A new Field Poll released Tuesday shows that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and businessman Donald Trump lead among Republican primary voters in California by a wide margin, with Cruz at 25% and Trump at 23%, a statistical tie.
Together, Cruz and Trump account for nearly half of the Republican vote in California.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is a distant third, at 13%. Cruz has surged since the fall, when he was not even in the top four in California.
Though Cruz and Trump are in a dead heat, there are reasons to think Cruz has the edge. Cruz is the top second choice for California Republicans at 22%, while 14% pick Rubio and only 11% choose Trump as their second choice.
In addition, “Cruz holds the most positive image profile of any of the candidates, with 69% of this state’s likely GOP electorate viewing him favorably and 20% unfavorably,” while Trump is barely in positive territory.
Moreover, the poll notes, “while pluralities of California voters hold unfavorable opinions of each Republican, many more (73%) say this about Trump than any of the other GOP candidates.”
California’s primary is held in June, and the state is a reliable Democratic lock in a general election. However, California counts for 14% of all delegates needed to win the GOP nomination.
Moreover, as Breitbart California political editor Jon Fleischman pointed out nearly a year ago, the vast majority of California’s delegates are awarded by congressional district. A moderate Republican who does well in blue districts could therefore win the delegate haul.
That will not help former Florida governor Jeb Bush, who has the highest negative rating of all candidates in the poll.
The poll included 1,003 registered voters and 325 likely Republican voters, with a margin of error of 3.2% and 5.6%, respectively.