Bernie Sanders has the opportunity to cement his frontrunner status against a resurgent Joe Biden on a crucial day when over one third of all delegates are up for grabs as voters go to the polls in 14 states and American Samoa.
Here’s what to look out for in each race:
Polls close 8pm Eastern. 52 delegates at stake.
The Deep South is likely to be at the core of support for Joe Biden, however with all states awarding delegates proportionally there is still an incentive for Sanders to perform here just as there is everywhere else. Biden is likely to perform best in the so called Black Belt (actually named for the colour of its soil) in south central Alabama, but Sanders will hope to do well in urban areas such as those around the state capital Birmingham, such as Shelby County where he netted 35 percent of the vote last time around. Joe Biden is the clear favourite in Alabama, but every vote will matter in determining how many delegates Bernie Sanders takes from the state.
Caucus commences 3pm Eastern. 6 delegates at stake.
With just 6 pledged delegates at stake, the American Samoa caucuses will likely garner little attention. Hillary Clinton won 4 of 6 pledged delegates here last time with Sanders collecting the other 2. It’s difficult to make a call on American Samoa given the lack of polling.
Polls close 8:30pm Eastern. 31 delegates at stake.
Arkansas is likely to be another good state for Joe Biden, and was another state where Hillary Clinton won big in 2016, getting 27 of the 37 available pledged delegates. Sanders performed best in the north of the state on and near the Missouri border, winning two small counties (Carroll and Newton), and will need his vote to hold up there. There isn’t much polling, but Joe Biden is likely to win big in Arkansas, but again Sanders will be looking to maximise his delegate haul.
Polls close 11pm Eastern. 415 delegates at stake.
All eyes will be on California, where Sanders is expected to have one of his best, and most important showings on Super Tuesday. The largest state in the union is worth over 10 percent of all pledged delegates, and Sanders will be hoping to pick up more than half of them with a good showing statewide and a particularly strong performance in liberal areas of the state where he came out just behind Clinton in 2016, and in the state’s north where he performed better. His support amongst Hispanic voters will also be crucial, and he’ll be hoping to boost his vote in heavily Hispanic areas in the state’s south. Polling has consistently shown Sanders with a 5 to 10 point lead, and he’ll want to run up the score here with a view to building a buffer, especially with Biden to benefit elsewhere from fellow establishment candidates dropping out to back him. A big question will be whether Elizabeth Warren reaches viability statewide or merely in some congressional districts. Her failing to get 15 percent statewide will likely be a big numerical boost for Sanders, while how things pan out for Mike Bloomberg will also have an impact; ideally he’ll take votes off the Biden pile whilst himself not making 15 percent statewide or in many if any congressional districts.
Polls close 9pm Eastern. 67 delegates at stake.
Colorado is poised to be another particularly good state for Sanders, and is one he won handily in 2016 with 59 percent of the vote in what was then a caucus but will this year be a primary. Based on polling, Sanders has a healthy lead, and is set to poll in at least the low 30s, although the impact of establishment candidates dropping out to aid Biden remains to be seen in polling. Biden will likely now attain viability here, and again it will be a matter of what occurs with Warren and Bloomberg; Sanders could win a majority of the state’s 67 pledged delegates in a best case scenario. He did best in Denver where go around double Clinton’s vote, so keep an eye on numbers coming out of there. Colorado is also demographically favourable to Sanders, being around 70 percent white and 20 percent Latino. He should pick up a good win here, but again the margin is hard to predict.
Polls close 8pm Eastern. 24 delegates at stake.
Maine is looking like a big win for Sanders, with a poll released just hours ago showing Sanders with a near 20 point lead at 43 percent. Maine is another caucus state which has switched to a primary, and Sanders won by nearly 30 percent here in 2016, winning every county. Sanders could pick up the majority of delegates here if he has a good day.
Polls close 8pm Eastern. 91 delegates at stake.
The most interesting thing out of Massachusetts will be if Elizabeth Warren can win her home state, which will be crucial to her hopes of remaining a viable candidate (though her logic for claiming to be one seems sketchy at best). Polls show her and Sanders pretty close together, though the latest released last night also showed the two in a near dead heat with Joe Biden. Sanders lost narrowly last time, performing best in smaller rural counties along with Worcester and other counties in the states north east. A win here would be a big boost for Sanders, however at this stage the state is a tossup and could go to him, Warren or Biden, with delegates likely to be split fairly evenly.
Polls close 9pm Eastern. 75 delegates at stake.
One small upside to the consolidation of establishment candidates is that Sanders is now the favourite in Minnesota with Amy Klobuchar out of the race. Sanders won the majority of counties and over 60 percent of the vote there last Super Tuesday and will be hoping for another strong performance. Minnesota is another former caucus state which has switched to primaries this time around, which could benefit Sanders if Bloomberg stays below 15 percent so long as Elizabeth Warren does not poll too well. Sanders did well statewide, but did particularly well in parts of the state capital Minneapolis such as Hennepin County, so look out for numbers out of there. Whilst things are fluid in Minnesota, Sanders should chalk up a win there.
Polls close 7:30pm Eastern. 110 delegates at stake.
This looks to be a good state for Joe Biden, especially on recent numbers. In 2016, whilst Clinton won by around 15 percent, Sanders did perform well in the western, Appalachian part of the state centred on Asheville (Buncombe County) and surrounding counties, and in places like Orange County, home of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, with double digit wins in those areas. Again, this will be a state where it will be interesting to see if Elizabeth Warren and or Mike Bloomberg manage to attain some level of viability, which could have a fairly significant impact on the final delegate share. Irrespective, it looks like Joe Biden should win by a comfortable margin.
Polls close 8pm Eastern. 37 delegates at stake.
This is a state Sanders won in 2016, but it looks favourable to Joe Biden this time around, with him polling at 35 percent at latest, to Sanders 28 percent. Mike Bloomberg should also attain viability, and Elizabeth Warren may scrape over the line, at least in some congressional districts in the state of her birth. Biden will likely win with some degree of comfort, though the delegate edge he’ll get out of it will be minimal in such a small state in the context of the race.
Polls close 8pm Eastern. 64 delegates at stake.
Another state in the South where Joe Biden should do well, but based on polls it looks slightly better for Sanders than some others, with him trailing by high single figures. Sanders only won a handful of small counties in the far east of the state last time, whilst getting drubbed in Shelby County (Memphis) and to a lesser extent in Davison County (Nashville); he performed much better in the 3rd biggest city of Knoxville, in line with his generally stronger showing in Eastern Tennessee, which he’ll be looking to replicate today. Mike Bloomberg should also attain viability, with Elizabeth Warren potentially also doing so in a state Joe Biden should again chalk up a win in.
Polls close 8pm Eastern (except for 9pm in the far west). 228 delegates at stake.
This should be the tightest contest of the day, and as the second biggest state perhaps the most significant with Sanders well set to win in California and Biden well set in the 3rd and 4th biggest (North Carolina and Virginia). A win here for Sanders would have immense symbolic importance going forward in the contest, though regardless on current polling delegates will be split fairly evenly. It’s difficult to make too many conclusions from the 2016 map given Sanders surging Hispanic support this time around, but counties in the state’s south and liberal cities such as Austin should be key for Sanders, whilst he’ll look to up his support in major centres such as Dallas and Houston (Harris County). The state is at this stage very much a tossup, but a huge final day effort from Sanders’ campaign and volunteers could just get him over the line, with every voter contact prior to polls closing being crucial.
Polls close 10pm Eastern. 29 delegates at stake.
Another small state in the West, Utah was a good one for Sanders in 2016, with him coming up with a massive win of nearly 60 percent. It is again looking that way, though some polls today show it could also be a surprise win for Mike Bloomberg. This is another state that has gone from caucusing to primaries in 2020. This should be a win for Sanders, though with the fluidity in the race at present could go a number of ways.
Polls close 7pm Eastern. 16 delegates at stake.
Nobody knows and loves Bernie Sanders as much as the people of Vermont, and after a massive win there in 2016, he should again get a huge win this time around; the only question will be which other candidates if any make viability.
Polls close 7pm Eastern. 99 delegates at stake.
This is a state where Joe Biden looks set to benefit particularly from the establishment consolidating to stop Sanders, with the latest polls showing him well up. However the state is very diverse and there are areas where Biden, Sanders and Warren could all do well, with it remaining to be seen how Mike Bloomberg will perform. Biden is likely to do well in places such as Richmond and in the south of the state, whilst Sanders should again perform well in the parts of the state around the Appalachians. It will be interesting to see where the wealthy DC suburbs go, but these potentially could be a good area for Elizabeth Warren. Joe Biden is likely to pick up a comfortable win, but it is likely all 4 remaining contenders will get a reasonable share of the delegates.