In the 2016 presidential election, the California primary fell on June 7, at the end of the primary season, meaning that the Democratic and Republican races were effectively decided long before the country’s most populous state went to the polls. But in the 2020 election cycle, California has been moved up to March 3, as 270 To Win shows, giving the state and its 416 delegates a crucial role in the race for the Democratic nomination.
The winner of California will collect a sizable delegate haul that could confer a significant advantage in the race for the nomination, and as of Sunday, a pair of new polls shows California too close to call. According to a Quinnipiac University poll released earlier this week, California’s own Senator Kamala Harris holds a narrow lead in the state, with 23 percent support, while the race’s overall frontrunner, former Vice President Joe Biden, sits at 21 percent.
But in a CBS News/YouGov poll released on Sunday, the two candidates were neck-and-neck, with Biden holding a one-point lead, 24-23. Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren holds third place with 19 percent, while 2016 Democratic runner-up Bernie Sanders fell back to fourth place at 16 percent, according to the CBS/YouGov poll.
In the two-person race in 2016, Sanders won 46 percent of the California primary vote, losing handily to eventual nominee Hillary Clinton, with 53.1 percent, according to FiveThirtyEight. The state’s 416 delegates will be divided proportionally among the candidates based on the statewide vote, plus the results in each congressional district.
According to the average of all major polls compiled by Real Clear Politics, Biden still holds a 2.6-point lead over Harris, and 4.6-point lead over Warren in California.
Harris saw a significant bounce in her nationwide polling, shooting to third place, after a memorable confrontation with Biden during the first Democratic debate on June 27, as The Inquisitr reported, when Harris attacked a seemingly unprepared Biden over his stances on racial issues.
The next two-night, 20-candidate Democratic debate event is scheduled for July 30 and 31, and Harris will once again get a chance to strike at Biden directly, as the two have been paired on the second night of the debate, according to CNBC. But Warren and Sanders will not get an opportunity to take shots directly at Biden, as both Senators have been scheduled for the July 30 debate.
Of the expansive Democratic field, no other candidates appear remotely competitive in the crucial state of California. South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg sits in fifth place with a distant six percent in the CBS/YouGov survey. But Quinnipiac has Buttigieg at a mere three percent, still good enough for fifth place but 13 points behind Warren in fourth.