Poll: Sanders Poised to Win California, Leading Warren in Close Mass. Race

Suffolk political research shows Markey closing gap with Kennedy in Mass. Democratic primary race for U.S. Senate

Sen. Bernie Sanders has a strong advantage in delegate-rich California and is leading in a very tight race with Sen. Elizabeth Warren in her home state of Massachusetts ahead of Super Tuesday, according to Suffolk University Political Research Center polling.

California delegates at stake

Sanders (35 percent) led businessman Michael Bloomberg (16 percent), former Vice President Joe Biden (14 percent), and Warren (12 percent) in California, according to a Suffolk University/USA TODAY poll of likely Democratic primary voters taken last week. South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who dropped out of the race yesterday, was at 7 percent; Sen. Amy Klobuchar, 5 percent; businessman Tom Steyer, who also has ended his candidacy, and Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard were at 3 percent each, with 5 percent undecided.

Candidates are awarded proportional pledged delegates if they meet the 15 percent threshold within congressional districts and/or statewide, and California is a rich field, with 415 pledged delegates. The fight for that 15 percent is hard fought, with Bloomberg, Biden and Warren all within striking distance in California.

“Bernie Sanders is poised to bank a considerable advantage over his rivals in the Golden State,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston. “The more candidates who don’t reach the 15 percent threshold, the more additional delegates Sanders will sock away.”

While Sanders dominated across many demographics, 62 percent of Democratic primary voters said they would be comfortable with a billionaire as the Democrat nominee, while 29 percent said they were not comfortable.

Massachusetts results

In the Suffolk University/Boston Globe/WBZ-TV poll of Massachusetts Democratic primary voters, Sanders (24 percent) led favorite-daughter Warren (22 percent), followed by Bloomberg (13 percent), Buttigieg (12 percent), Biden (11 percent) and Klobuchar (5 percent). The other candidates shared a total of 3 percent, with 9 percent undecided.

The poll shows Warren with an advantage over Sanders among women (29 percent to 25 percent) and older voters (23 percent to 13 percent), but Sanders leads among men (24 percent to 13 percent), minority voters (35 percent to 23 percent), and young voters (50 percent to 27 percent).

U.S. Senate race

In the Massachusetts primary for U.S. Senate to be held in September, Congressman Joe Kennedy leads incumbent Sen. Ed Markey by 6 points, 42 percent to 36 percent, with 21 percent undecided.  Kennedy’s lead has shrunk considerably since a September 2019 Suffolk University/Boston Globe which showed Kennedy with a 14-point lead and 29 percent undecided.

Bellwethers are ringing

Both presidential outcomes in California and Massachusetts appear to be supported by bellwethers in the respective states. In the bellwether of Contra Costa County, California, Sanders (34 percent) led Bloomberg (18 percent) with Warren and Biden tied at 11 percent.

In the Massachusetts bellwether, the city of Waltham, Sanders (23 percent) led Warren (22 percent), Bloomberg (14 percent), with Biden and Buttigieg tied at 13 percent.

“With a virtual tie in Waltham, we’ll be watching to see where the undecideds will break in the last 24 hours,” said Paleologos.


The statewide Suffolk University surveys were conducted through live interviews of cell phone and land line users. All respondents indicated that they were likely voters or had already voted in Tuesday’s Democratic primary election. Each survey of 500 voters was conducted Feb. 26 – Feb. 29. The margin of error is +/- 4.4 percentage points at a 95 percent level of confidence. The bellwether surveys of 300 respondents each carry a margin of error of +/- 5.7 percentage points. Results are posted on the Suffolk University Political Research Center website. For more information, contact David Paleologos at 781-290-9310, dpaleologos@suffolk.edu.