You’ve really got to hand it to Sen. Bernie Sanders. The man is pushing close to eighty years old, just had what he described as a heart attack back in September, yet here he is leading the pack among Democratic primary voters in the state of California. The poll mentioned still includes Sen. Kamala Harris, who rounded out the top five. With her departure, the numbers will skew a bit as her seven percentage points rearrange to other candidates in the coming weeks. Still, though, it’s worth noting that Sen. Elizabeth Warren has dropped in the Golden State while Bernie has risen over the past month and there has to be a reason for it.
California doesn’t usually get this much attention since typically the state holds a primary very late in the cycle, often in June. This year, however, if you check the calendar, California will be voting on Super Tuesday, which is March 3, 2020, making it much more crucial for candidates to spend time in the state.
The latest numbers come from the UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies which has been polling California Democrats for months now to offer some historical trends. As the pollster notes, despite months and months of exposure and campaigning, the race is anything but settled:
With less than two months before voting starts in Iowa’s Democratic caucuses and three months before California’s March 3 primary, “the race is really unusually fluid,” said Mark DiCamillo, director of the Berkeley IGS poll of voters likely to go to the polls in the Democratic primary.
“Voters are struggling and not sticking with their candidates,” he said. “They are moving around from candidate to candidate.”
Here’s the complete breakdown with historical charts so you can see where things are heading:
The trend above shows Biden and Warren both being hit hard since the previous numbers in September. As for Bernie, one can only speculate that it’s likely the consistency of his message that continues to draw in scores of progressive voters looking for an ardent champion of big crusades like pushing Medicare For All as a complete overhaul of the U.S. healthcare system.
In a related poll, Sanders remains the most popular candidate with college students which plays right into his ongoing ownership of the youngest voter demographics:
American college students have chosen Bernie Sanders as their candidate of choice according to a new Axios/CollegeReaction.com poll, outpacing President Donald Trump, who sits in second place, by 5.2 percent.
Sanders captured 22.5 percent of the approval of those polled while incumbent Trump received 17.3 percent. Senator Elizabeth Warren came in third with 15.9 percent.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, who led the poll with almost 19 percent in April, dropped to fourth place in the most recent poll with 12.3 percent.
His base of support has typically skewed young as seen in 2016 when he was destroying Hillary Clinton in the 18 to 30-year-old category. That trend continues to buoy Sanders in this very competitive primary, especially in big blue states like California where the electorate skews younger and more liberal.
Nationally, however, Joe Biden continues to lead the race, but as the primaries inch closer, it’s important to examine things state by state since that is where the real voting takes place.
There are many pockets around the country where Bernie remains competitive or in the lead despite some softening national numbers. The same statement could be said for Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg. In fact, almost every candidate can claim a lead somewhere on the map with a race this wide open.