Viewers who want to follow live results from the March 15 primaries will be in luck, with plenty of ways to get up-to-date vote totals for critical contests in Ohio, Illinois, Florida, Missouri, and North Carolina.
Tuesday may be the most important day in the 2016 election, more so than the Iowa caucus that kicked it off and even more than Super Tuesday, the first major slate of voting. That is because both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are at the precipice of controlling the race, needing some big performances on Tuesday to essentially put away the competition and secure the nomination.
[UPDATE: Hillary Clinton has been declared the winner in Democratic races in North Carolina, Ohio, and Florida while Donald Trump has been declared winner in the Republican race in Florida. John Kasich has been declared the winner of the Republican primary in in Ohio.]
For Bernie Sanders, the results of the March 15 primaries will show if he can continue the momentum of last week’s surprising win in Michigan, where he overcame a 20-point deficit in the polls to defeat Hillary Clinton. He will likely need similar upsets in Ohio and Illinois, and there is some evidence that he’s on the way.
A poll this week from CBS showed that Bernie Sanders had actually taken a lead in Illinois.
— CBS News Politics (@CBSPolitics) March 13, 2016
A poll from NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist showed a tightening race as well, with Sanders bringing the lead down to six points, trailing Clinton 51 percent to 45 percent.
There are signs of tightening even in states Bernie Sanders is expected to lose. In Florida, where Hillary Clinton maintains 20-point leads in the polls, there is some evidence that Sanders may own the excitement gap.
The enthusiasm for Sanders is evident there, where this week he drew 9,000 people to the Florida State Fairgrounds, a group that Florida Politics called “a multicultural mix of citizens.” On the same day and in the same city, Hillary Clinton drew just 600 people to a midday rally.
Sanders said that turnout will be key to winning on Tuesday, and on that front he could already be behind. Early voting in Florida has been dominated by older voters, the over-65 demographic that leans very heavily toward Hillary Clinton.
“On Tuesday there is going to be a very important primary here in Florida,” Sanders told the crowds at Expo Hall. “If there is a large voter turnout, we will win.”
— The Bern Report (@bernreport) March 11, 2016
As FiveThirtyEight noted, results from the March 15 primaries will be key to showing what happens next in the presidential race.
“Bernie Sanders’s surprise win in Michigan last week upended the Democratic presidential primary. Or not — Hillary Clinton still has a big lead in pledged delegates. Here’s the big question for Democrats right now: Was Michigan a fluke? If so, Clinton will easily win Ohio on Tuesday, along with Florida and North Carolina. If not, Sanders could win the Buckeye State. Illinois and Missouri, meanwhile, look to be more competitive regardless of what really happened in Michigan.”
On the Republican side, the March 15 primary results will offer Donald Trump the chance to put a stranglehold on the nomination. He faces a strong test in Ohio and Florida, where John Kasich and Marco Rubio are making something of a last stand to stop Trump. The votes will also show whether a continual drubbing of Trump from opponents and Republican insiders alike.
If Trump can maintain his lead, it will give others including Ted Cruz little time and few avenues for mounting a comeback.
Live results from the March 15 primary elections —- including up-to-date voter counts for Florida, Ohio, Missouri, Illinois, and North Carolina — can be found here.
[Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images]