A new poll shows that the biggest Super Tuesday prize will likely go to Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
Sanders, the current front-running in the Democratic presidential race, holds a two-to-one edge of his nearest opponent in a University of California at Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The poll comes as voters in South Carolina head to the polls in a Democratic contest that is seen as vital to the candidacy of former Vice President Joe Biden, who placed fifth in the California poll.
The poll found that in California, which has 415 convention delegates at stake — the most of any state — Sanders has 34 percent support.
Second place went to Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who placed at 17 percent.
Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg was third at 12 percent, followed by former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 11 percent. Biden came next at 8 percent. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota polled at 6 percent support. Billionaire Tom Steyer placed at 2 percent.
The poll has a margin of error of two percentage points.
The poll is similar to others with the exception of Biden’s place. Other polls show him in double digits, and the RealClearPolitics average of polls shows Biden third with an average support of 11 percent, trailing Warren who is a distant second behind Sanders in the polling average.
Even so, because California only awards delegates to candidates who finish with more than 15 percent of the vote in any contest, Biden faces the prospect of picking up only scattered delegates, if the poll numbers are accurate.
“A month ago, our poll showed Sanders with an outright lead in California. Our latest shows that he’s been effective in consolidating that in the homestretch, while support for his rivals has become even more dispersed,” Mark DiCamillo, the director of the poll, said. “The net effect could provide Sanders with a huge payday from the state on Super Tuesday.”
The poll found that Sanders is the top choice of roughly half of the respondents who identified themselves as very liberal and has the same level of support among Hispanic voters.
Sanders also received the support of more than 60 percent of voters under 30 and a majority of voters in their 30s.
Sanders also leads in Texas, which is the second-biggest prize on Super Tuesday.
The RealClearPolitics average of polls in Texas shows Sanders with 28.3 percent, Biden second at 20.3 percent and Bloomberg third at 19.7 percent.
Some said Biden has been out-hustled on the ground.
“Bernie has a ground game because he naturally has a ground game; his whole campaign is a grass-roots campaign,” Gilberto Hinojosa, the Democratic Party chairman in Texas, said, according to The New York Times. “Bloomberg has funded a ground game. Elizabeth Warren has a ground game because she started organizing in Texas a long time ago.”
In speaking of Biden, he said, “I haven’t seen anything other than the events he’s had in Texas.”
Biden has also been out-gunned in terms of advertising, according to NPR.
Biden is spending $4,000 in digital ads in California, while Sanders has spent $7 million there and Bloomberg has spent $78 million in advertising.
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