South Carolina hosted the third test in the 2016 primary election for the Republican Candidates and just three days later, the Republican field was heading to Nevada. The last tests before the important “Super Tuesday” on March 1st. This leaves some important questions: Who won? Who lost? And what do these results mean?

The Winners: As the headline indicates, the big winner on the 20th of February in the South Carolina Primary and on the 23rd in the Nevada Caucus was Donald Trump. The anti-establishment candidate won both states with double-digit margins and, thus, put himself in the lead of the race for the Republican presidential nomination. (You can see the full list of results at the bottom of this page.) The only other candidate who can be positive after the two states is Marco Rubio. Rubio went neck and neck with Ted Cruz in both cases, thereby recovering from his disappointing performance in New Hampshire.


The Losers: The biggest loser after South Carolina and Nevada is arguably Jeb Bush. The former establishment favorite already withdrew his candidacy after going into single digits in South Carolina – a state where “the Bush'” usually do well. Another candidate who might be disappointed is John Kasich who finished second in New Hampshire but ended up far from top three in both South Carolina and Nevada. Finally, there is Cruz who as mentioned went very close with Rubio for second and third place in both states, albeit far after Trump. But especially the decisive loss to Trump in South Carolina, a state with many evangelical voters who are the core of Cruz’ presidential hopes, hurt the Cruz campaign.

What do these results mean? The Results from the South Carolina Primary and the Nevada Caucus seem to have limited the remaining five-man field to three candidates with a realistic chance and two without one. The three who are still “in it to win it” are of course Trump, Rubio and Cruz. However, of the three, Trump definitively has the momentum and upper hand after three straight wins going into Super Tuesday on March 1st. The two without much hope, Kasich and Ben Carson, are arguably without chances, but will perhaps stay in the race until Super Tuesday in the hope of doing well in some states and cause an upset. But for Kasich it seems that despite his strong second in New Hampshire, Rubio has won the establishment’s vote, leaving Kasich without a strong base to draw support from. The same is the case with Carson, who have seen Trump sweep up most of the anti-establishment votes away from the retired neuron surgeon.

With less than a week until Super Tuesday, the race for the Republican nomination is still open, but after these results Donald Trump, once considered an unrealistic candidate, is now the favorite. However, 14 states will pick their preferred candidate in less than a week during Super Tuesday (so far, only four states have done so) and this will inevitably have a huge impact and might also bring changes among the front-runners.

The Numbers*:

The Republican race:

In South Carolina:

  1. Donald Trump 33%
  2. Marco Rubio 23%
  3. Ted Cruz 22%
  4. Jeb Bush 8%
  5. John Kasich 8%
  6. Ben Carson 7%

In Nevada (you can read all about the Democrat’s caucus in Nevada here):

  1. Donald Trump 46%
  2. Marco Rubio 24%
  3. Ted Cruz 22%
  4. Ben Carson 5%
  5. John Kasich 4%

*Numbers taken from CNN’s estimates.

Want to read more about the candidates? Head on over to the candidates’ page.

(Photo credit: Wikimedia & Gage Skidmore)