March 8 Primary Cheat Sheet

Everything you need to prepare for Tuesday’s contests.

Republican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump, second from left, gestures as Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich watch him a Republican presidential primary debate at Fox Theatre, Thursday, March 3, 2016, in Detroit.
AP Photo/Paul Sancya
Adam Wollner
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Adam Wollner
March 7, 2016, 8 p.m.

Four states from very different parts of the country — Michigan, Mississippi, Idaho and Hawaii — hold presidential nominating contests Tuesday. There are 150 delegates up for grabs on the Republican side and 166 pledged delegates at stake for the Democrats. Here is what you need to know before the results start pouring in:


Poll Times: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET. (A handful of counties in the Upper Peninsula are open 8 a.m. to 9 p.m ET.)

Delegates: The Republicans have 59 delegates allocated proportionally based on the statewide results with a 15 percent threshold. If a candidate takes more than half the vote, he receives all the delegates. The Democrats have 130 pledged delegates allocated proportionally with a 15 percent threshold and 18 super delegates.  

What To Watch For: This is the biggest delegate prize of the day for both parties, and Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton enter as the favorites. Both primaries are open to any voter, regardless of party registration. For the Republicans, keep an eye on Oakland County, which produced the most GOP votes in the past two primaries. Trump should find support in areas like Macomb County where white, blue-collar voters hold sway. The western part of the state was kinder to Rick Santorum in 2012 and could be fertile territory for Ted Cruz this time around.

On the Democratic side, Clinton hopes to repeat her strong 2008 performances in Wayne County (home to Detroit) and Genesee County (home to Flint), while Bernie Sanders will need to run up the score in Washtenaw County (home to the college town of Ann Arbor) to stay competitive.


Poll Times: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m ET.

Delegates: The Republicans have 40 delegates allocated proportionally at the statewide and congressional district level. For the at-large delegates, there’s a 15 percent threshold. In each district, the top vote-getter receives two delegates, and the runner-up receives one. If the top vote-getter clears 50 percent in a district, that candidate receives all three delegates. The Democrats have 36 pledged delegates allocated proportionally with a 15 percent threshold and five super delegates.

What To Watch For: Trump and Clinton are also the front-runners here. Both parties’ primaries are open to all voters. This will be one of the last remaining states where evangelicals play an outsized role: They accounted for 83 percent of the GOP primary electorate in 2012. Marco Rubio will need to do well in Hinds County, where Jackson is located, and the surrounding Madison and Rankin counties, as that is where many of the state’s wealthy, college-educated voters are.

Religious voters are important on the Democratic side, too. Nearly 6 in 10 voters in the 2008 primary said they attended church once a week. Black voters, which account for 37 percent of Mississippi’s population, will also be critical, another factor in Clinton’s favor. Democratic-heavy Hinds County, where Barack Obama dominated eight years ago, is a key area to watch.


Poll Times: The polls are open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET in the southern part of the state, which is in the Mountain Time Zone, and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET in the northern part, which is in the Pacific Time Zone.

Delegates: The Republicans have 32 delegates allocated at the statewide level with a 20 percent threshold. If a candidate takes more than half the vote, he receives all the delegates.  

What To Watch For: Only registered Republicans can vote in the primary, but same-day registration is permitted. Cruz and Rubio campaigned in Idaho in the days leading up to the primary, but Trump, who has struggled in closed contests, did not make a trip. Mitt Romney and John McCain won the last two nominating contests here. The state’s two most populous counties, Ada County (home to Boise) and Bonneville County (home to Idaho Falls) should point to the direction the state is going.


Poll Times: Caucus locations are open from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. ET.

Delegates: The Republicans have 19 delegates allocated proportionally based on the statewide and congressional district results with no threshold.

What To Watch For: No Republican presidential hopeful paid a visit to Hawaii this cycle. The caucuses are open only to registered Republicans, but voters are allowed to register at their polling place the day of the election. Romney and McCain won the state’s last two caucuses. Most of the Republican votes are located in Honolulu County, so whoever carries that county Tuesday will likely win the whole state.

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