With his victory last night in the Indiana Democratic Primary, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders talked about momentum as the race heads into its final contests. The biggest prize of all remains California, the country’s biggest state with the largest number of delegates at 548. While Sanders picked up some delegates last night, overall he still trails the former Secretary of State by nearly 800 delegates. Last night, Sanders admitted that his path to the Democratic nomination remains narrow:
A new poll out of delegate-rich California could make that path nearly nonexistent. A Capitol Weekly poll out of the Golden State shows Clinton ahead of Sanders by a margin of 10 points, 49 percent to 39 percent. Sanders can take some solace in the fact that California, like Indiana, has an “open” primary, meaning that voters of any party can participate without having to declare their party allegiance, but a deeper look inside the Capitol Weekly poll shows that may not be enough to provide Sanders with a victory in California.
African-Americans and Hispanics who took part in the survey show an overwhelming preference for Clinton, and should they turn out in large numbers on June 7, any advantage Sanders might have among Independents would be negated by Clinton’s strength with those two large blocs of California voters.
Additionally, the perception of Clinton as the eventual nominee seems to be taking hold among those who were surveyed in the Capitol Weekly poll: Three out of every four likely California primary voters expect Clinton to win the nomination. And by better than a two-to-one margin, substantially more believe Clinton is a stronger general election candidate (59%) than Sanders (28%).
The findings of the Capitol Weekly poll are in line with earlier results out of California from RealClearPolitics. In their survey of likely Democratic voters, Clinton held a lead of 51 percent to Sanders’ 41 percent.
The one bit of good news for Sanders from the Capitol Weekly poll is his lead among newly registered voters, where he holds a commanding lead of 67 percent to Clinton’s 27 percent.
It remains to be seen exactly how the race will develop in the final month of the primaries, but one thing seems clear: There is more of this drama yet to be written.
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