The presidential primary season began on February 1, establishing underdog challenger Bernie Sanders as a viable opponent to one of the most celebrated public officials, Hillary Clinton.
As the first election in the nation, the Iowa caucuses were of extreme importance to the outcome of the presidential race, setting the tone for the next 56 caucuses and primaries. Martin O’Malley dropped out before the final numbers of the race were revealed, which put him at .54% of the popular vote. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, beat Bernie Sanders by a mere quarter of a percent — she received 49.84% of the popular vote as opposed to his 49.59%.
In New Hampshire, however, the results were much more obvious. Sanders won approximately 60% of the vote, while Clinton took 38%. Some attributed Sanders’ win to the proximity of New Hampshire to his home state of Vermont. While it strengthened Sanders’ campaign, his win in the first primary of the nation left him a lot of work to do.
Clinton also won the February 20 caucus in Nevada and the February 27 primary in South Carolina. Her South Carolina was a landslide as she carried nearly 75% of the votes, though the voter turnout rate was a tiny 12%. The Nevada numbers were more balanced, with Clinton just above the 50% mark and Sanders just a bit below.
On Super Tuesday, Clinton came ahead of Sanders, winning seven states to his four. Clinton easily took Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. Sanders won his home state of Vermont, along with Oklahoma, Colorado, and Minnesota. Massachusetts was a tight race, but it also went to Clinton.
Despite his meager performance on Super Tuesday, Sanders surprised statisticians the next Tuesday. He lost in Louisiana, but he won in Michigan in what analyst Nate Silver called one of the “greatest upsets in modern political history.”
Fortunately for Clinton, the third Tuesday proved lucky for her. Her performance on March 15 was strong, where she managed to win Florida by a landslide. Sanders shrunk the gap in Ohio and North Carolina, and virtually tied in Illinois and Missouri, beating Clinton by a single delegate in Missouri.