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A raucous crowd attended Sanders' rally in Palo Alto, California, on Wednesday. (Photo: Getty Images)

'This Campaign Is Not Over': Polls Show Dead Heat in California

New poll also finds Sanders ahead of Clinton among 'potential Democratic electorate'

Nika Knight Beauchamp

Democratic presidential contenders Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are locked in a dead heat in California among registered Democrats, two new polls show.

Sanders even beats Clinton by one point when potential Democratic primary voters are surveyed.

California's June 7 primary is semi-open, meaning Californians registered as Democrats or "No Party Preference" are able to vote in the Democratic primary. In previous primaries, Sanders has proved "far, far more popular with independents" than Clinton, as Kevin Gosztola recently noted.

"We are going to win here in California, we are going to win many of the other states up on June 7, we are going to leave California with enormous momentum going into the convention."
—Bernie Sanders

The Field poll (pdf), released Thursday, found Clinton leading Sanders by a mere two points—within the survey's margin of error. Clinton had the support of 45 percent of the Democratic voters polled, and Sanders had 43 percent. Clinton's lead in the state has shrunk from a whopping 50 points to today's statistical tie with Sanders, as previous polls also captured.

Meanwhile, a NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll published Wednesday found Sanders beating Clinton by one point when the potential Democratic electorate was surveyed, instead of only voters registered as Democrats:

(Screenshot: NBC News/WSJ/Marist)

Sanders has been attracting enormous crowds at rallies throughout California in the lead-up to Tuesday's primary, sending Clinton scrambling to try to regain her once-formidable lead in the delegate-rich state.

"Our message in this campaign, of creating a nation and a vision based on social justice, economic justice, racial justice, and environmental justice [...] is the future vision of this country."
—Bernie Sanders
"I read the newspapers, and they all said the campaign is over. But suddenly I just saw Hillary Clinton racing to California, Bill Clinton racing to California," Sanders said in Palo Alto on Wednesday. "Maybe they think this campaign is not over. And I agree with them. We are going to win here in California, we are going to win many of the other states up on June 7, we are going to leave California with enormous momentum going into the convention, and I believe we've got a real shot to come out of that convention with the Democratic nomination for president of the United States."

Speaking to the cheering California crowds, Sanders has particularly emphasized his stance on immigration reform and his longtime advocacy on behalf of undocumented migrant workers.

"This campaign is listening to the Latino community," Sanders said in Davis. "Here in California and all over this country, undocumented people are being exploited on the job because they have no legal rights. If you are a farm worker here in California and you are overworked and underpaid and cheated on your wages, you can't go to the Department of Labor and your employer knows that."

"That is why together we will pass immigration reform and a path toward citizenship," the Vermont senator concluded.

Stumping in the drought-ridden state, Sanders has also emphasized his opposition to fracking and his plan for tackling climate change. He's repeatedly spoken about his opposition to Clinton's interventionist foreign policy and mass incarceration, and his support for free higher education, for legalizing marijuana, and for overturning Citizens United and establishing a system to publicly fund elections.

Sanders has also continuously returned to his critique of the United States' "rigged" economy, "in which the wealthiest 20 people own more wealth than the bottom 150 million people—half of our country," as Sanders put it in Palo Alto.

Finally, Sanders has noted the tremendous amount of support his campaign has received from young people, telling the Palo Alto crowd that he hopes they feel "enormously gratified [that] our message in this campaign, of creating a nation and a vision based on social justice, economic justice, racial justice, and environmental justice, that whether Donald Trump likes it or not, whether Hillary Clinton likes it or not—that is the future vision of this country."

Watch Sanders' Wednesday rallies in Palo Alto and Davis:

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