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Super Tuesday: Trump could sweep, but Haley may surprise in these states

While former President Trump has huge leads in many Super Tuesday polls, there are a few states where his advantage isn’t quite as massive Voters in 15 U.S. states will cast their ballots Tuesday in the Republican presidential primary, with Donald Trump aiming for big wins that could push Nikki Haley into suspending her bid to become the party’s nominee.

Trump already has notched victories this year in Iowa, New Hampshire and Haley’s home state of South Carolina, while Haley appeared to open the door a week ago to halting her campaign after the Super Tuesday contests. She said March 5 was “as far as I’ve thought in terms of going forward.”

Trump has sizable leads in polls focused on Super Tuesday states, and in a number of instances the former president’s advantage over Haley is huge, such as his 77-point edge in Oklahoma and 75-point margin in Alabama. He has had leads of 50 points or more in GOP primary polls in California, Maine, Minnesota, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

But where is his advantage not quite as massive? He has had a 29-point lead in a RealClearPolitics moving average of polls for Massachusetts, along with a 27-point edge in a Utah survey and a 30-point edge in one for Vermont.

Massachusetts and Vermont are known for backing moderate Republicans, and the two New England states run open primaries that allow voting by independents, who have tended to favor Haley over Trump. In Vermont, Democrats can also vote in the GOP primary. Those two states have similarities to New Hampshire, where Trump got 54% of the vote in the Jan. 23 primary versus Haley’s 43%.

Polling shows Haley winning 82% of independents in Vermont, but such voters only make up about 24% of the GOP primary’s voting pool, Matthew Dickinson, a professor of political science at Vermont’s Middlebury College, said in a social-media post.

“Despite the poll, evidently Haley campaign officials believe Vermont may offer her the best chance at winning a state on Super Tuesday. So that explains her decision to campaign here in person on Sunday,” Dickinson added.

Meanwhile, Utah — home to the headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the Mormon Church — is viewed as offering Haley a chance for a good showing, if not actually a win, in part due to Trump’s past challenges there. In the 2016 GOP caucuses in Utah, he finished third with 14% support, behind Texas Sen. Ted Cruz with 69% and former Ohio Gov. John Kasich with 17%.

“It would be difficult to design a Republican candidate less appealing to Latter-day Saint voters than Donald Trump,” American Enterprise Institute pollster Daniel A. Cox said in a report last year. Cox said such voters tend to value “humility, modesty and frugality,” as well as “cultural pluralism and political tolerance.” But he also noted that support for Trump in 39 Mountain West counties viewed as LDS enclaves rose from an estimated 47% in 2016’s general election to 59% in 2020.

The other states where voters will cast ballots on Super Tuesday are Alaska, Arkansas and Colorado. American Samoa, a U.S. territory, will also hold its primary that day. Polling for Super Tuesday appears relatively limited for Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado and American Samoa.