In most previous election years, the California state primary came late in the race, in June, rendering the results in the country's most populous — and delegate-rich — state almost irrelevant to deciding a party presidential nominee. But in 2020, that all changes. By moving its primary to March 3, 2020, as CNN reported, California becomes perhaps the single most important state to win for Democratic candidates seeking to oppose Donald Trump.
But who is leading the race to win California, which offers a whopping 416 delegates to be divided among the candidates based on statewide results and the results of the state's 53 congressional districts?
According to a poll conducted for The Los Angeles Times by the University of California at Berkeley's Institute of Governmental Studies, the answer is not a surprise. But the second place candidate may be.
As he is nationwide, former United States Vice President Joe Biden is the favorite of California voters, according to the poll, with 22 percent saying that they plan to vote for the 76-year-old who served 36 years as a U.S. senator from Delaware. Biden also leads every recent national poll by an average of 15.4 points over second place Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, according to the data site Real Clear Politics.
But while Sanders occupies second place in most nationwide polls, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren has overtaken him for second place in California, according to the Times poll. And perhaps most importantly, Warren is now only four points behind Biden in the Golden State. The results appear to reflect a nationwide trend showing a surge for Warren as Sanders' campaign stalls, failing to pick up new support. As The Inquisitr reported, a YouGov poll released Wednesday showed Warren four points ahead of Sanders nationally.
The California poll, however, contained discouraging news for the state's own junior senator, former California Attorney General Kamala Harris, who as The Los Angeles Times reported, started her campaign back in January in "dazzling" fashion but like Sanders has since mostly stalled.
In her home state, according to the new poll, Harris is currently placed fourth. At 13 percent, she stands only nine points in back of Biden. Yet Harris has "no constituency that she dominates" despite drawing a broad range of support across demographic and ideological lines in California, according to the Times report.
Though by moving to March 3, California vastly increases the importance of its primary in the 2020 race as that date is also "Super Tuesday," when 13 other states — plus Democrats abroad — also cast their ballots, including Texas with 222 delegates, and several crucial southern states such as North Carolina, Alabama, and Virginia, according to the election data site 270 To Win.