Tuesday is Super Tuesday, the day the largest number of states vote during the Republican Primary. In the past, this event has been the opportunity to effectively clinch nomination for a party, but I rather doubt that will be the case this year. The number of states and delegates awarded this Super Tuesday is significantly less than in past years, which combined with the proportional system of awarding delegates means the contest will almost certainly drag on past this media event.
A candidate needs 1,144 delegates to win. As it stands, Romney has the most with 135 for sure delegates, plus an indeterminate amount that are allowed to change their minds. That gets him about ten percent of what he needs. The total amount up for grabs Tuesday is 410; even if Romney won all of them, that wouldn't put him halfway to the finish. And as I mentioned, with the delegates almost certainly to be divided up fairly equally, the odds of a knockout blow being delivered here are extremely low.
Just to really throw a wrench in things, Gingrich will almost certainly win Georgia. He's currently the number 2 man in terms of delegates and Georgia is the largest state up for grabs. Based on polling, he'll suck just about everywhere else and Santorum should overtake him in overall delegates, but a big win in Georgia could convince Gingrich to stay in this race, at least for a few more rounds to see if he derives any momentum from his win.
There are only 8 winner take all races remaining, most of which are in April or later. Utah and California alone would give Romney 200 delegates, but that won't be settled until June. Romney would still need 800 delegates from the other races.
My biggest concern is that he doesn't quite make it. Newt and Ron Paul could easily rack up 200 delegates between them, enough to send this a brokered convention, which has nightmare written all over it.
- I thought this during the '08 campaign as well: primaries should be closed. There's no reason to give the opposing party a voice in choosing your party's candidate. This is particularly true during a close primary when there is an incumbent president.
- Move up the primaries, or move them back, but have them at roughly the same time. Either that, or make them winner take all. Dragging this out until June keeps the candidates shooting at each other rather than their November opponent. Not particularly wise.
Overall, Romney will gain a few more delegates in his lead, Santorum will solidly take second place in the overall count, and this thing will drag on at least through April. Anything but Super, or even particularly interesting.