Democratic primary: Clinton faces close race in California, holds big lead in New Jersey

Democratic primary: Clinton faces close race in California, holds big lead in New Jersey
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Hillary Clinton poised to widen her delegate lead in two big states

Hillary Clinton’s path to the nomination looks all but assured, but the latest wave of the YouGov/CBS News Battleground Tracker shows Bernie Sanders within striking distance of the frontrunner in California. In New Jersey, Clinton holds a much larger lead.

In California, where 475 delegates are at stake, Clinton holds a narrow 2-point lead over Sanders, 49% to 47% among likely Democratic primary voters in the state. In New Jersey, with 126 delegates up for grabs, Clinton holds a much larger 27-point lead, taking 61% to Sanders’s 34%.

Both states hold their primaries on Tuesday, June 7th. Between them, California and New Jersey hold more than two-thirds of the remaining delegates.

Sanders has spent the past week barnstorming around California in the hopes a win there would provide him momentum heading towards the Democratic Party’s July convention. When YouGov last polled the state in April, Clinton led Sanders 52% to 40%, suggesting Sanders has picked up considerable ground since then. However, her wide margin in New Jersey suggests she could be declared the “presumptive nominee” before polls even close in California. Currently she is less than 70 delegates away from crossing the 2,383 delegate threshold, and she will be closer once Puerto Rico votes on Sunday.

Sanders insists he will push for a “contested convention”, but 57% of his supporters in California say they are mainly voting for him to help influence the direction of the party – not because they think he still has a good chance of winning. By an even wider, 71% to 29%, margin California Democratic primary voters say Sanders should give his support to Clinton if he does not get enough delegates to win, rather than hold out for the convention. The margin is similar in New Jersey.

November

The poll also asked likely voters in the wider electorate who they would vote for if Sanders or Clinton were matched up against the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. In California, Clinton leads Trump 48% to 33% among likely general election voters, while Sanders leads 55% to 32%. New Jersey is very similar: Clinton leads by 49% to 34% while Sanders leads 52% to 34%.

Roughly half of voters surveyed – 49% in both states – say they are “scared” watching the Donald Trump presidential campaign, the most common emotion expressed. For Clinton, the top emotion is “angry”, though it is shared by only about a third of voters.


Both polls were conducted May 31-June 3, 2016 for the CBS News 2016 Battleground Tracker. A detailed description of the methodology used to carry out the surveys can be found here

See additional questions and demographic breakdowns for California and New Jersey.