Why? For starters, there's a little less at stake—we're still picking final nominees, not the president—but there's no shortage of drama. Attacks are flying, candidates are dropping out, and campaign donations are pouring in.
It's also the biggest primary showdown in recent memory, with hundreds of thousands of people heading to the polls on the same day across two dozen states.
What do you need to know heading into Tuesday? Let's set the table...
Seated on the right side we have four Republican candidates: Mitt Romney, Sen. John McCain, Rep. Ron Paul and Mike Huckabee. The one-time frontrunner Rudy Giuliani dropped out on Wednesday after losing the Florida primary, where he staked his entire campaign.
The real battle here is between McCain and Romney, with McCain up seven points in national polls, but Huckabee is hanging in there too.
On the left side we have two Democrats remaining: Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton. John Edwards dropped out on Wednesday saying the math for a win just didn't add up.
While Clinton is still polling ahead of Obama nationally, her lead has narrowed and he has picked up several key wins, including endorsements from JFK's brother Ted Kennedy, his daughter Caroline, and a major victory in South Carolina.
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Still, it's all about the number of delegates
Remember, the popular vote doesn't win you the nomination: It all comes down to the number of delegates you have at the party convention. Delegates are "representatives" assigned to vote for particular candidates at the conventions.
If you vote in a primary on Tuesday, your vote goes toward the number of delegates who will represent (and vote for) that candidate at the convention. How the delegates are awarded depends on the state and the party. Generally, Democrats assign delegates proportionally to the vote, Republicans use a winner-takes-all method.
The big picture
Both sides of this race are very tight. However, most pundits seem to say a Republican nominee will emerge on Tuesday. Not so, they say, for the Democrats. In this case, the fight for delegates will likely continue through to the convention in August, where there will be in-person, real-time negotiating for delegates—something not seen since 1976. How will it work? Let's see what happens Tuesday, then cross that bridge.
Now it's time to serve the meal...
You can't set a table without serving something to eat! We've whipped up a recipe for a Super Tuesday feast that's easy to make and share with friends and family.
No time for the news? No worries. We take hot topics in the news and boil them down into an easy-to-read, brief and free weekly email—just enough to help you understand the basics and the big picture—delivered right to your inbox.
So forget trying to stay on top of EVERY headline… Now get out there and show them what you know at that next interview!