SANTA MONICA — Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) may have caught former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the latest polls, but he will have to win more than two-thirds of the votes cast on Election Day, June 7, to win the California primary.
That is because Clinton leads 58% to 41% among early voters. A Field poll released Tuesday projects that about 8 million Californians will participate in the primary, of whom 5 million will have voted early by mail. Extrapolating poll numbers leads to the conclusion that Sanders must win at least 65% of the 3 million votes being cast at the polls on primary day.
The Field poll suggests that voting by mail will be slightly down from the primary election of 2014. As Breitbart News noted recently:
According to the office of the California Secretary of State, since 2008 more than half of all ballots in primary elections have been cast by mail, reaching 69.40% in 2014. In 2012, more than half of all ballots in the general election were cast by mail for the first time, rising to 60.52% in 2014.
The Field poll projects that about 62.5% of ballots will be cast by mail in the 2016 primary. The proportion may have dropped, but the overall number is expected to be a record — more than the 3.8 million ballots cast by mail in the 2008 primary, and the 3.5 million ballots cast by mail in the 2012 primary.
About 1.5 million new voters have been registered in recent weeks, especially among young voters, whom Sanders is winning by large margins. A recent NBC/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll put Sanders’s lead among first-time participants at 72% to 28%. The question is whether those new voters will turn out to vote.
A Sanders win would give his campaign momentum to fight until the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in July. A loss would likely mean the end of his effort, though he continues to promise the convention will be “contested” regardless.
Sanders will watch and react to the results from Santa Monica; Clinton will watch the returns from multiple primaries in her campaign headquarters in Brooklyn. She was declared the presumptive nominee on Monday, according to an Associated Press count that includes both pledged delegates and party “superdelegates.”
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. His new e-book, Leadership Secrets of the Kings and Prophets: What the Bible’s Struggles Teach Us About Today, is on sale through Amazon Kindle Direct. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.