According to results from the new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll, Clinton gets support from 49 per cent of likely Democratic primary voters in the state, while Sanders gets 47 per cent.
However, among a wider electorate of all potential Democratic voters in California, Sanders is actually ahead by one point, 48 per cent to 47 per cent, NBC News reported.
Clinton leads Sanders among likely voters ages 45 and older (63 per cent to 33 per cent), self-identified Democrats (57 per cent to 40 per cent), women (54 per cent to 41 per cent), past Democratic primary voters (53 per cent to 42 per cent) and ‘whites’ (51 per cent to 46 per cent), the poll showed.
Clinton also is ahead among those who have already voted, 58 per cent to 41 per cent.
Meanwhile, Sanders leads among first-time participants (72 per cent to 28 per cent), independents (68 per cent to 26 per cent), those younger than 45 (66 per cent to 30 per cent), men (54 per cent to 43 per cent) and Latinos (49 per cent to 46 per cent).
Geographically, Clinton is ahead in the Bay Area (56 per cent to 42 per cent) and Los Angeles County (54 per cent to 40 per cent), while Sanders has the advantage in the inland/valley areas (54 per cent to 44 per cent) and the coastal region (58 per cent to 36 per cent).
According to the poll, Clinton and Sanders running even in California will not affect the overall delegate math in the Democratic race, where Clinton leads Sanders by some 270 pledged delegates and 770 overall delegates. A tied race would essentially split the state’s 475 pledged delegates right down the middle under the Democrats’ proportional allocation system.
But a Sanders victory in California — even by a small margin — could potentially give him justification to remain in the race heading into July’s Democratic convention in July, despite trailing in the delegate math, the poll said.
“Obviously, if we don’t do well in California, it will make our path much, much harder. No question about it,” Sanders said last week.
“But I think we have a good chance to win in California, maybe win big, and maybe win four or five of the other states (New Jersey, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota) on June 7,” the Vermont senator added.
The poll was conducted from May 29-31 of 557 likely Democrat primary voters (which has a margin of error of plus-minus 4.2 percentage points), 991 potential Democrat primary voters (plus-minus 3.1 percentage points) and 1,833 registered voters (plus-minus 2.3 percentage points).