A not-so-super Tuesday?

Feb. 5 will be important, but it's mathematically impossible for anyone to lock up the nomination then.

Published January 24, 2008 2:54PM (EST)

With so many states voting on Feb. 5, the old "Super Tuesday" moniker has somehow seemed insufficient. Maybe it's Woozy Tuesday, or Super-Duper Tuesday, or Tsunami Tuesday.

Or maybe it's just another day on the election calendar.

As the Associated Press reports, the delegate counts are so close in both the Republican and the Democratic presidential races that it's mathematically impossible for anyone to lock up either nomination on the Date Formerly Known as Super.

OK, but won't we have clear, all-over-but-the-shouting front-runners by the time all the votes are in on Feb. 5? Maybe, but maybe not.

On the Democratic side, the delegate count could still be close after Feb. 5 even if one candidate sweeps, say, California, New York and Illinois. Because the Democrats award delegates proportionally in those states, a running-the-table winner might still walk away with only a few more delegates than a three-state loser.

On the Republican side, New York, New Jersey, Missouri and Arizona each give all of their delegates to the winner in the state, meaning some GOP candidate could take a big delegate lead over the others on Feb. 5. "But," the AP cautions, "a candidate would have to attract support across the country" to build such a formidable lead, and the stutter-step start to the GOP nominating process would suggest that that's going to be pretty difficult to do.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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