Donald Trump looks to win big on Super Tuesday

Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio speaks to supporters at the Scheman Building Jan. 30. The Florida senator urged Americans to get out and vote, stating that the Republican party could not afford to lose this election.

Alex Hanson

Heading into Super Tuesday, Donald Trump looks poised to solidify his front-runner status with victories in most of the 11 states handing out delegates this week.

“Let’s put this thing away,” Trump told his supporters after dominating in Nevada’s Republican Caucus this week. Polling conducted in Super Tuesday states show Trump will be well on his way to do just that by winning most contests this week, with the exception of maybe Texas — the home of Ted Cruz.

“Trump seems unstoppable, but as they say about opera, it’s not over until the fat lady sings,” said Steffen Schmidt, university professor of political science. “So, it’s not over until Super Tuesday. Then I think the train will have left the station.”

Trump will likely perform well in a number of states, including southern states such as Alabama and Arkansas, but it will be important to watch moderate states such as Colorado and Virginia, said David Andersen, assistant professor of political science.

Polling has been sparse in some of the Super Tuesday states, but in Arkansas, for example, Trump led by 13 points in a poll conducted last week. Either way, it will be important to see the margins between candidates in some states.

“If Cruz or Rubio surge on Super Tuesday, this thing could get sticky and might go long all the way to the GOP convention,” Schmidt said.

Texas, which will award the most amount of delegates on Tuesday — about 10 percent of what you need to secure the nomination, will be important for Cruz, the junior senator from the state.

While hundreds of thousands of early votes may benefit Cruz, the race may be tighter than the Cruz campaign is comfortable with. Most polling during the past several months show Cruz leading by double digits, but at least two polls conducted last week show the race in a virtual tie.

“If he can’t win there, he’s basically cooked,” said Mack Shelley, chairman of the political science department. “He might not quit right away, but I don’t know why you would want to stick around if you can’t win your home state.”

Andersen agreed, saying Cruz is “toast” if he doesn’t win his home state.

Super Tuesday will be the start of several big Tuesday’s featuring a huge number of contests. The following weeks will also include voting in Florida, home to Rubio, and Ohio, home to John Kasich.

“I could guess he’ll get enough delegates for the nomination within the next month [if he continues the wins],” Shelley said. 

Each day seems to bring something new to the political scene. For example, on Friday, after a fiery debate, Trump unveiled the endorsement of once-rival Chris Christie, who many considered one of the establishment candidates. 

While that endorsement filled the news all day, the Rubio campaign has been rolling out dozens of endorsements leading up to and following Nevada, but it did not and does not seem to be helping his standing in any states.

The race is getting nastier as well, with Trump repeatedly going after Rubio for his now-famous water bottle incident during the State of the Union response in 2013.

“We thought there were rules [to a presidential campaign],” Shelley joked.

Super Tuesday follows voting in four states: Iowa, where Cruz won by several points; New Hampshire; South Carolina; and Nevada, where Trump has had blowout wins by double digits.