AP Decision Notes: What to expect in Super Tuesday’s presidential nominating contests

In this combination of photos, President Joe Biden speaks on Aug. 10, 2023, in Salt Lake City, left, and former President Donald Trump speaks on July 8, 2023, in Las Vegas, center, and Republican presidential candidate former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, speaks on Feb. 18, 2024, in Columbia, S.C., right. (AP Photo)

In this combination of photos, President Joe Biden speaks on Aug. 10, 2023, in Salt Lake City, left, and former President Donald Trump speaks on July 8, 2023, in Las Vegas, center, and Republican presidential candidate former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, speaks on Feb. 18, 2024, in Columbia, S.C., right. (AP Photo)

WASHINGTON (AP) — With contests in 16 states and American Samoa, the Super Tuesday primaries will be the largest day of voting of the year outside of the November election. Just how “super” it is may be a matter of perspective.

Both Democratic President Joe Biden and Republican front-runner Donald Trump hope to amass a string of lopsided victories that will help them move beyond the primaries and focus on their expected general election rematch. On the other hand, Nikki Haley faces a tough slate of contests mostly in the types of reliably Republican-voting states where she has struggled to win support or in states where party rules heavily favor the former president.

Super Tuesday has the largest delegate haul of any day in the primary calendar, representing more than one-third of the total delegates available in each party’s nomination process and more than 70% of the delegates needed to mathematically clinch either party’s nomination. Neither Trump nor Biden will be able to claim the title of “presumptive nominee” on Super Tuesday. The earliest that could happen is March 12 for Trump and March 19 for Biden. Trump would need to win about 90% of the nearly 1,100 delegates at stake through March 12 in order to clinch the nomination that day. Biden would need to win about 77% of the nearly 2,300 delegates at stake through March 19 to ensure his nomination by that date.

Alabama, Arkansas, California, North Carolina and Texas will hold state primaries on Tuesday. Among the most notable down-ballot races is the one in California to succeed the late Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein. Vying to replace her are Democratic Reps. Barbara Lee, Katie Porter and Adam Schiff and Republican Steve Garvey, a former baseball star. Vote-counting in California is famously slow. It’s not unusual for only about half of the vote to be counted by the morning after the election.

Super Tuesday at a glance:

DECISION NOTES

The Associated Press will declare winners in presidential and state primaries on Super Tuesday only when it’s determined there is no scenario that would allow the trailing candidates to close the gap. If a race has not been called, the AP will continue to cover any newsworthy developments, such as candidate concessions or declarations of victory. In doing so, the AP will make clear that it has not yet declared a winner and explain why.

In the presidential contests, Biden and Trump have dominated their respective races for the nomination. Biden has won every contest so far by wide margins. His closest race was in New Hampshire, where he skipped the primary but still won by more than 40 percentage points when supporters mounted a write-in effort on his behalf. In Michigan, where a protest vote resulted in “Uncommitted” winning two delegates, Biden still received more than 81% of the statewide vote. Trump has won seven of the eight contests in which he and Haley both appeared on the ballot. His 11-point win in New Hampshire was the narrowest of his victories.

Haley has performed best in Democratic-leaning areas, as evidenced by her win in the Washington, D.C., primary on Sunday, her first of the campaign. Outside the Beltway, she has also benefited from independents and Democrats participating in Republican primaries, suggesting that her strongest performances could come in places with open primaries, which are not limited to participation by registered Republicans.

In noncompetitive contests, the AP may in some cases be able to determine the winners relatively quickly based on the first vote returns of the night. Factors include the size of the lead in those initial returns, backed by an AP analysis of historical vote returns to determine how different those updates can be from final results.

Other factors include fundraising and ad spending, the type of contest and who is allowed to participate, the state’s voting history and political geography and, in some cases, publicly available early voting data showing how many pre-Election Day votes were cast and from what areas. Once the polls have closed, if initial vote results received from key locations throughout the state confirm that the frontrunner or expected winner is indeed ahead by an overwhelming margin, the AP may declare a winner in that contest.

SUPER TUESDAY DELEGATES AT STAKE

Democrats: 1,420

Republicans: 854

DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CONTESTS (16)

STATE-RUN PRIMARIES (14): Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia

PARTY-RUN PRESIDENTIAL PREFERENCE VOTES AND CAUCUSES (2): Iowa, American Samoa

REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CONTESTS (15)

STATE-RUN PRIMARIES (13): Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia

PARTY-RUN PRESIDENTIAL PREFERENCE VOTES AND CAUCUSES (2): Alaska Caucuses, Utah Caucuses

STATES WITH PRIMARIES FOR STATE & LOCAL OFFICES (5)

Alabama, Arkansas, California, North Carolina, Texas

SUPER TUESDAY TIMELINE

6 p.m. EST: Results expected in Iowa

7 p.m. EST: Polls close in Vermont and Virginia. Caucuses convene in Alaska (Republicans only)

7:30 p.m. EST: Polls close in North Carolina

8 p.m. EST: Polls close in Alabama, Maine, Massachusetts, Oklahoma and Tennessee. Most polls close in Texas.

8:30 p.m. EST: Polls close in Arkansas

9 p.m. EST: Polls close in Colorado and Minnesota. Last polls close in Texas. Caucuses convene in Utah (Republicans only)

10 p.m. EST: Polls close in Utah (Democrats only)

11 p.m. EST: Polls close in California. Voting is expected to end in Utah (Republicans only)

12 a.m. EST: Voting ends in Alaska (Republicans only)

ALABAMA

PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY (D): Biden, Dean Phillips, Uncommitted. 52 delegates at stake.

PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY (R): Trump, Haley, David Stuckenberg, Uncommitted, Ryan Binkley, Chris Christie, Ron DeSantis, Vivek Ramaswamy. 50 delegates at stake.

STATE PRIMARY KEY RACES: Supreme Court chief justice (R), U.S. House Districts 1 and 2.

WHO CAN VOTE: Any registered voter. Voters do not register by party.

FIRST VOTES REPORTED (2022 Primaries): 8:23 p.m. EST

LAST ELECTION NIGHT UPDATE: 3:06 a.m. ET with 99% of the total vote counted

ALASKA

PRESIDENTIAL CAUCUSES (R): Trump, Haley, Ramaswamy. 29 delegates at stake.

WHO CAN VOTE: Registered Republicans only

ARKANSAS

PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY (D): Biden, Phillips, Marianne Williamson, three others. 31 delegates at stake.

PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY (R): Trump, Haley, Stuckenberg, Binkley, Doug Burgum, Christie, DeSantis, Asa Hutchinson, Ramaswamy. 40 delegates at stake.

STATE PRIMARY KEY RACES: Supreme Court chief justice; U.S. House District 3 (R)

WHO CAN VOTE: Any registered voter. Voters do not register by party.

FIRST VOTES REPORTED (2022 Primaries): 8:44 p.m. EST

LAST ELECTION NIGHT UPDATE: 3:18 a.m. EST with 99% of the total vote counted

CALIFORNIA

PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY (D): Biden, Phillips, Williamson, and five others. 424 delegates at stake.

PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY (R): Trump, Haley, Stuckenberg, Binkley, Christie, DeSantis, Hutchinson, Ramaswamy, Rachel Swift. 169 delegates at stake.

STATE PRIMARY KEY RACES: U.S. Senate (full term and unexpired term), various U.S. House districts

WHO CAN VOTE: Only registered Republicans in the Republican presidential primary. Registered Democrats and unaffiliated voters in the Democratic presidential primary. All registered voters in the state primaries.

FIRST VOTES REPORTED (2022 Primaries): 11:11 p.m. EST

LAST ELECTION NIGHT UPDATE: 6:10 a.m. EST with 48% of total vote counted

COLORADO

PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY (D): Biden, Phillips, Williamson, noncommitted delegate, five others. 72 delegates at stake.

PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY (R): Trump, Haley, Binkley, Christie, DeSantis, Hutchinson, Ramaswamy. 37 delegates at stake. The Supreme Court on Monday rejected efforts in Colorado and other states to use Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to remove Trump from the ballot.

WHO CAN VOTE: Registered party members plus unaffiliated voters

FIRST VOTES REPORTED (2022 Primaries): 9:04 p.m. EST

LAST ELECTION NIGHT UPDATE: 4:05 a.m. ET with 90% of total vote counted

IOWA

PRESIDENTIAL PREFERENCE VOTE (D): Biden, Phillips, Williamson, uncommitted. 40 delegates at stake. All voting conducted by mail between Jan. 12 and March 5.

WHO CAN VOTE: Registered Democrats only

NOTES: Iowa Democrats moved away from their traditional caucus system this year after party rules rearranged the calendar and barred the state from holding a presidential nominating event in January. Democrats in the state still held caucuses to conduct party business that month, but its presidential nominating contest became a preference vote conducted by mail with results released on Super Tuesday.

MAINE

PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY (D): Biden, Phillips. 24 delegates at stake.

PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY (R): Trump, Haley, Binkley, DeSantis, Ramaswamy. 20 delegates at stake. The Supreme Court on Monday rejected efforts in Maine and other states to use Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to remove Trump from the ballot.

WHO CAN VOTE: Registered party members plus unaffiliated voters

FIRST VOTES REPORTED (2022 Primaries): 8:17 p.m. EST

LAST ELECTION NIGHT UPDATE: 2:16 a.m. EST with 82% of total vote counted

NOTES: Maine law dictates presidential primaries be conducted by ranked-choice voting, in which voters are asked to rank candidates in order of preference. If no candidate receives at least 50% of the vote, low-ranking candidates are eliminated and their voters are reassigned to other candidates by that order of preference until one candidate obtains a majority.

However, the Republican Party is basing its presidential delegate allocation on the first round of voting and will not consider any results of ranked-choice voting. In the unlikely event that the Maine GOP primary proceeds to ranked-choice rounds, AP will follow the party’s preference and declare a winner based on the first round of voting.

MASSACHUSETTS

PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY (D): Biden, Phillips, Williamson, no preference. 92 delegates at stake.

PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY (R): Trump, Haley, no preference, Binkley, Christie, DeSantis, Hutchinson, Ramaswamy. 40 delegates at stake.

WHO CAN VOTE: Registered party members plus unaffiliated voters

FIRST VOTES REPORTED (2022 Primaries): 8:04 p.m. EST

LAST ELECTION NIGHT UPDATE: 3:33 a.m. EST with 83% of total vote counted

MINNESOTA

PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY (D): Biden, Phillips, Williamson, uncommitted, six others. 75 delegates at stake.

PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY (R): Trump, Haley, Christie, DeSantis, Ramaswamy. 39 delegates at stake.

WHO CAN VOTE: Any registered voter. Voters do not register by party.

FIRST VOTES REPORTED (2022 Primaries): 9:19 p.m. EST

LAST ELECTION NIGHT UPDATE: 2:21 a.m. EST with 100% of the total vote counted

NORTH CAROLINA

PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY (D): Biden, no preference. 116 delegates at stake.

PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY (R): Trump, Haley, No Preference, Binkley, Christie, DeSantis, Hutchinson, Ramaswamy. 74 delegates at stake.

STATE PRIMARY KEY RACES: Governor (Democratic and Republican)

WHO CAN VOTE: Registered party members plus unaffiliated voters

FIRST VOTES REPORTED (2022 Primaries): 7:38 p.m. EST. Super Tuesday results may be reported later than in previous elections because of a new state law requiring elections officials to wait until polls close before tabulating pre-Election Day votes.

LAST ELECTION NIGHT UPDATE: 12:52 a.m. EST with 99% of total vote counted

OKLAHOMA

PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY (D): Biden, Phillips, Williamson, and three others. 36 delegates at stake.

PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY (R): Trump, Haley, Stuckenberg, Binkley, Christie, DeSantis, Hutchinson, Ramaswamy. 43 delegates at stake.

WHO CAN VOTE: Parties decide who may vote in the primaries. Only registered Republicans in the Republican primary. Registered Democrats and independents in the Democratic primary.

FIRST VOTES REPORTED (2022 Primaries): 8:10 p.m. EST

LAST ELECTION NIGHT UPDATE: 12:33 a.m. EST with 99.9% of the total vote counted

TENNESSEE

PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY (D): Biden, uncommitted. 63 delegates at stake.

PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY (R): Trump, Haley, Stuckenberg, uncommitted, Binkley, Christie, DeSantis, Hutchinson, Ramaswamy. 58 delegates at stake.

WHO CAN VOTE: Any registered voter. Voters do not register by party.

FIRST VOTES REPORTED (2022 Primaries): 8:02 p.m. EST

LAST ELECTION NIGHT UPDATE: 3:45 a.m. EST with 99.7% of the total vote counted

TEXAS

PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY (D): Biden, Phillips, Williamson, and five others. 244 delegates at stake.

PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY (R): Trump, Haley, Stuckenberg, uncommitted, Binkley, Christie, DeSantis, Hutchinson, Ramaswamy. 150 delegates at stake.

STATE PRIMARY KEY RACES: U.S. Senate and various U.S. House districts

WHO CAN VOTE: Any registered voter. Voters do not register by party.

FIRST VOTES REPORTED (2020 Presidential Primaries): 8:10 p.m. EST

LAST ELECTION NIGHT UPDATE: 3:21 a.m. EST with 93% of total vote counted

UTAH

PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY (D): Biden, Phillips, Williamson, and two others. 30 delegates at stake.

PRESIDENTIAL CAUCUSES (R): Trump, Haley, Binkley. 40 delegates at stake.

WHO CAN VOTE: Parties decide who may vote in the primaries. Registered Democrats and unaffiliated voters in the Democratic primary. Registered Republicans only in the Republican caucuses.

FIRST VOTES REPORTED (2022 Primaries): 10:03 p.m. EST

LAST ELECTION NIGHT UPDATE: 1:46 a.m. EST with 83% of the total vote counted

VERMONT

PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY (D): Biden, Phillips, Williamson, and three others. 16 delegates at stake.

PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY (R): Trump, Haley, Binkley, Christie, DeSantis, Ramaswamy. 17 delegates at stake.

WHO CAN VOTE: Any registered voter. Voters do not register by party.

FIRST VOTES REPORTED (2022 Primaries): 7:21 p.m. EST

LAST ELECTION NIGHT UPDATE: 2:16 a.m. EST with 96.4% of total vote counted

VIRGINIA

PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY (D): Biden, Phillips, Williamson. 99 delegates at stake.

PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY (R): Trump, Haley, Binkley, Christie, DeSantis, Ramaswamy. 48 delegates at stake.

WHO CAN VOTE: Any registered voter. Voters do not register by party.

FIRST VOTES REPORTED (2022 Primaries): 7:09 p.m. EST

LAST ELECTION NIGHT UPDATE: 9:15 p.m. EST with 99.5% of the total vote counted

AMERICAN SAMOA

PRESIDENTIAL CAUCUSES (D): Six delegates at stake.

UNCOMMITTED ON THE BALLOT

DEMOCRATS: Alabama, Colorado (as “Noncommitted Delegate”), Iowa, Massachusetts (as “No Preference”), Minnesota, North Carolina (as “No Preference”), Tennessee

REPUBLICANS: Alabama, Massachusetts (as “No Preference”), North Carolina (as “No Preference”), Tennessee, Texas

ARE WE THERE YET?

As of Super Tuesday, there will be 132 days until the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee, 167 days until the Democratic National Convention in Chicago and 245 until the November general election.

AP Politics

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