The GOP Super Tuesday Thread

Thought we should have a thread dedicated to the slew of GOP primaries and caucuses happening on March 1, a week from tomorrow.

According to Frontloading HQ, here’s what’s on tap on the GOP side next Tuesday:


North Dakota

Qualifying thresholds for each state, and how delegates are allocated among the finishers in each state, are both a big deal on Super Tuesday. Frontloading HQ has a nice summary page of the rules, but there’s no way a summary can possibly capture all the details. You really need to click on the links for a few of the states to get a full appreciation of the chaos.

IMHO, the big thing is delegate allocation for Congressional districts. Each state gets 3 delegates per Congressional district, in addition to their at-large delegates. Most (but not all) of the March 1 primary states allocate 2 delegates to the winner of each CD and one to the second-place candidate.

In many cases, this is modified by a candidate clearing 50% in the districts getting all 3 delegates, or ditto if the second-place finisher doesn’t clear the state’s threshold.

And that’s the second big thing: qualifying thresholds. Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Texas, and Vermont have 20% thresholds, Arkansas and Oklahoma have 15% thresholds, Alaska’s is 13%, and Minnesota’s is 10%. If a candidate doesn’t clear the threshold, he gets no delegates.

Another thing is that some states turn into winner-take-all if a candidate wins an outright majority of the votes. Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Oklahoma, Texas, and Vermont all have 50% thresholds; other states either don’t have a WTA threshold or have one much higher than 50%.

Obviously, both the thresholds and the Congressional district delegate distribution are going to make things next to impossible for Carson (if he’s still in it) and Kasich to win more than a handful of delegates on Super Tuesday. So we can forget about them for the most part. (Can’t blame Kasich if he skips the whole deal, and moves on to Michigan, Ohio, and Illinois.)

The Congressional district delegate distribution is going to be a big boost to the candidate that gets a plurality, and is really going to hurt a candidate who finishes a clear third in a state - or hurt both the second- and third- place candidates if we have a lot of repeats of SC, where Trump won comfortably but it was close between Cruz and Rubio. If a state has 6 Congressional districts, and Trump wins them all, but Cruz and Rubio each finish second in 3 districts, then Trump gets 12 of the Congressional delegates, and the other two get 3 each.

The thresholds, OTOH, shouldn’t be a problem for Trump, Cruz, and Rubio, though I wouldn’t be surprised if Cruz or Rubio misses a cutoff somewhere: I’d expect it to be an exception that didn’t make much of a difference, delegate-wise.

Anyhow, it’s going to be quite the zoo.

I agree with this. My prediction is that Cruz will come in 1st in Texas and 3rd in all the other states. Trump will win all the other states, with Rubio coming in 2nd. I’ll also predict that Rubio will finish 2nd in Texas and Trump 3rd. I’m also going to predict that even with Trump victories in most of the states, the media is still going to be treating Rubio as having a better path forward, likely emphasizing the winner take all Florida primary on the Ides of March, and how that will be when Rubio turns it around.

NOW it gets interesting.

Six of the nine primary states were part of the Confederacy and five of them are still the “solid South” as far as Republicans are concerned; but Virgina is more of a ‘battleground’ state today and Texan demographics are moving it that way. So winning Texas, Virginia, and in the Caucus, Colorado (states the Republicans have to win to have any prayer of winning) may tell us a bit more on who will be the candidate.

Cruz has got to do well, or risks becoming irrelevant, IMHO. Get at least 2-4 wins or at least outpoll Rubio in the majority of states.

Carson will be out on May 2, if anybody wakes him up sufficienty to realize it.

I hope Kasich does stay in, leaving between Trump, Cruz and Rubio would not be a healthy thing for the Republican Party, again, IMHO.

Fun week for the pundits.

AFAIAC, the interesting question about Texas is whether Cruz could manage to get 50% there, thereby winning all the Texas delegates.

I expect Trump to win most but not all of the Super Tuesday states other than Texas, and will finish second pretty much everywhere he doesn’t finish first.

I strongly suspect that with that many states in play, Rubio could win somewhere. My guess is that if that happens, it would be in one of the non-SEC states. (It would be sweet if he won Massachusetts and Vermont, but nowhere else. The anti-Rubio ads by the other two would just write themselves.)

Speaking of the non-SEC states, I could see Kasich making a play for Minnesota, since it’s not that far from Michigan where he’s going to be campaigning anyway.

One other nontrivial detail: 616 delegates will be selected in the March 1 primaries and caucuses. Since there will be 2472 delegates altogether, that’s ~25% of the delegates chosen just on that one day.

Cruz getting to 50% in Texas would take some doing I think. Hopefully they’ll get some polling done there soon. Texas is the biggest prize with 155 delegates with Georgia being distant second with 76. Cruz&Trump are 1&2 respectively in both but polls in both states is from a month ago. Will be interesting to see how much bump Rubio actually gets from Bush’s dropout.

In spite of the media’s Rubio Fever, I have to wonder where he’s going to win on March 1. Look at South Carolina, where he got the endorsement of a popular governor, where the pro-military attitude of the voters matches his own New American Century jingoism, and he still barely finished in 2nd, 10 points behind a guy who trashed George W. Bush, who is still popular in SC. If he holds all these advantages and still loses badly, where is he going to win? You can pencil him for 3rd in Texas already, he probably finishes behind Kasich in MN, VT, and MA.

Quite honestly I’m seeing a Trump sweep save for Texas, and I’m not even sure he won’t pick them up too. His anti-Mexican schtick may play well in a border state, certainly Rubio’s past moderate immigration stand will bite him in the ass there. The question I have is do Texans really like Cruz that much, or would they vote a wet dog turd for Senate if it was red and shaped like an “R”? Maybe Trump wins every state that day. Maybe Trump wins the nomination easily on the first ballot, only to have the media declare Rubio the real winner and a lock for 2020.

Cruz is a savage campaigner and on his home turf in Texas. If he doesn’t win there I will be blown away.

I don’t know about other states, but the last poll I heard here in Tennessee had Trump winning by a sizable margin (of course) and Cruz very comfortably in second place. It was a poll done by MTSU (Middle Tennessee State University) within the last few weeks but I don’t remember the exact timing - whether it was before or after IA and NH.

With Rubio coming on stronger and Bush dropping out, Cruz may drop to third, but still think it’s likely to finish Trump-Cruz-Rubio.

Democratic voters could fit in a phone booth but will break at least 60-65% to Hillary.

Hmmm, 538 is currently giving Rubio a 40% chance of winning Georgia with Trump looking second. That would give him a nice feather in his cap.

Not even the Pope could stump the Trump, but Rubio is supposed to? I’ll believe it when I see it. Trump hasn’t even really gone after him yet. It’s a target rich environment.

Not sure what Trump will do to Rubio that Cruz isn’t already doing.

This might be the state to watch. It looks like Rubio is ahead after Nate does his thing with the polls, but the polls themselves have Trump ahead. Maybe he is taking into account a bump for Rubio with Bush dropping out?

One big thing in Rubio’s favor is that the establishment lane has started to consolidate. At worst, I think that Bush’s supporters will split evenly between Rubio and Kasich, and if I had to guess, I’d say that Rubio will probably take more of them.

Will it be enough to win more than Trump does? Almost certainly not. But he should be able to win a few, and at least stay within shouting distance.

Looking around, I see Rubio has been racking up some Georgia endorsements including Alec Poitevint who’s apparently a big deal down there. Nate Silver is probably factoring that in.

Eta: this isn’t remotely in the bag for Trump yet. If Bush had stayed in til Florida I might have agreed but now I think we have some watching and waiting to do.

One thing to note: Trump hasn’t starting attacking Rubio yet. Hopefully someone has told him to stop beating the dead Jeb horse. I look for Trump to go after Rubio in the next debate and for Rubio to go into robot mode and shoot himself in the foot. Repeatedly, in the same spot.

What Trump should do is funnel some money in to the Carson campaign. Keep him siphoning off a little of the crazy and/or religious vote. Let Rubio and Cruz go at each other and keep pushing the Cruz is a liar theme.

That would be like doing CPR on a mummy. Carson is toast and has no chance to take votes from anyone. If I’m Trump, I go ahead and stick it to Rubio in the next debate.

Lol, no. The polls from last week have him between 6 and 10% nationally. He got 7% in South Carolina. Thats votes he took away from someone. That could definitely help make a difference in some States.

Yea, he has a pretty steady, small base of evangelicals who will vote for him as long as he’s still in the race. Presumably those would be Cruz voters otherwise, though I’m not sure its that obvious that a large minority of them wouldn’t move to Trump or Rubio instead.