Monday, February 29, 2016

Super Tuesday: How to Watch Tuesday's Returns Like a Data Geek

Watching primary and caucus results roll in on Tuesday night is going to feel like drinking from a firehose. Nearly a dozen states ranging from Vermont to Alaska (with the greatest concentration in the South) will hold contests for both parties. If you’re not a veteran political journalist or a data geek, it might be tough to digest that cascade of information.

That’s why RealClearPolitics has put together these tips to help you understand the results on Super Tuesday – think of it as the data geek’s guide to watching the returns.

Watch the thresholds. In order to win the GOP nomination, a candidate has to win a majority (1,237) of the delegates to the Republican convention in Cleveland. Each state basically sets its own rules on how primary results translate into delegate counts, and on Tuesday those rules generally point towards two key numbers – 15 percent and 20 percent.

What websites to watch: Some of the best elections-related content is exclusively on the Web, so I would recommend having multiple tabs of your favorite browser open on election night. Specifically, the RCP team – Tom Bevan, Carl Cannon, Sean Trende, Alexis Simendinger, Caitlin Huey-Burns, Rebecca Berg, James Arkin and I – will all be tweeting throughout the night and RCP will constantly update results. If you’re looking for good maps updated in real time, check out the Upshot. FiveThirtyEight also runs a great liveblog. And if you want high-quality content from a partisan outfit, check out Daily Kos Elections (on the left) and Ace of Spades Decision Desk (on the right). These are just a few of the sources I would recommend, but if you keep these tips in mind and check out even half of these sites, you’ll be watching the results like a true data nerd.

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