May 26, 2016
A new poll from the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) shows a virtual tie between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sander. Clinton leads by just two points, 46% to 44%.
Polling results for the Democratic nomination has been inconsistent, generally showing a tight race or a blowout, with not much in-between. Two SurveyUSA polls this month, including one earlier this week, give Clinton a lead of almost 20 points, while a Fox News poll from late April also showed a two point margin. If we average the PPIC and recent SurveyUSA polls, this gives Clinton a 10% lead.
Regardless of where the result lands, the outcome is unlikely to change the trajectory of the race. Thanks in part to superdelegates, Hillary Clinton will surpass the 2,383 delegates needed to win the nomination on June 7th, when California is joined by a number of other states in the last big day of the Democratic calendar. Sitting at 2,305 delegates, Clinton is just 78 away from being declared the winner.
The math remains daunting for Sanders even excluding superdelegates. He would need to win roughly 2/3 of the remaining pledged delegates to catch her in that category. A loss in California, even a small one, would require him to win at least 85% of the popular vote in just about every other remaining contest.*
While neither Clinton nor Sanders will arrive at the Philadelphia convention with 2,383 pledged delegates, Clinton will likely have won about 300 more than Sanders. That makes it difficult to envision that hundreds of superdelegates will change their previously stated preference for the Democratic frontrunner.
* Democratic delegates in each contest are proportionately allocated, with a 15% threshold to qualify for any.