Things are looking up for Bernie Sanders, with polls in both Iowa and New Hampshire showing him as favourite to win in the first two contests of the primary season.
But with fears growing that the Democratic establishment could try and steal the nomination at a brokered convention, winning big in large liberal states will be crucial, and California is the most crucial of all.
This time around California falls on Super Tuesday, at what could be a crucial juncture of the race. The day is likely to be the last roll of the dice for second and third tier candidates who have so far clung on, and could even spell the end of the road for previously highly touted candidates if they underperform after a bad February.
The great news for Sanders is, if things go really well in California he could pick up a huge number of the state’s 416 delegates, around 10% of the pledged delegate count at the Democratic National Convention.
With a 15% viability threshold to pick up delegates, in a best case scenario, Sanders could even win every single delegate based on today’s KQED/NPR poll, which had Sanders on 30% ahead of Elizabeth Warren on 16% and Joe Biden on 15%, with the next best, Pete Buttigieg on 8%.
This is unlikely however because delegates are awarded on two basis – by congressional district and at large (statewide), so at least some of his opponents would likely pick up more than 15% in at least some congressional districts, but even if that were the case Sanders is still well positioned for a big and potentially crucial win in California.