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Poll: Sanders Leads Clinton In California

| by Kathryn Schroeder
Sen. Bernie Sanders of VermontSen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont

With only days to go before the California primary, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont has edged ahead of Hillary Clinton with voters, according to a new poll.

In the USC/Los Angeles Times poll, 44 percent of eligible primary voters said they would vote for Sanders, while 43 percent chose Clinton.

The main reasons respondents gave for why they would not support Clinton as the Democratic nominee were that they do not find her to be genuine and she has been involved in scandals and controversy. The main hesitations toward Sanders are that his proposals are viewed as unrealistic and not feasible, as well as his Socialist past.

Compared to the same poll conducted in March, Sanders has gained 9 points on Clinton, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The most recent poll found that Clinton still maintains a lead over Sanders with likely voters, 49 to 39 percent. This may be credited to the reliability of her older supporters and their record of voting.

Sanders has the support of younger voters, Asians, and Latinos, many of which have registered to vote for the first time in the weeks before the primary.

Among Latino voters, 67 percent view Sanders favorably, with only 62 percent having the same feelings toward Clinton. 

Sanders has a much stronger favorability rating among California whites than Clinton, 50 to 39 percent.

As Clinton remains the top pick among registered Democrats, with 53 percent of those likely to vote choosing her to the 37 percent who are with Sanders, he has the support of nonpartisan voters.

Among nonpartisan voters, which California allows to participate in the Democratic primary, Sanders leads with 48 percent to Clinton’s 35 percent.

“His base of support is young voters, low-propensity voters and [nonpartisan] voters. Not only does he have to turn them out by election day, but he has to educate all those nonpartisan voters” to request a Democratic ballot said Dan Schnur, the poll director who heads USC’s Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics, to the Los Angeles Times.

“That’s not to say he can’t pull it off, but this may be the biggest voter mobilization challenge California has seen in many, many years,” he added.

The poll found that 71 percent of California voters are almost certain they will participate in the primary.

As for the general election in November, if Sanders is the Democratic nominee, 59 percent of respondents said they would enthusiastically vote for him while 21 percent would do so reluctantly.  On the other side, 14 percent would simply refuse to cast their vote for him. 

As for Clinton, 49 percent would enthusiastically support her, 25 percent would do so reluctantly, and 22 percent would refuse to give her their vote.

Sources: USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times / Photo credit: AFGE/Flickr

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