How to watch Super Tuesday like a pro


Joe Biden’s blowout victory in South Carolina suggests he’s poised to do well in Alabama, where African American voters cast more than half the votes in the 2016 Democratic primary. But in a state where there’s been almost no public polling, Mike Bloomberg’s free-spending campaign has muddied the outlook.

Bloomberg has already spent more than $7 million on TV and radio ads here, according to Advertising Analytics, and he spent the weekend ahead of Super Tuesday in Selma. He’s also got the backing of the Alabama Democratic Conference, an influential group of black lawmakers. In 2016, the group endorsed Hillary Clinton, who won every county in the state in her landslide 78%-19% win over Bernie Sanders.

Arkansas was, in some ways, Mike Bloomberg’s first presidential campaign stop: He flew to Little Rock in early November to file in person for the state’s Democratic presidential primary.

Since few other candidates have spent time here — and since he’s spent more on TV and radio ads there than anyone else — Bloomberg appears as well-positioned as anyone in the state that introduced Bill and Hillary Clinton to the national stage.

There’s only limited public polling available but an early February Hendrix College poll showed Bloomberg statistically tied with Joe Biden for first place, with Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg (who has since dropped out), not far behind.

This is the rare Democratic primary where Biden’s service as Barack Obama’s veep might not be a huge asset. Arkansas voted for Hillary Clinton in 2008, and gave a jaw-dropping 42 percent to Obama’s little-known primary challenger in 2012.

Delegate-rich California is the big prize on Super Tuesday, and the only question is how big is the size of Bernie Sanders’ win. Going into the contest, he’s buoyed by a double-digit lead in most state polls, and is poised to be the biggest beneficiary of its Mother Lode of 415 delegates — about a fifth of what’s needed to snag the Democratic presidential nomination.

Sanders’ relentless retail campaigning — four rallies last week alone — has boosted his appeal to the nearly 9 million Democratic voters in the solidly blue state. He’s also aggressively targeting 5.5 million “no party preference” voters in a state where housing prices, growing homelessness and income inequality are leading issues.

Still, billionaire Mike Bloomberg’s spending allowed him to elbow his way into a four-way win-place-and show battle with Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg (who ended his bid Sunday). By hiring 300 staffers, opening more than two dozen offices, and dumping $71 million into non-stop messaging, the former New York City mayor has dominated the California airwaves. He’s spent nearly twice the amount of his nearest competitor, fellow billionaire Tom Steyer — who dropped out Saturday — and more than 10 times that of Sanders.

But in a primary that was bumped up this year to early March to give California more clout in picking the nominee, Sanders’ years of campaigning here are likely to pay off. And there’s a chance he could be the only candidate in California to meet the crucial 15 percent threshold that delivers a cache of statewide delegates; the rest of the presidential pack looks likely to divide up the remaining 271 delegates from 53 House districts. Biden, however, could benefit from the narrowing field — the latest early voting data suggests California voters are conflicted, since they have delayed casting their mail-in ballots in unusually high numbers this year.

Don’t expect a quick answer on Tuesday, though: California Secretary of State Alex Padilla warns that “due to state law, and frankly the sheer size of California, the vote count will continue well beyond election night.”

Colorado has switched from a caucus to a primary this year — the first time in two decades the state won’t use caucuses to vote on presidential candidates. But that isn’t expected to hurt Bernie Sanders, who won a commanding victory in 2016. He has double-digit leads in recent public polls, so the expectation is that the real race is for second place.

Mike Bloomberg has the largest paid organizing effort and has spent the most money on TV advertising. But he trailed Sanders and Elizabeth Warren in the most recent poll. Warren hasn’t finished better than third in any of the early states, but she’s shown some grassroots appeal in Denver, where a Feb. 23 rally attracted roughly 4,000 people.

Like Colorado, this is a state that Bernie Sanders won easily in 2016 — and like Colorado, this year marks the first time in two decades that Maine has moved from a caucus to a presidential primary.

Maine hasn’t had much polling but a mid-February Colby College poll found Sanders leading the field by 9 percentage points. Everyone else was clustered right at or below the 15 percent delegate threshold level.

As in many states, Mike Bloomberg has outspent everyone else by a large margin here. He’s collected some notable local endorsements — including from two former Maine congressmen — but so has nearly every other candidate.

Elizabeth Warren is at risk of losing her home state to Bernie Sanders.

The two-term senator’s slide in the polls has been dramatic. In October, she held a 20-percentage point lead, according to a WBUR poll. But the latest version of that poll released Friday showed Sanders ahead by 8 points. The real giveaway? Warren has declined to say whether she’s confident she’ll win her home state.

Sensing opportunity, Sanders is going all-in on Massachusetts, holding two recent rallies in Boston (which drew more than 10,000 attendees) and Springfield, and a four-day music and canvassing festival in the central Massachusetts city of Worcester.

For her part, Warren is sending her surrogates out in force. Her campaign planned dozens of get-out-the-vote events with state and local officials, as well as with her well-known golden retriever, Bailey.

Joe Biden and Michael Bloomberg also have sizable campaign operations here. Former Secretary of State — and longtime Massachusetts senator — John Kerry led a Biden canvass on Saturday in Boston, and former Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis is the chair of Bloomberg’s Bay State campaign.

Note that Massachusetts has a semi-open primary, which works to Sanders’ advantage. A majority of registered voters here are designated ‘unenrolled’ — meaning they are independents, a bloc Sanders tends to do well with.

Before dropping out, Amy Klobuchar was favored to win her home state over Bernie Sanders, but not by much. Sanders was pressing her hard in a state he won easily in 2016, back when Minnesota held caucuses. This time, for the first time since 1992, it will hold an open presidential primary.

The question, in the wake of her departure from the race, is where does her home-state support go? In the last public poll, which was in the field before Nevada voted, this was a two-person contest between Klobuchar and Sanders with everyone else clustered below the 15% threshold for delegates. Biden’s position was especially weak — he registered in fourth place with just 8%, three points behind Elizabeth Warren.

Mike Bloomberg‘s presence further muddies the picture. The former New York City mayor has spent nearly $13 million in the state and sought to occupy the same moderate lane as Klobuchar — but Klobuchar endorsed Biden Monday night.

What’s known is that Sanders has a devoted base here. He drew huge crowds in the Twin Cities area in 2016, and he held a Super Tuesday eve GOTV concert and rally in St. Paul on Monday evening, featuring Minneapolis-area Rep. Ilhan Omar.

If Joe Biden is going to have a successful Super Tuesday, he’ll need to deliver a strong performance in North Carolina, where he’s better positioned than in many other states. The state’s proximity to South Carolina means a good bit of media market overlap between the two and it also enabled some semblance of a ground game.

The state’s demographic profile also works to Biden’s advantage: In 2016, according to exit polls, one-third of the electorate was African American.

Biden has topped the polls here along with Bernie Sanders, but Mike Bloomberg boasts a mammoth 120-person staff operation. Bloomberg has spent roughly $13 million — nearly $11 million more than Sanders, the next largest advertiser in the state.

Sanders and Biden added get-out-the-vote rallies to their North Carolina itineraries this past week and have spent time at presidential forums in Raleigh, Greensboro and Winston-Salem, which have significant black and Latino populations and are home to several major universities.

Elizabeth Warren was born in Oklahoma City and frequently mentions her Oklahoma roots, but the public polling suggests she isn’t much of a factor here. One sign: A pro-Warren super PAC is spending $9 million in three Super Tuesday states, yet Oklahoma isn’t one of them.

Joe Biden and Mike Bloomberg are neck and neck in the state’s latest poll of likely voters. Bloomberg has established a toehold by spending more than $3 million here and has more than 20 staffers and three offices across the state.

Bernie Sanders, however, can’t be overlooked here — he won the state in 2016 against Hillary Clinton, capturing all but two of the state’s 77 counties.

With almost no recent polling here, Tennessee is a bit of a black box. It offers promise to Joe Biden, especially in the wake of South Carolina‘s outcome — roughly one-third of the vote is likely to be cast by African Americans, and Bernie Sanders got creamed in the state by a 2-1 margin in 2016. Biden hired a handful of new operatives to organize the state but is mainly relying on small ad buys and state-based surrogates to vouch for him.

Mike Bloomberg, however, has blanketed Tennessee in spending. He has seven offices and 40 staffers — and the state is where he publicly defended his mayoral record in the face of newly-surfaced remarks on his stop-and-frisk policy.

Elizabeth Warren has had a smaller footprint, but she was the first candidate to staff up in Tennessee back in October; she later redeployed some staffers from early primary state operations to organize.

In the state with the second-largest cache of delegates available Tuesday, Bernie Sanders has tied or led every public poll taken this month — eight in all. He’s trailed by Joe Biden, Mike Bloomberg and Elizabeth Warren.

Progressive groups have backed Sanders, arguing he’s uniquely capable of motivating the state’s large population of young and non-white voters. And establishment Democrats are crossing their fingers for a Biden win, saying he can sway moderate Republicans turned off by Trump.

Warren, a former University of Houston graduate who set up shop here last summer, appears to be in the hunt for delegates based on February polling — a candidate must win more than 15 percent either statewide or in one of 31 state Senate districts to pick up delegates. She picked up Julian Castro’s endorsement last month, which could help make inroads with Latinos in a state where Latinos cast one-third of the primary vote in 2016, according to exit polls.

Bloomberg’s massive spending has also earned him traction in Texas — his field operation is fueled by nearly 200 staffers. He’s also snagged a few prominent endorsements here, including Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner.

Several candidates could meet the 15 percent threshold to win delegates here, but one is significantly ahead of the rest: Bernie Sanders. He won the state’s caucuses in a 2016 landslide and held a rally in Salt Lake City on Monday afternoon.

Mike Bloomberg has established a presence after spending more than $3 million on advertising, buying ads in local papers and assembling the largest team. He also carries the endorsement of freshman Rep. Ben McAdams — the state’s only congressional Democrat — whose district offers more delegates (7) than the state’s other three districts.

But Elizabeth Warren also figures to be a factor. She’s invested in TV ads here and Joe Biden occupies a weak position, according to the most recent poll.

Utah voters largely cast ballots by mail, so momentum from Biden’s blowout win in South Carolina’s primary may not have much impact on the results.

This one should be called pretty early Tuesday evening — as in, as soon as the polls close at 7 p.m. Home-state Sen. Bernie Sanders won in a landslide in 2016 over Hillary Clinton and figures to do the same again this year.

Sanders is the most popular senator in the country, according to Morning Consult, and has an 80 percent approval rating among Vermonters. That’s why he’s planning a rally in Essex Junction just after the polls close. It’s something of a homecoming — the rally will be his first major event in Vermont since May 2019.

Bernie Sanders got blown out here in 2016 but there isn’t much chance of that happening this year, despite the grumblings of some Democrats that a Sanders nomination would jeopardize the progress the party has made in Virginia in recent years.

This is a good state to gauge Joe Biden’s post-South Carolina strength. It’s a place he should do well in — according to exit polls, African Americans cast 26 percent of the primary vote in 2016. Biden also has a slew of endorsements from top lawmakers across the state, ranging from Northern Virginia to the Tidewater area, as well as endorsements from Terry McAuliffe, the former Virginia governor and former Democratic National Committee chair; Sen. Tim Kaine; and Virginia Rep. Bobby Scott, a prominent member of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Sanders is fighting back with a slew of ads and rallies. One week ahead of Super Tuesday, he scheduled rallies in Northern Virginia, Virginia Beach and Norfolk.

This isn’t just a two candidate race here, however. Mike Bloomberg, who has spent freely in the state, launched his presidential campaign in Norfolk. And Elizabeth Warren was above the 15% threshold for delegates in one recent poll.



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