The unpredictability of polling in Nevada has left it unclear whether each party’s presumed presidential front-runner will pull off a victory.
And while Republican Donald Trump has been ahead in polls, strategists say Ted Cruz has shown success at mobilizing caucus supporters.
The timing of the contests could throw a wrench into Nevada’s results, as well, with the GOP caucuses scheduled for Tuesday, three days after the party’s South Carolina primary.
Nevada, which became an early-voting state in 2008, has dubbed itself the “first-in-the-West” caucuses.
Here’s a breakdown of how the Silver State’s contest works and what to watch for.
“The only person who can potentially top Trump in Nevada is Ted Cruz, just because he’s been demonstrating himself to be very effective with mobilizing in caucuses,” said Ford O’Connell, a GOP strategist who worked on John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign.
Marco Rubio, John Kasich and Jeb Bush are all competing for GOP establishment voters, and whoever among them emerges from South Carolina as the strongest might have some momentum going into Nevada.
“I think that the real race here between South Carolina and Nevada is who consistently finishes first among the mainstream candidates and whether or not Cruz is actually able to overcome Donald Trump in one of these two places,” O’Connell said.