What is Super Tuesday? Why one day of the US election matters so much – and what is different this year

By John Mercury March 5, 2024

Super Tuesday is the biggest day of voting in the US outside of the November election. 

But what is it, what makes it super – and what will be different about this year?

What is Super Tuesday?

Super Tuesday is the day when the most US states choose who they think should be their candidates for president.

In fifteen states plus the US territory of American Samoa, Democrats and Republicans will say who they want to see on the ballot come November.

Super Tuesday – an unofficial name that has been used since at least 1976 – is also when the highest number of delegates will be awarded to candidates.

Although voters cast ballots for their preferred presidential candidates, it is the delegates to the national party conventions who ultimately select the presidential nominees for each major party.

That means candidates need to secure delegates, largely by winning in the primaries, to guarantee their path to the election.

More than a third of the total delegates available will be allotted on Super Tuesday.

In the Republican contest, 874 of 2,429 delegates will be up for grabs, while the Democrats will award 1,420 delegates.

Read more from Sky News:
Nikki Haley becomes first woman in history to win Republican primary
Trump’s dominance grows after he wins three more state caucuses

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

What is Super Tuesday? Sky News explains

What is different about this Super Tuesday?

Super Tuesday is normally the moment “when candidates are whittled down from a pack to just a few”, US correspondent Mark Stone explains.

“This year, it’s not so super.”

That’s because the race is already dominated by clear front-runners in each party.

President Joe Biden is the presumptive Democratic candidate, and it is highly unlikely that will change.

Donald Trump has emerged as the firm favourite for the Republican Party.

But there are still a few “key moments to watch”, Stone says.

“Nikki Haley is Trump’s competition, she’s well behind in most polls and even lost her home state – but she is fighting on.

“If she pulls out, then this Super Tuesday will mark the unofficial crowning moment for Trump as the Republican candidate.

“Tuesday will be the moment to judge just how strong Donald Trump is and how electable he is in November.”

When will we know the results?

With so many states and a territory voting across different time zones, it could take a while for the full results to be clear.

Most polls close in the early evening, and results will start trickling in after that.

In California, postal ballots are valid as long as they are postmarked on or prior to primary election day and arrive by 12 March.

In addition, some states hold “open primaries” that allow registered voters to choose whether to cast their ballots in the Democratic or Republican primary, adding a possible layer of unpredictability.

Which states are voting?

Votes will be held in Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia and the US territory of American Samoa.

Republicans will vote in all the states, but not American Samoa, which is holding its Republican caucus on 8 March.

Democrats will vote in all those places bar Alaska, where they will wait until 6 April to cast their ballot.


Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *