California Poll Results: Sanders, Biden, and Harris Lead the Democratic Primary

New Change Research polling from California shows that Bernie Sanders has taken a small lead in that state, with Joe Biden and Kamala Harris losing several points since our poll in February. Read on for additional data on the California horse-race.

Sanders, Biden, and Harris In a Near Three-Way Tie for the Lead

Sanders (22%) shows a one-point lead over Biden (21%), and a three-point lead over Harris (19%) among likely Democratic primary voters. Beto O’Rourke finishes a distant fourth with 10%, followed by Pete Buttigieg (9%), Elizabeth Warren (8%), and Cory Booker (3%). All other candidates poll at 2% or less:

California horse-race, including Joe Biden

When asked to choose a candidate who has formally declared a run for the presidency (thus eliminating Biden), voters narrowly choose Sanders (28%) over Harris (27%). O’Rourke finishes third with 16%, followed by Buttigieg (11%), Warren (9%), and Booker (5%). All other candidates poll at 2% or less:

California horse-race, not including Joe Biden

Buttigieg, Harris, and Biden Move Most Since February

Our last California poll was conducted between February 9 — 11, 2019, and several candidates have moved up or down in their vote share in those two months. Buttigieg showed the largest delta, gaining 8 points from 1% to 9%. Harris dropped 7 points, from 26% to 19%. Biden dropped 5 points, from 26% to 21%. Sanders, O’Rourke, Warren, Yang, Swalwell, Inslee, and Gillibrand showed deltas of 2 points or less:

Change in CA vote share, February — April Polls

Harris, Sanders, and Biden Poll Best on Key Leadership Traits

Harris, Sanders, and Biden also lead among respondents’ selections for the top five candidates who represent the following key leadership traits, with Harris seen as the smartest and toughest, Sanders as the most honest and ethical, and Biden as the most likeable:

Democratic candidates highest ranked for key leadership traits

Click here for full poll toplines.

Change Research surveyed 2,003 likely 2020 Democratic primary voters in California from April 6–9. The survey was conducted online, using Change Research’s Bias Correct Engine. Post-stratification was done on age, gender, ethnicity, and 2016 presidential vote. The margin of error, as traditionally calculated, is ± 2.2%.

This is one of over 100 polls Change Research will be conducting this year as part of our 2020 Change polling subscription product. Most will be available to subscribers only. Please contact us for more information.


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