Over the weekend, a new Los Angeles Times/USC poll outlined the 2016 Democratic presidential primary race in hyper-liberal California. Liberals, as we noted last week, have proven more likely to back Bernie Sanders than Hillary Clinton in recent polling.
So what's the split in California? Excluding non-candidate Joe Biden, it was Clinton 42, Sanders 26.
"Clinton drew support from minority voters by wide margins," the poll's press release reads, "including 56 percent of black voters, 54 percent of Latino voters and 41 percent of Asian voters. In comparison, Sanders received support from 20 percent of both black and Asian voters, and 17 percent of Latino voters." That's Clinton plus-36 over Sanders with black voters, +34 with Latinos and +24 with Asians. All of which are significantly higher than her +16 overall lead.
That split mirrors what other polling -- including the new Washington Post-ABC News survey -- has shown: Clinton does better with non-white voters and Sanders does better with white ones.
Since July, Hillary Clinton has lost 21 points of support in Post-ABC polls. But that varies by racial group -- and where the support has gone varies, too. Clinton lost 25 points with whites, including a huge 29-point drop with white women. Biden gained eight points and Sanders, 14.
But among non-white voters, Clinton only lost 14 points. Biden gained nine -- and Sanders gained only four.
If you compare each group to the overall vote total, the change is starker. Relative to overall support for Clinton, whites are 11 points less supportive and non-whites 15 percentage points more. Relative to overall Sanders support, whites are nine points more supportive and non-whites 11 points less.
And what's more, those spreads have gotten bigger.
That's the caveat we explained last week, when we looked at Sanders's leads in Iowa and New Hampshire. If you compare the density of the white population in states with recent support for Sanders (including polling in South Carolina and Real Clear Politics polling averages), there's a correlation between support for Sanders and whiteness.
(This chart uses Sanders's support in California once Biden is included: 23 percent.)
Now, there are other reasons that Iowa and New Hampshire are exceptional beyond their relative racial homogeneity. Each has received a lot more media and campaign attention than other states, for example, so part of the exceptional support Sanders sees might be that those states have gotten to know him better. Iowa and New Hampshire combined compose only 1.8 percent of the American population, so big movements there wouldn't drag the national percentage around much.
We'll note, though, that in May, 62 percent of national voters told Quinnipiac University that they didn't know enough about Sanders to have an opinion of him. By the end of last month, that number dropped to 39 percent, meaning that around one-fifth of voters have formed an opinion of him over the last three months -- a big increase in awareness, though far more voters have still heard of Clinton and Biden.
This is tricky to track, since in many polls non-white voters don't constitute enough of the responses to offer a statistically relevant sample. Depending on your inclination, you can look at it either way. Maybe Sanders's national support among non-white voters will grow as more voters get to know him. Or maybe -- and probably more likely -- Clinton has a current-and-growing advantage among non-white voters.
As with all things related to early polls: We'll see.