Capitol Alert

It’s a three-way race in California’s presidential primary. Kamala Harris isn’t included

California’s 2020 primary is up in the air for three contenders seeking the Democratic presidential nomination.

Unfortunately for home state Sen. Kamala Harris, she’s not among them, according to a poll released Wednesday night by the Public Policy Institute of California.

The numbers show a drop in support among likely Democratic or Democratic-leaning voters since her first debate, down from first place at 19 percent in July to fourth place at 8 percent.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren saw the biggest surge in California since July, jumping from 15 percent to 23 percent. She is now in a statistical tie with former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who recorded 22 percent and 21 percent, respectively.

“The race is very close now between three candidates in California, and there’s no distance between those three,” said Mark Baldassare, president of PPIC. “There’s a second tier, and, yes, that’s where our California senator is in right now.”

Maya Humes, communications director for Harris’s campaign in California, said the senator is expanding her operation within the state to appeal to more voters. On Sunday, the campaign opened its first California office, in Oakland.

“As our operation expands, our plan is to work with our supporters to ensure that Californians up and down the state know Kamala’s plans to tackle the issues that keep them up at night,” Humes said.

Californians said homelessness, jobs and the economy, housing costs, immigration and the environment are their most important issues.

Baldassare said Harris’s performance in the last two debates is the biggest factor contributing to her decline, given 84 percent of respondents told PPIC the debate performances are either very important or somewhat important to their choice of candidate.

With California’s March 3, 2020 primary approaching, there is still time for Harris to make up her losses.

The poll found that most likely California voters are still making up their mind. Fifty-three percent said they’d consider another candidate, while 44 percent said they are definitely supporting the person they named.

A separate poll released last month by UC Berkeley found that 43 percent of Californians likely to participate in the state’s 2020 primary were presently considering Harris, compared to 45 percent for Sanders, 46 percent for Biden and 68 percent for Warren.

Joining Harris in the second tier of 2020 candidates is South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who PPIC found polled at 6 percent — a mere 1 percent increase since the organization last surveyed voters in July.

Rounding out the pack are entrepreneur Andrew Yang at 3 percent, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro at 2 percent and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke and billionaire liberal activist Tom Steyer at 1 percent.

The margin of error among people asked about their voting preference for the Democratic nomination was 4.9 percentage points. It was 4.2 percentage points for the overall sample of 1,031 likely voters.

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Bryan Anderson is a political reporter for The Bee. He covers the California Legislature and reports on wildfires and transportation. He also hosts The Bee’s “California Nation” podcast.