What to watch for in Tuesday's primaries in Arizona, Idaho and Utah

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A Look at the Arizona and Utah Primaries

The 2016 primary battle heads West Tuesday night as three states hold key contests that will help determine if and when Republican frontrunner Donald Trump and Democratic leader Hillary Clinton are able to secure their parties' presidential nominations.

Democrats are going to the polls in Arizona, as well as caucuses in Idaho and Utah. Republicans are voting in Arizona and caucusing in Utah. The first polls will close at 9:00 p.m. ET in Idaho while doors don't close in the GOP caucuses in Utah until 1:00 a.m. ET.

Trump leads the GOP field with 685 delegates, according to NBC News' delegate tracker. Ted Cruz is in a distant second with 427 delegates. Hillary Clinton has amassed more than 1,500 delegates to Bernie Sanders 868.

Anti-Trump protests in Arizona and New York City

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Weekend anti-Trump protests in Arizona and New York City
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What to watch for in Tuesday's primaries in Arizona, Idaho and Utah
TOPSHOT - People rally as they take part in a protest against Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump in New York on March 19,2016. / AFP / KENA BETANCUR (Photo credit should read KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 19: People take part in a protest against Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, on March 19, 2016 in New York City. People protest against Trump's policies which threaten the Immigration system and many of the Latino, Black, LGBT, Muslim, and other communities. (Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - A woman holds a sign during a protest rally against Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump in New York on March 19,2016. / AFP / KENA BETANCUR (Photo credit should read KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 19: People clash with protesters while they take part in a march against Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, on March 19, 2016 in New York City. People protest against Trump's policies which threaten the Immigration system and many of the Latino, Black, LGBT, Muslim, and other communities. (Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally Saturday, March 19, 2016, in Fountain Hills, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)
Protesters stand in the crowd of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump supporters as Trump speaks during a campaign rally, Saturday, March 19, 2016, in Fountain Hills, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)
PHOENIX, AZ - MARCH 19: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to guest gathered at Fountain Park during a campaign rally on March 19, 2016 in Fountain Hills, Arizona. Trump visits Arizona for the second time in three months as he looks to gain the GOP nomination for President. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
FOUNTAIN HILLS, AZ - MARCH 19: Protesters filter into the crowd of Trump supporters during a campaign rally at Fountain Park on March 19, 2016 in Fountain Hills, Arizona. Trumps visit to Arizona is the second time in three months as he looks to gain the GOP nomination for President. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
FOUNTAIN HILLS, AZ - MARCH 19: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to guest gathered at Fountain Park during a campaign rally on March 19, 2016 in Fountain Hills, Arizona. Trumps visit to Arizona is the second time in three months as he looks to gain the GOP nomination for President. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, AZ - MARCH 19: Protesters filter into the crowd of Trump supporters during a campaign rally at Fountain Park on March 19, 2016 in Fountain Hills, Arizona. Trumps visit to Arizona is the second time in three months as he looks to gain the GOP nomination for President. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
FOUNTAIN HILLS, AZ - MARCH 19: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to guest gathered at Fountain Park during a campaign rally on March 19, 2016 in Fountain Hills, Arizona. Trump visits Arizona for the second time in three months as he looks to gain the GOP nomination for President. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
A supporter for Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., gives the thumbs down sign to a fellow Sanders' supporter wearing a Donald Trump mask during a campaign rally, Saturday, March 19, 2016 in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)
A contingent of Black Lives Matter protesters try to shout down Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump as he speaks during a campaign rally Saturday, March 19, 2016, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
A woman holds a sign during a protest rally against Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump in New York on March 19,2016. / AFP / KENA BETANCUR (Photo credit should read KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)
People rally as they take part in a protest against Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump in New York on March 19,2016. / AFP / KENA BETANCUR (Photo credit should read KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 19: A NYPD officer tries to keep an eye on protesters while they take part in a protest against Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, on March 19, 2016 in New York City. People protest against Trump's policies which threaten the Immigration system and many of the Latino, Black, LGBT, Muslim, and other communities. (Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 19: People march while they take part in a protest against Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, on March 19, 2016 in New York City. People protest against Trump's policies which threaten the Immigration system and many of the Latino, Black, LGBT, Muslim, and other communities. (Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)
A man is taken into custody during an anti Donald Trump protest, Saturday, March 19, 2016, in New York. Several hundred demonstrators gathered in New York City to protest Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
New York Police officers(NYPD) walk among a protest rally against Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump in New York on March 19, 2016. / AFP / KENA BETANCUR (Photo credit should read KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 19: People take part in a protest against Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, on March 19, 2016 in New York City. People protest against Trump's policies which threaten the Immigration system and many of the Latino, Black, LGBT, Muslim, and other communities. (Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 19: A man falls down as NYPD officers try to arrest protesters while they take part in demonstrations against Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, on March 19, 2016 in New York City. People protest against Trump's policies which threaten the Immigration system and many of the Latino, Black, LGBT, Muslim, and other communities. (Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 19: People march while they take part in a protest against Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, on March 19, 2016 in New York City. People protest against Trump's policies which threaten the Immigration system and many of the Latino, Black, LGBT, Muslim, and other communities. (Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 19: NYPD officers arrest a protester while they take part in a demonstrations against Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, on March 19, 2016 in New York City. People protest against Trump's policies which threaten the Immigration system and many of the Latino, Black, LGBT, Muslim, and other communities. (Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 19: People take part in a protest against Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, on March 19, 2016 in New York City. People protest against Trump's policies which threaten the Immigration system and many of the Latino, Black, LGBT, Muslim, and other communities. (Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)
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Going forward, Clinton and Trump's opponents need to start not only winning nearly every upcoming primary, but doing so by very large margins to shrink the delegate leads of the two frontrunners. For the anti-Trump movement in the Republican Party, which simply wants to stop Trump from getting to 1,237 delegates, it is vital that Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich beat the real estate in winner-take-all primaries and limit his delegate allocation in states that are proportional.

Will the resistances to Clinton and Trump have any success this week? Here's what to watch for in Tuesday's contests:

The GOP Race in Arizona and Utah: Trump Looks Strong in Southwest, While Cruz Favored in Utah

If Trump loses the Utah caucuses, Mitt Romney is likely to be given credit, since he publicly said on Friday that he would be voting in the state's caucus for Ted Cruz. Romney is a well-respected figure in Utah, as perhaps the most famous Mormon in America and the man who organized the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City.

That said, Utah was already a state Trump where was positioned to lose. It is holding a caucus (the mogul does better in primaries), has a large college-educated population (Trump has more support among those without bachelor's degrees) and does not have the kind of tension about its growing Latino population that exists in states like Arizona. Mormons generally attend church frequently, another factor that often makes one less likely to back Trump. And Utah has a very small black population, while Trump tends to be very strong in states with more African-Americans.

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A candidate who gets more than 50 percent of the statewide vote in Utah collects all of its delegates, so Cruz could get a major delegate haul if Trump is as weak here as expected. Polls have shown Cruz with a big lead in this race, and the Texas senator has tended to do well in caucuses and in Western states.

This is where Romney's remarks may have influence. The 2012 GOP nominee urged anti-Trump Republicans in Utah to back Cruz and not Kasich, even though Romney has not formally endorsed either man and campaigned alongside Kasich last week.

For Cruz to reach 50 percent, he needs anti-Trump voters to unify behind him, not split between Cruz and Kasich as they have in other states.

The Texas senator winning all the delegates would help him narrow his deficit to Trump, but is perhaps even more to the "Never Trump" movement, for which every delegate is significant to stopping Trump from getting 1237.

Utah is the kind of state where Trump could finish third, behind Kasich as well. And while that matters little in the delegate count, the results there could be the latest illustration of the concern with Trump among the upper-income, elite bloc of the GOP that prefers candidates like Romney.

In contrast to Utah, Arizona is a great state for Trump. The electorate is likely to be older than in most states, and older voters generally prefer the mogul more than younger ones. The political debate over immigration has been tense and long-standing in Arizona. The state has a large Latino population (30 percent) but few Latinos are expected to cast ballots in the Arizona GOP primary.

Arizona's electorate is akin to Florida's, but without the Cuban-Americans who voted in the GOP primary there and backed Marco Rubio.

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Trump has not yet won 50 percent of the vote in any state. Arizona could be the first, and it is winner-take-all. Trump is very likely to leave Tuesday's primaries having won more delegates than any of his opponents.

For Democrats: States with Tiny Black Populations Could Prove Boon for Bernie Sanders

Clinton has won the white vote in some states, particularly in the South, while whites backed Sanders in many states in the Midwest and the North. Latinos have favored Clinton, but they have not been a huge part of the electorate in most states.

Hillary Clinton's potential running mates

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Hillary Clinton potential running mates, VPs
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What to watch for in Tuesday's primaries in Arizona, Idaho and Utah

Tim Kaine

The junior Democratic Senator from the swing state of Virginia could be a strategic selection for Hillary. Kaine also served as the governor of Virginia from 2006- 2010.

(Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Elizabeth Warren

The current U.S. Senator from Massachusetts is popular among progressive Democrats, and some even tried to draft her to run for president herself in 2016. 

(Photo by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Sherrod Brown

Insiders believe that the senior U.S. Senator from Ohio could help Clinton increase her popularity with working-class voters, a group she has yet to win in a big way so far in primary contests.  

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Cory Booker

The U.S. Senator from New Jersey is both youthful and charismatic and would add racial diversity to a Clinton ticket. 

(Photo by KK Ottesen for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Tom Perez

The current U.S. Secretary of Labor is considered a sleeper pick by many Democrats because he is not well known outside of D.C., but some believe his strength and popularity among union workers and other progressive groups could be an asset to Clinton's ticket. 

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Julian Castro

The former mayor of San Antonio and current U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development has been rumored as a possible running mate for Clinton for months, but in May he said in an interview that the Clinton campaign hasn't talked to him about the role.

(AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Amy Klobuchar

Insiders confirmed that Clinton is definitely considering a woman as her vice presidential pick, and as U.S. Senator from Minnesota, Klobuchar has a seat Democrats would likely maintain. She's also been described as "by far" the most popular politician in her state. 

 (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)

Bernie Sanders

The Independent from Vermont has become Hillary Clinton's primary rival for the Democratic nomination, garnering a surprising amount of support. Bringing Sanders onto the ticket could help to unite both sets of supporters who have been split in Democratic primaries.

(Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)

Martin O'Malley

A former 2016 rival of Hillary Clinton, and former Maryland governor, Martin O’Malley could help bring some executive experience, along with a slight youthful boost to the ticket.

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Tom Vilsack

The Secretary of Agriculture since 2009, Tom Vilsack also served as the governor of Iowa from 1999 to 2007. Vilsack could bring some governing experience along with swing state influence.  

(BELGIUM - Tags: AGRICULTURE POLITICS BUSINESS)

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper delivers his annual State of the State address to lawmakers and guests, inside the state legislature, in Denver, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016. Hickenlooper called upon Republicans and Democrats to return to an era of civility and compromise in his address to the Republican-controlled Senate and the Democrat-led House. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

Evan Bayh 

Evan Bayh could bring a more right leaning brand of politics to the ticket. Bayh previously served as the junior U.S. Senator from Indiana from 1999 to 2011, and also as the 46th Governor of Indiana from 1989 to 1997.  

Joe Biden

While the likelihood of him agreeing to take on the veep job again might be low, Biden's popularity among Democrats would likely boost Clinton's chances. 

(Photo credit MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Bill Clinton

Hillary's husband is technically allowed to serve in the job, and some legal experts even think he'd be able to take office if necessary. Unfortunately for the diehard Clinton supporters, a Clinton-Clinton ticket will probably be a dream that never comes true. 

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

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But Clinton winning more than 80 percent of the black vote in several states has been the decisive factor in helping her accumulate a huge delegate lead.

Sanders' aides have argued the primary calendar is more favorable to him now, and they are right in the sense that most large states with heavily-black Democratic electorates have already held their primaries. Nationally, African-Americans are about 13 percent of the population. They are far less represented in Arizona (5 percent), Utah (1 percent) and Idaho (1 percent.)

Idaho (27 delegates) and Utah (37), which are holding caucuses, are the kinds of places where Sanders should be able to win overwhelmingly. They are in some ways similar in demographics to Kansas (68 percent for Sanders), Colorado (59 percent for Sanders) and Nebraska (57 percent for Sanders.)\

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The challenge for Sanders is Arizona, which has more delegates (85) than Idaho and Utah combined. About 18 percent of the voters in the 2008 Arizona Democratic primary were Latino. That number is likely to increase in 2016, with the state's Latino population overall having gone up.

And if Latino voters favor Clinton in Arizona, as they have in other states, this will prevent Sanders from a huge margin in the state that allows him to sweep the delegates. And the former secretary of state could win outright in Arizona.

This is a perpetual problem for Sanders. Large states tend to have bigger black and Latino populations. Sanders needs to start performing much better among black and Latino voters to have a chance at accumulating the delegates needed for the nomination.

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