Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont has pinned his hopes on the upcoming California primary to turn the tide of the primary against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. New polling indicates his victory is unlikely.
On May 23, SurveyUSA released survey results that show Clinton leads Sanders by double digits in California, according to KABC.
Clinton currently leads with 57 percent support among likely voters, while Sanders trails in second with 35 percent support, an 18-point deficit.
The survey data indicates age plays a strong role in who voters are likely to choose. Similar to other Democratic primary contests, Sanders has an edge among young voters while Clinton has a heavy advantage among voters aged above 35.
There are 475 delegates at stake in California, making it the most valuable treasure chest in the primary. Clinton currently has 1,768 pledged delegates while Sanders has 1,497.
Sanders would need to win the state by a wide margin to bridge that gap between him and Clinton to make his case with superdelegates come the July Democratic National Convention.
On May 17, Sanders told his supporters in Carson, California, that he would remain in the race until the last vote was cast and urged them to remain hopeful that he could prevail in their state.
“This is, in a sense, the beginning of the final push to win California,” Sanders told the crowd, according to the Los Angeles Times. Stating that the voters of California had the right to make their voices heard, he vowed “We are in till the last ballot is cast!”
While Sanders is engaged in an ambitious schedule of large rallies across California, the Clinton campaign has harnessed a comprehensive ground game that will disperse all of her top surrogates in the state, The Washington Post reports.
Former President Bill Clinton, Democratic Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, former Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona and labor leader Dolores Huerta will all be stumping for the former secretary of state.
One advantage Clinton has is that California is the most diverse state. While Sanders has won in largely Caucasian contests, she has had an edge in state primaries with large minority engagement.
The Clinton campaign has seized on this opportunity to harness the minority vote, opening up phone banks across California that operate in seven different languages. They hope to draw out support among Latinos, African-Americans and Asian voters to help definitively defeat Sanders.
“She’s got a long-standing relationship with a lot of these communities,” said Buffy Wicks, who had directed President Barack Obama’s California campaign in 2008. “They view her as someone ultimately who gets up and fights every day.”