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A voter in san Francisco signing in at the polls top top Feb. 5, 2008 – a work that became known as “Super Duper Tuesday” for the number of Democratic primaries and also caucuses held and also delegates awarded. (David Paul Morris/Getty Images)

March 3 is “Super Tuesday” top top this year’s democratic presidential nominating calendar – the biggest single day in both number of elections and the total number of delegates at stake. Every told, 1,357 delegates, or around 34% of every pledged delegates come this summer’s democratic National Convention, will be liked in 14 state primaries and also one ar caucus (American Samoa). And a weeklong “global primary” because that overseas democratic voters likewise starts march 3, v 13 delegates at stake.

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While plainly significant, this year’s at sight Tuesday is by no way the “super-est” – or the faster – one the democratic Party has ever had. By both contests held and delegates awarded, the party’s best Super Tuesday to be Feb. 5, 2008 – 1,688 delegates, an ext than 47% of the pledged total, were liked in 24 primaries and also caucuses, a to draw so outstanding that it was dubbed “Super-Duper Tuesday” and also “Tsunami Tuesday.” (This article focuses ~ above the Democrats since Republicans aren’t having a vain nomination dispute this year.)
The data provided in this write-up was compiled from numerous sources. Because that the 2004, 2008, 2016 and 2020 primary seasons, we obtained primary and caucus dates from the commonwealth Election Commission and cross-checked them with other sources, largely the college of Virginia’s facility for Politics and also The eco-friendly Papers, an election data blog. For the 1988, 1992 and 2000 major seasons, we derived primary and caucus dates from the latter two sources. As soon as state delegate-selection processes associated several stages, we provided the date of the democratic Party’s designated “first identify step” in our analysis. For occasions that it is long over several days, we supplied the very first date in ours analysis.

For the number of delegates in ~ stake in each primary or caucus, The Green files was the resource for the 2000-2020 primary seasons. The 1988 and also 1992 seasons were compiled indigenous a variety of sources, consisting of a conference Research service report; “National Party Conventions 1831-2004,” a book published in 2005 through CQ Press; and contemporaneous coverage that the nomination contests from The brand-new York Times’ virtual archive. In some instances those sources offered differing delegate counts, primarily since they either used outdated figures or linked pledged delegates (those liked by voters) with unpledged, automatic “superdelegates.” when we can not reconcile the varying figures, we went with the pledged-delegate figures published in the Times.


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Due in big part to Super-Duper Tuesday’s substantial delegate bonanza, 2008 was also perhaps the most front-loaded democratic nomination schedule due to the fact that the modern, primary-dominated nomination era started in 1972. In 2008, 70% of delegates had been favored by Valentine’s Day, and also 83% by the first week the March. Nonetheless, the race between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton stayed so close the it continued all the means to the finish of major season in beforehand June.

Since then, the front-loading of the nominating calendar has actually abated somewhat. After Super Tuesday in 2016, only about a quarter of pledged delegates had actually been selected, and the two-thirds threshold was not crossed until late April. Even after this year’s supervisor Tuesday contests, 62% of pledged delegates will continue to be to be chosen; that two-thirds allude won’t be got to until early on April.

The phrase “Super Tuesday” dates earlier to at least the 1976 primary season. The year, it described the last set of significant primaries in June, once three big states – California, brand-new Jersey and Ohio – all voted and neither the democratic nor Republican nomination had been sewn up. In 1984, there were 3 “Super Tuesdays,” each v sizable but not overwhelming delegate hauls in ~ stake.

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The an initial Super Tuesday in the existing sense, though, come in 1988. After Walter Mondale’s landslide lose to president Ronald Reagan in 1984, autonomous leaders in several Southern states reasoned that if their states organized their nominating contests ~ above the exact same day, reasonably early in the cycle, castle could rise the opportunities that someone from the region – or at least someone perceived as gift moderate enough to carry out well over there in November – would obtain the nomination. The year, 13 Southern claims signed on come the plan, together did seven various other states (and American Samoa). Super Tuesday was born, much more or much less as we know it today. (Republicans hosted their own contests in 17 states that exact same day, more cementing the day’s condition in the politics firmament.)

Since then, the constellation of at sight Tuesday states has varied, but the day maintain a specific Southern flavor to this day. Of the 14 claims voting following week, half are in the South.

Over time, both the variety of Super Tuesday contests and the re-publishing of delegates at stake have fluctuated considerably. On supervisor Tuesday 2004, because that instance, just 10 states hosted primaries or caucuses, but due to the fact that some of castle (California, brand-new York, Ohio) had large convention delegations, about a 3rd of pledged delegates were favored that day. In 2016, by contrast, the 13 supervisor Tuesday contests accounted for 878 delegates, or just under 22% of total pledged – the lowest Super Tuesday delegate re-publishing ever. Two later primary dates, march 15 and also June 7, were likewise significant, with practically 700 delegates at stake on each day.

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Political observers have provided that, while the original architects of at sight Tuesday were greatly white, moderate Southerners, demographics and also partisanship have evolved such the the work now offers racial and ethnic decimal a greater say in the nominating process. Amongst the approximated 89 million eligible voter in this year’s 14 super Tuesday states, 18% are Hispanic, 11% are black and also 6% room Asian, follow to Pew Research facility estimates. In part states, the minority shares are far higher: In California, because that instance, an estimated 30% of default voters space Hispanic and 14% space Asian; blacks consist of an estimated 26% of eligible voter in Alabama, 22% in north Carolina and also 19% in Virginia.