Watching primary and caucus results roll in on Tuesday night is going to feel like drinking from a firehose. Nearly a dozen states ranging from Vermont to Alaska (with the greatest concentration in the South) will hold contests for both parties. If you’re not a veteran political journalist or a data geek, it might be tough to digest that cascade of information.
That’s why RealClearPolitics has put together these tips to help you understand the results on Super Tuesday – think of it as the data geek’s guide to watching the returns.
On the Republican Side:
Watch the thresholds. In order to win the GOP nomination, a candidate has to win a majority (1,237) of the delegates to the Republican convention in Cleveland. Each state basically sets its own rules on how primary results translate into delegate counts, and on Tuesday those rules generally point towards two key numbers – 15 percent and 20 percent.
Most Super Tuesday states allocate their delegates proportionally with a threshold of either 15 percent (Arkansas, Oklahoma) or 20 percent (Texas, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Vermont) of the vote. In other words, the state divides up its delegates proportionally between the candidates who surpass the threshold.