It’s make-or-break day for Republican presidential candidates John Kasich and Marco Rubio.
Or think of Super Tuesday II — where voters go to the polls in Florida, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina and Ohio — as a Saturday in the fall.
The noon game features U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Clinton, kind of like Vandy and ’Bama.
Clinton has the huge lead in delegates — 1,231 to 576. But the pesky Sanders is hoping for an upset, after last week’s Michigan contest.
An average of recent polls by Real Clear Politics has Clinton leading by double digits in Florida and North Carolina, with the the states’ combined 321 delegates. (Of course, polls said Clinton had a double-digit lead in Michigan, too. And Bernie won.)
The races are closer in Ohio, where Clinton leads by 8.3 points for its 143 delegates, and Illinois, where she leads by 2.3 points for its 156 delegates. And Sanders has a 1-point lead in Missouri, with its 71 delegates.
The problem, for Sanders, is Democrats award their delegates proportionately. So, in all likelihood, Clinton will continue to expand her delegate lead, even if Sanders wins Missouri and another state or two.
The GOP contest is the 3:30 p.m. CBS contest. Serious stuff.
If U.S. Sen. Rubio does not win his home state of Florida with its 99 winner-take-all delegates, his campaign is over. If Gov. Kasich does not win his home state of Ohio and its winner-take-all 66 delegates, he’s out.
The polls suggest Rubio is a goner, down 18.7 points to Trump in Florida. However, Kasich could fare better in Ohio, leading Trump by 3.3 points.
The real GOP stories could be in Illinois, Missouri and North Carolina. Trump leads U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas in each state – by from 7 to 12.8 points – but Cruz could be poised to spring upsets in Illinois and Missouri.
The GOP’s anybody-but-Trump movement can only hope so. A Trump sweep Tuesday could make the bombastic billionaire the all-but-inevitable GOP nominee.