Poll: Bernie Sanders Takes Commanding Lead in California Primary Race

Democratic presidential hopeful, Vermont Senator, Bernie Sanders speaks to supporters during a campaign rally in Los Angeles, California on November 16, 2019. (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP) (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)
Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has pulled away from White House rival Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) as he continues to lead California’s Democrat primary race, according to a newly-released poll.

In a statewide survey conducted by UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies for the Los Angeles Times, Sanders has 26 percent of support among likely voters in the state’s primary election that is scheduled for March 3. Warren still places second with 20 percent support — a two-percent drop from 22 percent in November, and a nine-percent drop from 29 percent back in September.

While nationwide polls say former Vice President Joe Biden remains the Democrat frontrunner, he trails Sanders and Warren in California, garnering 15 percent support in third place.

The poll found former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg in fourth place with seven percent support, while former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg ranks fifth at six percent. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) is in sixth with five percent, and technology entrepreneur Andrew Yang in seventh place at four percent. Behind Yang is billionaire and longtime Californian Tom Steyer, who received a mere two percent support.

“California’s primary electorate is relatively liberal,” Eric Schickler, co-director of UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies, said. “The state is more conducive to one of the candidates on the left.”

The Los Angeles Times notes:

Sanders, Warren and Biden are the only candidates with enough support currently to win any of the state’s delegates to the Democratic nominating convention this summer.

Under state Democratic Party’s rules, delegates go to candidates who get at least 15% of the vote statewide or in a congressional district. The rest of the Democratic field remains far below that threshold, in single digits.

California’s March 3 primary will allocate 416 of the state’s 495 convention delegates, by far the largest group from any state. The rest are elected officials and others who attend as unpledged so-called super-delegates.

The UC Berkeley IGS survey was conducted between January 15-21, with 6,845 respondents; 2,895 participants said they are likely to vote in the state’s primary contest. The margin of error is approximately plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.

The California poll comes as Sanders has taken the lead in key, early primary states such as Iowa, the nation’s first caucus contest, as well as New Hampshire.

According to an NBC10 Boston/Franklin Pierce University/Boston Herald survey, Sanders has garnered 29 percent support in New Hampshire, while is in second place Biden at 22 percent. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) placed third with 16 percent. An Emerson College poll said Sanders leads Biden — 30 to 21 percent — among registered Democrats and leftwing independent voters.

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