post will be tracking results. The more you read about the campaigns, the more you'll understand how it works.

One question remains about this day, whoever comes out on top on Super Tuesday, are American voters enthusiastic about any one candidate, or are they settling for what the GOP has to offer?

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