California Counts

A collaboration between Capital Public Radio, KQED, KPCC and KPBS to cover the 2016 elections in California.

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Trump Leads California GOP Race Two Months Before Primary Day

Darron Birgenheier / Flickr
 

Darron Birgenheier / Flickr

The June 7 California presidential primary is two months away, and it increasingly looks like the Golden State will play a key role in both parties' delegate chases. A new poll out Thursday shows Donald Trump leading the Republican race, but Ted Cruz isn't far behind.

The highly-respected Field Poll shows Donald Trump with 39 percent of likely Republican voters, Ted Cruz at 32 percent and John Kasich at 18 percent – with the final 11 percent undecided. That’s similar to other recent California polls.

Republican strategist Rob Stutzman, who’s running an anti-Trump SuperPAC, says California voters will soon be courted like never before.

“It will be a month-long election because people will be voting by mail, and then the candidates are gonna be out here constantly,” Stutzman says. “I think this will be completely unprecedented in history – how much attention will fall upon California. And I say that because it’s going to go on for weeks. The month of May – I mean, we’re gonna get sick of these candidates being out here!“

Because California awards delegates by congressional district, the candidates will effectively need to run 53 individual races. The Field Poll shows Trump trailing in Los Angeles County and the Central Valley/Sierra region, up big in Southern California excluding Los Angeles, and – believe it or not – leading in the liberal Bay Area.

The Field Poll will release its Democratic primary results on Friday.