Friday, January 31, 2020

Sanders Surging. Now Leading in California. Will Sanders Win Colorado?

Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks at a campaign event in
 Storm Lake, Iowa, Jan. 26, 2020 | John Locher/AP
Bernie Sanders won the Colorado caucus in 2016 when 120,000 Democrats turned out and propelled him over the establishment candidate, Hillary Clinton. Although there are no recent polls, Colorado Democrats have been following their national peers, and late polls in Iowa, New Hampshire, and just this week, California, have Sanders surging to the lead.

The latest California poll from the state’s premier political and policy pollster, Mark DiCamillo (Berkeley IGS poll), shows Sanders in the lead with 26 percent, up from 24 percent in October. Elizabeth Warren is 20 percent, down from 22 percent, and Joe Biden is holding at 15 percent (14% in November). All other candidates are in single digits (you need 15% to get delegates).

Sanders draws his support from the most liberal Democrats and the youngest age cohort. He has also benefitted from the decline in support for Warren since September when she was the frontrunner with 29 percent support.

Former VP Joe Biden speaks during a campaign event
in Cedar Falls, Iowa, Jan. 27, 2020 | Matt Rourke/AP
There’s really no history to look to for Colorado’s possible Democratic turnout, but I expect it to be record-breaking, like all of our elections since 2016. More than 600,000 voters turned out in the 2018 Democratic gubernatorial primary, including 200,000 unaffiliated voters participating for the first time, with the entire election online. A presidential election, which will likely still be competitive among a top tier of candidates, should draw much interest and participation.

Polls conducted mid last year in Colorado showed the state reflecting the national trends, except more support for liberal, anti-establishment candidates, such as Sanders and Warren. And, unaffiliated voters tend to be younger and more liberal. Depending on how he does in the first four states, I expect Sanders will be formidable again.

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