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American Review of Politics


In presidential primaries, Super Tuesday elections play a significant role in winnowing candidate fields and establishing nomination frontrunners. Despite their importance, scholars know little about why and how candidates win or lose the states comprising these events. This study explores which factors help explain candidate performance in Super Tuesday primaries between 2008 and 2016. Using pooled cross-sectional time-series analysis, the results indicate three key drivers of Super Tuesday success: candidate viability, public attention, and media attention. These findings imply that presidential campaigns continue to be complex electoral events beyond the early primary states and suggest that underdog candidates can still win states under the right conditions. Future research should explore the interrelatedness of these three critical factors.