Friday, February 01, 2008

Super Tuesday Primer

For those looking forward to Super Tuesday, Larry Sabato provides a great primer on the day's primaries and caucuses.
Ready or not, here it comes... Super-Duper Tuesday, Tsunami Tuesday, Monster Tuesday, or whatever name one chooses to call it. The huge, historic nationwide vote Feb. 5 is at last at hand. Two dozen states from Massachusetts to California will vote next Tuesday, electing more than 40 percent of all Democratic and Republican delegates in 2008.

The only other single-day event that has ever come close to this size during the presidential nominating process came on March 8, 1988, when the first full-blown Super Tuesday featured 16 primaries, actually one more than is scheduled next Tuesday. But that one-day votefest 20 years ago was a Southern-oriented event, rounded out by a handful of primaries in the Northeast and a smattering of low-visibility caucuses in the West.

This year's Super Tuesday, by contrast, is truly a nationwide event, the largest in scope ever held outside the November general election. It is vast and varied in virtually every way. Each region of the country is well represented. Red and blue states abound. Racial diversity is accented. Voter enthusiasm has rarely been higher, and turnout should be huge.

The half of the country that will vote Feb. 5 includes nearly 80 million registered voters. Most will have the opportunity to participate in primary elections, where turnout records have already been broken this year in a number of states. Lower-turnout caucuses will be held in a few small to medium-sized states west of the Mississippi River.

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