Super Tuesday’s wide-ranging contests offer the Republican campaign’s highest stakes contests yet, with 437 delegates up for grabs, more than all of this season’s nominating contests combined. Polls show Romney as the favorite to win Virginia, Massachusetts, Vermont, Idaho and possibly Ohio. Rick Santorum looks to eke out victories in Tennessee and Oklahoma. Newt Gingrich appears poised to win Georgia, his home state. Contests in North Dakota and Alaska are harder to determine.
Here is how polls predict Tuesday will play out:
Romney is headed to a landslide victory in Virginia, where Santorum and Gingrich failed to get on the ballot: He leads Ron Paul 69 to 26 percent in an NBC News/Marist College poll released Sunday.
Romney holds a commanding lead in his home state of Massachusetts, taking 64 percent support in a mid-February Suffolk poll; Paul stood in second place at 16 percent. The state’s former governor has an outside chance of winning nearly all delegates, since candidates must earn 15 percent of the statewide vote.
Romney also has an advantage in neighboring Vermont and led Santorum 34 to 27 percent in a Castleton College poll last month.
There are no public polls in Idaho, but the state’s large Mormon population (23 percent of adults in 2007) gives Romney, a Mormon, a big advantage. Mormons will probably make up a greater share of caucus-goers, and they voted almost unanimously for Romney in the Nevada and Arizona primaries this season.
Can Santorum hang on?
In Oklahoma, Santorum leads Romney by a 37 to 26 percent margin in an American Research Group (ARG) poll released this weekend, drawing especially strong support from tea party backers.
Gingrich’s big Georgia prize
North Dakota and Alaska: Up for grabs
No polling has been released ahead of the Alaska and North Dakota caucuses, and it’s not clear if any candidate has a distinct advantage. Romney won both Alaska and North Dakota convincingly in 2008 when he was running as the conservative alternative to John McCain. But his campaign has struggled to woo the most conservative voters this year.
Correction: An earlier version of this post stated that Romney won 24 percent support in the 2008 Idaho primary. Romney won no support in that contest and had dropped out of the nomination race in February.