Why Tuesday's So Super

Super Tuesday: You may know what it is. But what does it mean?

Posted: 03/05/2012 03:17 PM EST

What’s faster than a speeding bullet?! More powerful than a locomotive!  Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound! Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane. It’s Super Tuesday.    

 

With all the chatter about Super Tuesday, you’d think it possessed super powers. All of the fanfare and media hype the day garners may not give us a clearer idea exactly who the Republican nominee will be.

 

So here’s a brief breakdown of what you should know about Super Tuesday and the role it can play in shaping the political landscape. 

 

—One third of the delegates needed to clinch the nomination are up for grabs. This year, votes will be cast in ten states including Alaska, Georgia, Idaho, Massachusetts, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia. And even if the top contender, Gov. Mitt Romney, walks away with a complete sweep on Tuesday, he’d only have a little more than 600 of the 1144 delegates needed to secure the coveted prize.  But the momentum needed to be the nominee is an added benefit of winning the night. In the land of presidential politics, being “perceived” the winner is part of winning the battle.  Some individual states in Tuesday’s grouping hold special significance.

 

—Georgia may have been former House Speaker Newt Gingrich's stomping ground, but he's got a lot to prove this Tuesday. He will need to secure a win here to still be considered a viable player in this election game.  Not only is Georgia seen as a conservative litmus test for prospective candidates, for Gingrich, it’s also his home state, one he used to represent in Congress.  A loss in Georgia casts a shadow of doubt over his campaign’s future.

 

—But the Republican presidential suitors are all vying for the heart of Ohio.  Of all the states, it’s the one seen as a bell weather state with the seemingly magical power to predict the fate of the Republican nominee. The winner in Ohio historically goes on to become the nominee. The recession hit Ohio hard, and, if a candidate’s economic recovery message resonates with residents in this state, it could spell trouble for President Obama come November.

 

—To say that Oklahoma is a red state would probably be an understatement.  By most accounts, there’s no redder state in the country.  But the conservative cool points that could be earned by winning Oklahoma are a pretty big deal for the Republican hopefuls. Only 40 delegates are at stake but bragging rights are priceless.

 

—Virginia is now at play. Ever since Obama carried the state in ’08, no longer is it the Republican bastion it used to be. Gingrich and Santorum are not on the ballot and Romney is probably already checking this state off the list as a win, even before the first results come in.

 

 

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(Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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