May 26, 2016

In News

Poll: Clinton and Sanders in dead heat in California

By STEVEN SHEPARD 05/26/16 12:01 AM EDT

California looms largest in the Democratic presidential race. | AP Photo

California looms largest in the Democratic presidential race. | AP Photo

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are virtually deadlocked in California, the biggest prize of the 2016 Democratic presidential primary season, according to a new poll.
The survey, conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California, finds Clinton with only a small lead over Sanders, 46 percent to 44 percent, among likely voters in the Democratic primary next month.
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The poll also shows a majority of Republican primary voters will cast their ballots for Donald Trump, who is joined on the ballot with four of his one-time rivals for the GOP nomination. And, in the closely watched all-party primary to replace retiring Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer, two Democrats are poised to advance to the general election.
California looms largest in the Democratic presidential race, however: Clinton is likely to clinch the nomination on the evening of June 7 — factoring in the expressed preferences of unpledged superdelegates — even before polls close in California. But a victory over Sanders in California later that night could ratify Clinton’s nomination in the minds of many voters.
A Sanders win, on the other hand, creates an awkward situation for Clinton, who could be celebrating being dubbed the “presumptive nominee” even as she loses the nation’s largest state — and one of its most diverse.
The PPIC poll shows the race breaking along familiar lines. Sanders holds a large advantage among younger voters — leading 66 percent to 27 percent among voters under age 45 — while Clinton leads, 59 percent to 28 percent, among voters 45 and older.

Other major cleavages, according to the poll, include ideology (Sanders leads by 29 points among “very liberal” voters, while Clinton leads by 21 points among those who are “somewhat liberal), education (college graduates back Clinton by 19 points, while those without a degree support Sanders by 7 points) and home ownership (homeowners support Clinton by 17 points, and renters go for Sanders by a 20-point margin).
But the survey shows only a small gender gap. Sanders holds a 4-point edge with men, and Clinton leads by 7 points among female voters.
There’s also little difference between white voters, who favor Clinton by a 6-point margin, and Hispanics, who back the former secretary of state by 9 points.
Voters registered as Democrats and those who declined to state a party when they registered are eligible to vote in the Democratic primary — and the poll shows differences between them. Clinton has an 8-point lead among registered Democrats, with decline-to-state voters tilting toward Sanders.
The poll was conducted over a relatively long period of time — May 13-22 — and surveyed 552 likely Democratic primary voters. The margin of error is plus or minus 5.7 percentage points.
Among likely GOP primary voters, about two-thirds, 67 percent, say they will vote for Trump. Just over a quarter, 26 percent, say they will vote for someone else.

And in the Senate race, two Democrats are leading the top-two, all-party primary: Attorney General Kamala Harris is ahead of Rep. Loretta Sanchez, 27 percent to 19 percent.
The three Republican candidates are all in the single digits — former state GOP chair Tom Del Beccaro at 8 percent, businessman and publisher Ron Unz at 6 percent and Duf Sundheim, another former state party chairman, at 3 percent — raising the possibility that the GOP could get shut out of the general election.
But, according to the poll, 46 percent of Republican voters — and 31 percent of voters overall — remain undecided, so late movement could propel one of the GOP candidates closer to the top two slots.
The poll included 996 likely voters in the Senate race and 284 likely GOP primary voters; those samples carry margins of error plus or minus 4.3 percent and 7.4 percent, respectively.
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