Bernie Sanders Leads By 17 Points in California, Putting Joe Biden In Distant Second Place: Poll

Bernie Sanders has a 17-point lead over Joe Biden in California on the eve of tomorrow's Super Tuesday races, according to a new poll.

The latest survey from Emerson College and Nexstar found Sen. Sanders (I-Vt.) was supported by 38 percent of California primary voters, while former Vice President Joe Biden was favored by just 21 percent.

When the pollster surveyed very likely California primary voters in September, Biden had 26 percent support in the state, putting him five points down on his performance six months ago.

By comparison, Sanders has gained 12 points in the California, poll while his progressive rival Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has seen her rating drop by four points.

In the new California published on Monday morning, Warren came in third place with 16 percent of the projected vote, putting her five points behind Biden.

Bernie Sanders at Los Angeles, California Rally
Bernie Sanders speaks at a campaign rally at the Los Angeles Convention Center on March 1, 2020 in California. Michael Tullberg/Getty Images

The former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg polled in a distant fourth place as just 11 percent of primary voters in the Golden State said they would opt for the billionaire.

Pete Buttigieg, another ex-mayor, picked up support from just 7 percent of polled Democrats. He dropped out of the 2020 race last night after a poor performance in the South Carolina primary on Saturday.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) came two points behind the latest primary drop out in Emerson College's California poll, with only 5 percent of those polled saying they would vote for her.

Primary frontrunner Sanders had a clear lead over his rivals among several demographics, but only came two points ahead of Biden with black voters.

Asked where he could see Buttigieg's support going in the wake of his exit from the race, Emerson College Polling Director Spencer Kimball said: "I could see some shifting to Biden as a moderate but I also see some going to Bloomberg who is an outsider and also moderate.

"A smaller percent will go to Sanders because of his outsider status even though ideologically they differ."

The pollster's survey was conducted from February 29 to March 1 using a sample of 545 "very likely" Democratic primary voters. It has a 4.1 percentage point margin of error.

A win in the California primaries will be highly sought after by everyone in the winnowing field of Democratic candidates tomorrow. The state awards a total of 415 pledged delegates—making it the most bountiful nominating contest in the primary.

Bernie Sanders lead in the Emerson College poll of the state comes after his campaign celebrated victories in New Hampshire and Nevada, before losing to the Biden campaign by a wide margin in South Carolina.

The former vice president won more than 48 percent of the vote in the diverse state, while the Vermont Independent picked up just 19.9 percent of the vote.

But in spite of his loss on Saturday, Sen. Sanders still has a 10-point lead over Biden in the Real Clear Politics average of national primary polling.

He has an even greater lead (14 percent) over former Mayor Bloomberg, who will appear on primary ballots for the first time tomorrow having joined the race late.