Harris overtakes Biden in new California poll

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By Allan Smith  with NBC News Politics
Image: Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) spe
Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) speaks during the AARP and The Des Moines Register Iowa Presidential Candidate Forum on July 16, 2019 in Bettendorf, Iowa.   -   Copyright  Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., is leading the Democratic field in her home state for the first time in a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday.

Harris pulls in the support of 23 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters, just edging out former Vice President Joe Biden, who has the support of 21 percent of those respondents. Following them are Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who are polling at 18 percent and 16 percent respectively among those Golden State voters.

There is a large drop off between the top four and the rest of the field. South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg won the support of 3 percent of those respondents while businessman Andrew Yang pulled in 2 percent. No other candidate won the support of more than 1 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters.

In an April Quinnipiac survey of California voters, Biden was leading with the support of 26 percent of Democrats, closely trailed by Sanders and Harris, who received 18 percent and 17 percent of the support respectively.

Meanwhile, 45 percent of those surveyed in the new poll said that Biden has the best chance to beat President Donald Trump, with 12 percent selecting Sanders, 11 percent choosing Harris and 8 percent going for Warren.

"California Democrats catch the national wave as native daughter Kamala Harris leaps from promising contender to prominent player, putting her neck and neck with former Vice President Joseph Biden," Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, said in a news release. "But who do California Democrats pick as the best candidate to take on President Donald Trump? Hands down, it's Biden."

California has moved its primary contest up to early March from the end of the Democratic calendar, giving the state new power in choosing the party's nominee.

Quinnipiac surveyed 1,125 California voters from July 10-15 with a margin of error of 3.9 percentage points, including 519 Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters with a margin of error of 5.7 percentage points.