Super Tuesday

In the United States, Super Tuesday, in general, refers to the Tuesday in February or March of a presidential election year when the greatest number of states hold primary elections to select delegates to national conventions at which each party's presidential candidates are officially nominated. More delegates can be won on Super Tuesday than on any other single day of the primary calendar, and, accordingly, candidates seeking the presidency traditionally must do well on this day to secure their party's nomination. In 2008, Super Tuesday was February 5; 24 states held primaries or caucuses on this date, with 52% of all pledged Democratic Party delegates and 41% of the total Republican Party delegates at stake. [cite web|url=| ]

Origins and significance

The phrase "Super Tuesday" [ [ Why Tuesday?] ] has been used to refer to presidential primary elections since at least 1984cite web
url =,9171,921674,00.html
title = Facing the Fatigue Factor
access date = 2007-02-14
last = Andersen
first = Kurt
year = 1984
month = April
publisher = Time Magazine
language = English
] as dates when a large number of states held presidential primaries. In fact, the 1984 primary season had three "Super Tuesdays,". [cite news|url=,9171,951168,00.html|title=Over the Top, Barely|publisher=Time|date=June 18, 1984|author=Ed Magnuson] Decided on "Super Tuesday III" were delegates from five states: South Dakota, New Mexico, West Virginia, California and New Jersey. [cite news|url=,9171,951132-1,00.html|title=A Big Bicoastal Finale|publisher=Time|date=June 4, 1984|author=George J. Church] The proportional nature of delegate selection meant that Mondale was likely to obtain enough delegates on that day to secure the stated support of an overall majority of delegates, and hence the nomination, no matter who actually "won" the states contested. However, Hart maintained that unpledged superdelegates that had previously claimed support for Mondale would shift to his side if he swept the Super Tuesday III primary.cite news
date=June 11, 1984
author=Evan Thomas
title=Last Call, and Out Reeling
] Once again, Hart committed a "faux pas", insulting New Jersey shortly before the primary day. Campaigning in California, he remarked that while the "bad news" was that he and his wife Lee had to campaign separately, " [t] he good news for her is that she campaigns in California while I campaign in New Jersey." Compounding the problem, when his wife interjected that she "got to hold a koala bear", Hart replied that "I won't tell you what I got to hold: samples from a toxic waste dump." While Hart won California, he lost New Jersey after leading in polls by as much as 15 points. Ending up, Walter Mondale secured the majority of delegates from the primaries, leading the way for him to take the Democratic nomination.cite web
url =,9171,951168,00.html
title = Over the Top, Barely
accessdate = 2007-02-14
last = Magnuson
first = Ed
year = 1984
month = June
publisher = Time Magazine
language = English

The phrase "Super Tuesday" was next used to describe the primary elections that took place on March 8, 1988, in the Southern states of Texas, Florida, Tennessee, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Kentucky, Alabama, and Georgia leading up to the 1988 election in November. Southern Democrats came up with the idea of a regional primary in an effort to nominate a moderate candidate who would more closely represent their interests. (Their plan ultimately did not succeed as Jesse Jackson, Al Gore, and Michael Dukakis split the Super Tuesday primaries, and Dukakis was subsequently nominated.) Since then, the particular states holding primaries on Super Tuesday have varied from year to year. Subsequent "Super Tuesdays" have taken place on March 10, 1992; March 12, 1996; March 7, 2000; and March 2, 2004. In 2000, 16 states held primaries on Super Tuesday, the largest presidential primary election day in U.S. history.

Since Super Tuesday primaries are held in a large number of states from geographically and socially diverse regions of the country, Super Tuesday typically represents a Presidential candidate's first test of national electability. Convincing wins in Super Tuesday primaries have usually propelled candidates to their party's nomination. In 1992, after losing earlier primaries, Democrat Bill Clinton emerged as a candidate "back from the dead" when he convincingly won a number of Southern primaries on Super Tuesday. Clinton ultimately went on to win the Democratic nomination and the presidency. In 1996, Republican Bob Dole's Super Tuesday sweep sealed his bid for the Republican nomination. In 2000, approximately 81% of Democratic delegates and 18% of Republican delegates needed to secure nomination were up for grabs on Super Tuesday. That year, Democrat Al Gore and Republican George W. Bush cemented their nomination bids with Super Tuesday victories, and both went on to win their parties' nominations.

Increased participation

To increase importance of their votes, many states have moved up their primaries to February 5, 2008. This new, earlier cohort of primaries and caucuses has thus come to be referred to as "Super Tuesday." (By way of denoting its political magnitude, some pundits have variously dubbed it "Giga Tuesday," "Mega Giga Tuesday," "Tsunami Tuesday" or even "Super Duper Tuesday."cite web
last = Schneider
first = Bill
authorlink = Bill Schneider (journalist)
title = It could all be over after 'Super Duper Tuesday'
publisher = CNN
date = 2007-02-07
url =
language = English
accessdate = 2007-06-03
] "Super Tuesday" is, however, the nominal term and the one most widely used.)


In 2004, several states moved their presidential contests up to February 3, 2004 in order to increase the relative importance of their election results. Ultimately five states held primaries and two held caucuses on this, a date eventually christened "Mini-Tuesday" or, alternatively, Super Tuesday I by pundits, with the traditional March Super Tuesday date christened Super Tuesday II, or just simply "Super Tuesday." Arguably, the Roman numeraled names are most consistent with how Super Tuesdays were first christened in 1984, when there were in fact three Super Tuesdays.


In the spring of 2007, 24 states with over half the delegates to the national conventions moved to change their primary dates to February 5, 2008, creating the largest "Super Tuesday" to date. Newswriters and political pundits have noted that this will dwarf the Super Tuesday primaries in previous cycles, creating a "Tsunami Tuesday," among other superlatives. With only four states holding elections on this year's other Super Tuesday of March 4, 2008, pundits in those states left behind have noted that "this year, however, Super Tuesday isn't so super." [Citation
last = Skolnick
first = David
title = One Valley state legislator tried unsuccessfully to move the Ohio primary to February
newspaper = The Vindicator
place = Youngstown, Ohio
date = 2007-12-30
url =




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