Campaign

California poll: Biden, Sanders lead Democratic field; Harris takes fifth

Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) are tied for first place among Democratic primary voters in California, while home-state Sen. Kamala Harris (D) is running in a distant fifth, according to a new poll.

The Emerson University survey released Tuesday shows Biden and Sanders leading the pack in California with 26 percent support each, followed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) at 20 percent. No other candidate secures double-digit support in the poll.

{mosads}Tech entrepreneur and political newcomer Andrew Yang notches 7 percent support in the survey, with Harris following at 6 percent support.

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D) took sixth and seventh place in the poll with 5 percent and 4 percent support, respectively.

The survey is a sign that Harris may face a difficult battle in her home state’s nominating contest, a delegate-rich election that carries more significance than ever because of an accelerated primary schedule that places it on Super Tuesday, when voters in a dozen states will cast their ballots for the Democratic nomination.

“Senator Kamala Harris is in trouble in her home state. If she is unable to gain momentum in Iowa or New Hampshire, come Super Tuesday she might have a similar fate to Sen. Marco Rubio in 2016, when he was unable to win his home state of Florida and dropped out of the race,” Emerson Polling Director Spencer Kimball said, referring to Rubio’s 2016 loss to President Trump in Florida’s Republican presidential primary.

In fact, no recent presidential candidate who lost his or her home state in a primary has gone on to win their party’s nomination.

Sanders’s support in the Golden State is driven primarily by voters under the age of 50. Among those voters, the Vermont senator carries 34 percent support, according to the Emerson poll. Warren takes 18 percent among that group, while Biden trails with 16 percent.

But Biden enjoys strong support with older voters. Among those over the age of 50, the former vice president notched 40 percent support. Warren received 23 percent among that group, while Sanders scored 13 percent. 

While the poll shows Warren running in third place in California, it also suggests that her support may be shakier than her fellow top-tier candidates in the state.

Only 31 percent of respondents who picked Warren as their first choice said they would definitely vote for her in the primary. Among those that said they would support Sanders or Biden, 67 and 59 percent respectively said that they would stick with their candidate of choice.

The Emerson poll surveyed 424 registered Democratic voters in California from Sept. 13 to 16. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.7 percentage points.

Tags 2020 elections Andrew Yang Bernie Sanders California primary Democratic primary Donald Trump Elizabeth Warren Joe Biden Marco Rubio Pete Buttigieg

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