Two weeks before California’s behemouth Democratic primary, Bernie Sanders has pulled ahead in the PPIC survey, followed by a cluster that includes Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Michael Bloomberg and Pete Buttigieg.
Statewide, California Democrats remain as they always have been — divided about 60-40, moderates versus left liberals.
According to the Public Policy Institute of California, Sanders is on track to get the most delegates, with 32% in the survey, followed by Biden at 14%, Warren 13%, Bloomberg and Buttigieg at 12%. With proportional representation, a candidate who wins 15% in a congressional district can pick up at least some of California’s 494 delegates — about a fifth of the 1900+ delegates it takes to win the Democratic nomination.
As the star isolate on the left, Sanders is sweeping up the progressive vote — not enough to win a majority in California but enough to win a plurality, with the moderates divided among several contenders. It’s that pattern that worries leading Democrats who are worried that no single moderate –who appeals to the bulk of the party and centrist independents and Republicans — will emerge to keep Sanders from capturing the nomination and leading the party over the electoral cliff.
PPIC found no other Democrat in double figures, with Amy Klobuchar at 5%, Rom Steyer 3% and Tulsi Gabbard at 1%. Those who have not made up their minds were 8% in the survey.
Unusual Findings There are some strange findings in PPIC’s survey: For example Sanders pulls 53% of the Latinos and 53% of those aged 18-44 but 40% of the liberals while Biden leads among the moderate-conservative voters with 23%, Sanders has 20% and Bloomberg has 16%. In order for Sanders to have the lead he does statewide, PPICs implicit voter model seems to assume an unusually high turnout by young voters overall and young Latinos in particular.
PPIC does not survey registered voters — it surveys adults by random sample and relies on respondents’ answers to several questions to determine who is a likely voter. Nor does the survey attempt to model the expected electorate. If older voters dominate the March 3 election as they have in the past, Biden and others might not trail Sanders by the big margins reflected in the survey.
PPIC’s survey, from Feb. 7-17, includes interviews before the New Hampshire primary, before Bloomberg’s saturation of the airwaves and before news of Sanders’ alienation of the Culinary Workers Union in Nevada. But they also reflect Sanders’ increasing grip on the left wing of the Democratic Party — a development that many mainstream Democrats find frightening.
Not California primary voters, however, according to PPIC. Among them, 34% say Sanders has the best chance of beating President Trump in November, compared to 16% each who choose Biden and Bloomberg.
PPIC’s telephone survey included 573 Democratic primary likely voters (Democrats and independent voters who say they will vote in the Democratic primary) with a sampling error of ±5.7 percent.