(NEW YORK) — Mitt Romney is in a solid position heading into Super Tuesday, poised to win at least four states by wide margins.
In Idaho, Massachusetts, Vermont and Virginia, Romney is expected to gather large swaths of the vote, setting up high expectations in the 10 Super Tuesday contests, leaving Ohio as the battleground that could make or break his evening.
But how will Romney fare in the logistical battle for delegates, the “real” measure of which candidate has edged closer to the nomination?
In theory, Romney should be able to win between 215 and 250 delegates on Tuesday — about half of the 437 at stake, and more than any other single candidate. But that’s more of a guess than a hard prediction.
The Republican Party’s tangled delegate system allows each state to devise its own rules, and all those rules differ from one another in subtle or radical ways. To accurately predict who will win which delegates where, one has to know how each congressional district will vote, whether certain candidates will meet 15 percent or 20 percent thresholds in districts and states, and whether some states will become winner-take-all if enough votes go to the leader.
Not all of the 437 Super Tuesday delegates will be “awarded,” as most states will send three party officials to the national convention as unbound delegates.
A candidate will need 1,144 delegates to win the nomination. Romney currently leads with 184 delegates, according to the latest ABC News delegate estimate. Rick Santorum (91), Newt Gingrich (30) and Ron Paul (23) follow.
Those numbers include ABC’s projections of how unbound and not-yet-selected caucus-state delegates will vote. Strictly in terms of delegates who have already been awarded, Romney (118) still leads, with Gingrich (29), Santorum (17) and Paul (8) following.
If no candidate reaches 1,144 delegates by August, Republicans will decide their nominee on the floor of their national convention in Tampa, Fla.
Here are the delegates at stake in the 10 contests being held on Super Tuesday:
1. Georgia (Primary), 76 delegates
2. Ohio (Primary), 66 delegates
3. Tennessee (Primary), 58 delegates
4. Virginia (Primary), 49 delegates
5. Oklahoma (Primary), 43 delegates
6. Massachusetts (Primary), 41 delegates
7. Idaho (Caucus), 32 delegates
8. North Dakota (Caucus), 28 delegates
9. Alaska (Caucus), 27 delegates
10. Vermont (Primary), 17 delegates
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio