California, with it’s 415 pledged delegates, is the larges prize in the Democratic primary schedule. It also has an unusual vote collection and counting system that often delays a full understanding of results for days, if not weeks.
We are now prepared to call the California Democratic Primary for Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.
The following is an outline of our thinking in delaying a call for the race and why we are now able to make the call.
On Election Night, Sanders held an 8.7% lead over Biden. Given the consolidation in the field right before Super Tuesday, we held off on calling the race to await mail-in votes. The votes counted after election night in California typically move the topline significantly due to the demographic nature of late mail-in and provisional voters.
Since election night, Biden has steadily gained vote share, now up nearly 3% compared to election night. Sanders has also gained, but only about 1%. This now leaves Sanders with a reduced 6.8% lead.
Each of the past 3 days, the daily returns have stabilized to a small Sanders edge. 6 out of the 8 days have seen Sanders with a lead in daily returns.
The raw margin now sits at 324K. In order to make that up, assuming Sanders holds steady, Biden would have to win over 50% of the remaining ballots. In none of the daily updates from the counties and state has Biden surpassed 40% of the vote.
The current DDHQ-UVA Center for Politics delegate allocation for California is: