The frenzied presidential election event affectionately known as "Super Tuesday" is upon us! Although all of the media focus has been all over this momentous day when over 20% of the states in the Union will cast their votes in each party's primary election, the affect on the markets is equally important.
Super Tuesday could be the strongest moment of clarity to cut through all the confusion and surprises so far this election season; or, if the results are mixed, it could add to the mess!
Super Tuesday Voting States
A few states, like Colorado and Idaho, will start tabulating votes on Super Tuesday, but won't finalize the process until much later. The 12 states that finish their full primaries on Super Tuesday are the following: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, and Virginia.
The Democrats include a slightly different group of voting states today, including territories like American Samoa and counting votes from party members abroad. You can find a full explanation of the voting states here.
What to Watch For
Here are a few key developments (and their potential consequences) to look for when the results roll in tonight.
First, does Bernie Sanders survive his biggest test yet? While the Independent senator from Vermont has done well in states in the Northeast (New Hampshire) and Midwest (Iowa), he has a glaring lack of support among the more diverse demographic groups found in the many Southern states participating on Tuesday. Even if he manages to win Minnesota and Massachusetts, a poor showing across the South for Sanders could effectively hand the nomination to Hillary Clinton.
Second, how will Texas vote on the GOP side? The 155 delegates up for grabs in the state is by far the largest of the Super Tuesday group. Per the state's Republican primary rules, Texas only allocates delegates to candidates garnering 20% or more of the vote. The Lone Star State is the key to Senator Ted Cruz's election strategy: even a second-place finish in his home state would devastate the Cruz campaign.
Finally, can Marco Rubio get on the board? Even though the Florida senator has been one of the strongest candidates in the GOP primary thus far, he has still yet to capture a first-place finish. (Ted Cruz won Iowa, and Donald Trump has won every other state so far.) Rubio is often touted as the candidate with the broadest appeal in a general election, but his chances will take a big hit if he only cobbles together a series of second-place finishes across the Super Tuesday landscape.
Incredibly, Trump remains the clear-cut front-runner and is expected to dominate across the map on Super Tuesday.
Interestingly, this batch of primary election results could have a significant impact on the markets, specifically the energy markets. In all likelihood, wins by pro-business, establishment Republicans (such as Rubio or Ohio Governor John Kasich) is beneficial for oil. Generally speaking, a more predictable candidate like Rubio or Clinton is preferable to the energy market. Victories for Trump would keep the markets on edge and spell a flight into safe haven assets like gold. For a wild card like Sanders, the thinking is that his radical agenda would stall in Congress, thereby preserving the status quo, so the global oil markets may take that as a positive sign, as well.
Obviously, Wall St would not respond well to a strong showing for the socialist Sanders—nor for Trump, actually, who has expressed protectionist positions regarding regulation, taxes, and trade that are typically seen in the Democratic Party.
The opinions and forecasts herein are provided solely for informational purposes, and should not be used or construed as an offer, solicitation, or recommendation to buy or sell any product.