While Hillary Clinton is a mere 70 delegates away from clinching the Democrat nomination, California could cause a screeching halt to her coronation march. With 250 delegates up for grabs, some speculate a Bernie victory in such a historically left-leaning state could cause super delegates pledged to Hillary to reconsider.
Fueling the speculation are recent polls showing Trump and Hillary neck to neck in November – while the polls on a hypothetical Sanders vs. Trump race show a double digit lead for the Vermont Senator. Much like we’ve heard about Trump, Bernie has been unpopular with minorities relative to Hillary – but in California, those figures are changing, and it could mean bad news for Hillary.
The Los Angeles Times reports: Tuesday’s outcome remains difficult to predict, precisely because of the untested nature of Sanders’ following. That portends an intense fight in the final days of the campaign.
The Vermont senator has battled Clinton to a draw among all voters eligible for the Democratic primary, with 44 percent siding with him to 43 percent for Clinton. That represented a nine-point swing from a USC/Los Angeles Times poll in March, in which Clinton led handily.
But among those most likely to vote, based on their voting history and stated intentions this time around, Clinton led, 49 percent-39 percent, in the new poll. Her standing is bolstered by the reliability of her older supporters, who have a proven record of casting ballots.
She also leads convincingly among registered Democrats; 53 percent of likely Democratic voters supported her, to 37 percent for Sanders. Throughout the year, she has carried party members in every state but Sanders’ home state of Vermont and next-door New Hampshire, where he won in a landslide.
As he has elsewhere, Sanders benefits here from party rules that allow registered nonpartisan voters — known in California as “no party preference” voters — to take part in the Democratic primary. Among nonpartisans who were likely to vote, he led by 48 percent-35 percent.
It’ll be interesting to see how the betting odds change following the results of California’s primary. I’m still placing my bets on Hillary for the nominee, as she would still command an over 500-delegate lead over Sanders following the primary – and it’s unlikely all 544 of Hillary’s super delegates would change sides.
Still, it’s not a good sign for her that her unpopularity only ever seems to increase. Hopefully she keeps doing whatever she’s doing.
[Note: This post was authored by Matt Palumbo. Follow him on Twitter @MattPalumbo12]