Hillary Clinton’s California Lead Vanishes

Cannes
/ AP

With the California primary election less than two weeks away, Hillary Clinton’s significant lead has disintegrated.

A poll released this week found Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I, Vt.) in a virtual deadlock in California, igniting the possibility that the former secretary of state could clinch the Democratic nomination without the backing of the nation’s most populous state.

Clinton, who led Sanders by seven points in March, now leads her Democratic challenger 46 percent to 44 percent, according to a new Public Policy Institute of California poll released Wednesday night.

The numbers mark a stark turnaround for the Clinton campaign, which had readied itself for a win in the state to cap off the contentious primary race.

Though Clinton is projected to earn the majority of delegates needed to win the Democratic nomination before polls close in the June 7 election, a California loss would place Clinton on shaky ground heading into the general.

Advisers for Clinton told the New York Times Thursday that internal polling shows her ahead of Sanders in California, but the state’s primary rules, which allow independents to vote in the Democratic race, could serve as an advantage Sanders.

Sanders has won a number of states, including West Virginia, earlier this month thanks to the backing of unaffiliated voters.

Sanders, hoping to secure as many of the 475 delegates up for grabs in California, has been zigzagging across the state for the past week to hold rallies drawing packed crowds.

"By the end of this campaign here in California, I am confident that we will have personally met and spoken to over 200,000 Californians," he told the Los Angeles Times Friday.

Clinton is back on the East Coast during the Memorial Day weekend while Sanders has a rally planned in San Pedro, California Friday morning.