February 29, 2016 6:14 pm
Updated: March 1, 2016 5:10 pm

Why Super Tuesday is such a big deal

WATCH: U.S. presidential candidates made their final push for votes ahead of Super Tuesday, when a dozen states will hold primaries. Jackson Proskow reports on the overheated rhetoric in the final hours of campaigning.

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Super Tuesday, one of the most important days in the 2016 presidential election campaign, could be the make-or-break moment for the remaining candidates in the race for the White House.

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With delegates in 11 states up for grabs, Tuesday’s slate of primaries and caucuses may not dethrone Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump‘s front runner statuses — it’s more likely their leads will be cemented — but it will certainly be a determining factor of who’s left to give them a run for their money, if that’s even possible.

READ MORE: Racial feud erupts as Republicans fight ‘unstoppable’ Trump

For Democratic hopeful Clinton, she only has one challenger: Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. He’s lagging far behind her in the delegate and superdelegate count, one month after primary and caucus season got underway in Iowa.

Clinton trounced Sanders in Iowa and she’s widely expected to take most of the southern states that make up the majority of the states holding Super Tuesday contests.

Trump, on the other hand, still has four rivals vying for the Republican nomination, only two of whom who really have a chance at trying to upset the bombastic billionaire businessman’s run.

READ MORE: Racial feud erupts as Republicans fight ‘unstoppable’ Trump

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio are duking it out for second place: Cruz has 17 delegates, so far, while Rubio has 16. Trump goes into Super Tuesday with 82.

The campaigns of Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Dr. Ben Carson are pretty much afterthoughts going into Super Tuesday. Combined, with Kasich’s six delegates and Carson’s four, they still lag behind Rubio.

Here’s how things stack up going into Super Tuesday. (Story continues below)

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(Infographic by Janet Cordahi)

But, it’s not over till it’s over.

There are a lot of delegates up for grabs Tuesday, more than 600 for the GOP. For the Democrats, there are more than 1,000 delegates at stake including the so-called superdelegates — leaders in the Democratic National Committee, elected officials and other high-ranking members of the party who can support whomever they choose, unlike pledged delegates awarded in primaries and caucuses.

According to CBS News, they make up “15 per cent of the 4,763 delegates who will attend the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia” in July.

Right now, it’s the superdelegates that have secured Clinton her wide lead over Sanders.

There are Republican superdelegates, but they’re not as big an influence on the outcome of the race and they are bound to support the candidate their state is backing for the nominations.

Regardless, there’s a long way to go for candidates in either party to reach the threshold to clinch the nomination.

Here’s a look at what’s at stake for both parties’ candidates on Super Tuesday. (Story continues below)

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(Infographic by Kevin Salvatierra)

Super Tuesday is often the turning point in campaigns, but that doesn’t mean they don’t drag on — sometimes till the bitter, bitter end.

The last time Clinton ran, she soldiered on six months after Super Tuesday, even though it was clear her bid was in peril long before that.

READ MORE: Clinton cruises to big win over Sanders in South Carolina

But when her husband, former president Bill Clinton, successfully ran for the nomination in 1992, it was but a week after Super Tuesday when he clinched the nomination.

Still, other races were pretty much secured just days after Super Tuesday.

Such was the case for both Democratic nominee Al Gore and former Republican president George W. Bush, who both clinched their nominations one week after Super Tuesday 2000.

Bush’s 2004 rival, Democratic nominee and current Secretary of State John Kerry, sealed the deal on Super Tuesday.

A look back at Super Tuesday in past campaigns

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(Infographic by Kevin Salvatierra)

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