The Potluck

Will Sanders’ strength in diverse communities win him the endorsement?

By: - February 25, 2020 3:44 pm

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, flanked by his competitors for the Democratic nomination, has wide appeal across diverse communities.

A California poll examining candidate preferences contained some revealing insights into Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ strength in diverse communities, which could help propel him to the Democratic nomination if other candidates are unable to catch up after his dominant performance in the Nevada caucuses last week.

The data show the uphill climb in large, delegate-rich states like California and Texas for other candidates like Sen. Amy Klobuchar and former South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg, both of whom have struggled to gain traction with Latino and Black voters. 

The Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday on the poll, conducted by Strategies 360, which was not intended as a Democratic primary vote survey, but rather a poll of Californian’s perceptions of candidates for president.

According to the poll, Sanders is the top choice for 23% of all voter-eligible Californians, and also leads with a plurality of Latino, Black and Asian and Pacific Americans. Sanders also dominates among younger voters. 

“This isn’t just a generation gap: It’s a generational revolution,” longtime California political consultant Dan Schnur told the Los Angeles Times. “Young people of every race and ethnicity are rejecting the political system of their parents and grandparents.”

It gave a rare, granular look on the views of Latino, Black and Asian and Pacific Americans in California, groups that are often too small in most polls to draw meaningful conclusions from. The pollster oversampled to get a more accurate sample, according to the methodology

Sanders is hoping to best former Vice President Joe Biden, who has a narrow lead in South Carolina, where voters will participate in the state’s primary Saturday. 

UCLA researchers this week also published other telling data points about Nevada, whose diverse electorate looks increasingly like the country’s future. (It’s why Nevada politicians, including former U.S. Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid, are hoping to change the state’s caucuses to a primary and have it be the first nominating contest.)

According to a precinct-level analysis by the UCLA Latino Politics and Policy Initiative, Sanders won 70% of the Latino vote in Nevada. Among Asian-American voters, he also bested his competitors by big margins. 

An analysis of 23 high-density Asian-American precincts, Sanders won nearly 50% of the Asian-American vote, beating Biden by more than 27 points. UCLA researchers similarly found that Sanders won 52% of Latinos in 32 precincts with the highest Latino density in the Iowa caucuses earlier this month. 

All this to say is that other candidates, including Klobuchar, have a lot of ground to cover in the coming days to try to stop the momentum Sanders is bringing to South Carolina on Saturday and Super Tuesday next week, when diverse states like California and Texas are set to vote.


Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Ricardo Lopez
Ricardo Lopez

Ricardo Lopez was a senior political reporter for the Reformer. Ricardo is not new to Minnesota politics, previously reporting on the Dayton administration and statehouse for The Star Tribune from 2014 to 2017, and the Republican National Convention in 2016. Previously, he was a staff writer at The Los Angeles Times covering the California economy. He's a Las Vegas native who has adopted Minnesota as his home state. In his spare time, he likes to run, cook and volunteer with Save-a-Bull, a Minneapolis dog rescue group.