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United States Elections

March 17 Primaries: Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Ohio

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March 17 Primaries - 2020 election

While America is in crisis alongside the rest of the world, the March 17 primaries in the 2020 presidential race will progress as planned.

For many, politics is the furthest thing from their minds, but in another respect, the subject of leadership has a great deal to do with the current climate in the United States. This has no doubt spurred American voters to think about who they wish to be president, whether Donald Trump, one of his Democratic opponents, or even none of the above. Indeed, this series of four March 17 elections may be a distraction from stressful goings-on, and given that few will be gathering for St. Patrick’s Day this year or watching March Madness, politics are the best game in town.

Read more on the upcoming presidential primaries and follow up on the results from March 17. Please also see our notes below on Ohio’s primary.

March 17 Primaries Map

March 17 Primaries 2020

Arizona Primary

AZ Result: Biden has won Arizona, potentially with a double-digit margin. Sanders does not appear to have scored big with the Hispanic vote. This one completed a three-state sweep on primary night.

With just 67 pledged delegates up for grabs, this is by far the least delegate-heavy state of the March 17 primaries. However, it may be the closest. This is a relative term, in that Biden is leading here like most everywhere else, but Arizona might not be a blowout. Take, for example, and March 13 Univision poll which gave Biden a 17-point lead over Bernie Sanders when he might run up bigger margins in the other three states. This same poll showed Sanders slightly ahead of but running neck-and-neck with Biden for the Latino vote.1

Sanders has had some success with the Latino vote so far, making Arizona both a state he cannot afford to lose and his only real opportunity to score a win on March 17.

Florida Primary

FL Result: This was a landslide win for Joe Biden, perhaps by about 40 points. Biden appears to have won more than 60 percent of the Democratic vote.

This is the big prize of the March 17 primaries with 219 pledged delegates, and is one of the biggest of this part of the election cycle. In years past, a decisive win in Florida has gone a long way towards deciding a party’s nominee. If, in fact, the results are as bad for Bernie Sanders as the polls suggest, Florida could deal a devastating blow to his campaign. As of Sunday night, it was estimated based on opinion polls that Biden could widen his delegate lead by over 100 based on Florida alone.2 Such a result, coupled with other defeats for Sanders, would make Biden’s delegate lead daunting.

Since the other candidates dropped out, many of whom endorsed Biden, his poll numbers in Florida skyrocketed. At this stage, a potential landslide is in the offing, and in the most important state of the night.

Illinois Primary

IL Result: Joe Biden has won the Illinois primary handily over Bernie Sanders.

Both Sanders and Biden are on the airwaves frequently in the Chicago media market, running English and Spanish-language ads to appeal to a wider demographic. (As a relevant aside, both are running ads in Illinois featuring Barack Obama.) However, just like in Florida, Biden is beginning to run away with the Land of Lincoln.

There is no denying that Biden has excelled with regards to the African-American vote at every stop across the country. Given that Chicagoland alone has a large and noteworthy black population, if those voters turn out, it’s going to be a big night for Biden in Illinois. Biden’s obvious ties to Obama probably will not hurt, either.

Illinois offers 155 pledged delegates.

Ohio Primary

Update, March 17: Ohio has closed its polls even after a judge in the state denied the governor’s request to do so. Ohio is NOT voting on March 17, with a rerun date still to be determined.

Ohio has almost as many pledged delegates as Illinois with 153, making this state just as critical to both Sanders and Biden’s chances. So far, we have not found any states appearing favorable to Bernie Sanders. We will not find one here in Ohio, either. The same story has been replicated across the country in some consequential states: Biden began pulling away from the field once it was (essentially) a two-candidate race. All indications are that Biden will win Ohio, perhaps in similar fashion to how he won Michigan on March 10. Then, Michigan was the night’s big prize, but in the March 17 primaries, Ohio is one of several delegate-rich states getting in on the fun.


1: Sergio Garcia-Rios, Ana Elena Azpurua, Jose Fernando Lopez, Javier Figueroa, and Amaya Verde, “Biden has a solid lead over Sanders in Arizona primary: Univision poll,” Univision, March 13, 2020,

2: 270ToWin, “2020 Florida Democratic Primary,” 270ToWin, March 15, 2020,

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