Bernie Sanders’s Backing in California Poll Hints at Big Delegate Haul

Ryan Teague Beckwith

(Bloomberg) -- Roughly one-fourth of likely voters in California back Bernie Sanders, but he could walk away with as many as half of the state’s delegates on Super Tuesday, a poll released Thursday shows.

In the Monmouth University poll, the Vermont senator was backed by 24% of likely voters in California’s March 3 primary, followed by former Vice President Joe Biden at 17%.

But if the vote tracks with the polling numbers, those results would not mean delegates would be distributed that way. California requires candidates get at least 15% of the vote to win delegates which are awarded statewide as well as from each of its 53 congressional districts.

The poll showed six other candidates had not reached that threshold: Michael Bloomberg at 13%, Elizabeth Warren at 10% and Pete Buttigieg at 9% were closest. Tom Steyer at 5%, Amy Klobuchar at 4% and Tulsi Gabbard at 2% were not even close.

And 13% of voters said they were undecided.

(Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.)

California is among 14 states and territories that vote on Super Tuesday. It’s the biggest prize on that day, awarding 10% of the delegates needed to secure the Democratic presidential nomination.

No pollster has tried to determine how support is distributed by the individual congressional districts. Some candidates have targeted specific areas of the state for outreach so it’s impossible to say how the delegates will end up being distributed beforehand.

But the pollster said the low numbers statewide portend trouble for those in the back of the pack.

“As the poll currently stands, it’s possible that only two or three candidates reach viability in any given congressional district,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.

The poll of 408 likely voters in California was conducted Feb. 16-19. The margin of error was 4.9 percentage points.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ryan Teague Beckwith in Washington, D.C. at rbeckwith3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Wendy Benjaminson at wbenjaminson@bloomberg.net, Max Berley

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