Poll: Cal­i­for­nia pres­i­den­tial pri­mary wide open

Lodi News-Sentinel - - LOCAL/NATION - By David Lauter

WASH­ING­TON — With the Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial field now largely set, the race in the nation’s largest state is wide open, with at least five can­di­dates in se­ri­ous con­tention and no clear fa­vorite.

The find­ings from a Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Berkeley In­sti­tute of Gov­ern­men­tal Stud­ies poll, done for the Los An­ge­les Times, pro­vide bad news for some of the con­tenders, start­ing with Sen. Ka­mala Har­ris.

Har­ris needs strong sup­port in the pri­mary of her home state of Cal­i­for­nia if she is to have a shot at the party’s pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion. The poll finds her in fourth place, al­beit nar­rowly, trail­ing for­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den and Sens. Eliz­a­beth Warren of Mas­sachusetts and Bernie San­ders of Ver­mont.

Har­ris draws con­sis­tent sup­port from across de­mo­graphic groups and ide­o­log­i­cal lines and is widely cited as a sec­ond choice by vot­ers, but she has no con­stituency that she dom­i­nates, the poll found.

Al­though Bi­den leads the race, he’s far from a com­mand­ing front-run­ner in the state that will send the largest group of del­e­gates to next year’s Demo­cratic nom­i­nat­ing con­ven­tion.

Bi­den has sup­port from 22% of likely Demo­cratic pri­mary vot­ers, the poll found. That’s sim­i­lar to his level in a re­cent poll of vot­ers in Iowa, which holds the first contest of the pri­mary sea­son, but well below his stand­ing in some national sur­veys.

Warren and San­ders fol­lowed close be­hind, with 18% and 17% re­spec­tively, es­sen­tially a tie.

Har­ris, at 13%, and Pete But­tigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., at 10%, round out the top tier. No other can­di­date topped 3%, and many re­ceived less than half a point of sup­port.

“Our poll in­di­cates that the contest is a wide-open af­fair, with five can­di­dates in dou­ble dig­its and none dominating,” said Mark DiCamillo, the vet­eran poll­ster who di­rects the Berkeley IGS Poll.

Since can­di­dates in Cal­i­for­nia’s pri­mary can only gain del­e­gates by win­ning at least 15% of the vote, ei­ther statewide or by con­gres­sional district, “the bat­tle could be­come fierce.”

“Cal­i­for­nia’s role in de­cid­ing the Demo­cratic nom­i­nee will be huge,” said DiCamillo.

The poll, which also asked vot­ers about is­sue pri­or­i­ties, sur­veyed 2,131 Cal­i­for­nia vot­ers deemed likely to cast bal­lots in the Demo­cratic pri­mary. It tested sup­port for 18 can­di­dates who had met the re­quire­ments to qual­ify for the first Demo­cratic pri­mary de­bate as of the be­gin­ning of this month, when the sur­vey be­gan. The pri­mary is open to reg­is­tered Democrats and non­party vot­ers.

The likely pri­mary vot­ers were among 4,435 reg­is­tered vot­ers statewide sur­veyed by the poll, con­ducted on­line June 4-10.

The poll re­sults have an es­ti­mated sam­pling er­ror of roughly 3 per­cent­age points in ei­ther direc­tion.

For Warren, the poll re­in­forces national sur­veys that have shown her gain­ing ground in re­cent weeks and comes amid strong signs of grass-roots sup­port in the state.

She drew a crowd of more than 6,000 to an ap­pear­ance in Oak­land on the eve of the Cal­i­for­nia Demo­cratic Party con­ven­tion early this month. At the party gath­er­ing in San Fran­cisco, she was by far the most en­thu­si­as­ti­cally re­ceived of the nu­mer­ous can­di­dates who spoke to the 5,000 del­e­gates and their guests.

Many were ob­vi­ously fa­mil­iar with her: The crowd gave a know­ing laugh when the Mas­sachusetts sen­a­tor launched into her de­tail-laden speech by declar­ing, “I have a plan for that” — a line that has be­come a cam­paign mantra for her.

The re­sult is more prob­lem­atic for San­ders, Warren’s ri­val for sup­port of vot­ers on the left.

OLIVIER DOULIERY/ABACA PRESS

Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Bernie San­ders speaks at the “2019 We The People Mem­ber­ship Fo­rum” on April 1 in Wash­ing­ton, D.C.

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