Essential Politics: The numbers show California is coalescing behind Hillary Clinton – Los Angeles Times

I’m Christina Bellantoni, and today’s Essential Politics gets your week started with a look at the big numbers in California.


That’s the percentage of California’s vote Hillary Clinton held over both Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz in hypothetical match-ups posed by the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll


The percentage of Sen. Bernie Sanders voters who told pollsters they would cast ballots for Clinton in November.

David Lauter gets to the heart of what the figures suggest about the race, where Clinton holds a modest 45% to 37% lead over Sanders. Those findings show the reality underlying the still-heated rhetoric of the Democratic primaries: By contrast with the civil war that divides Republicans, Democrats in the country’s largest state have begun to coalesce behind their front-runner.

Then there’s the Republican side.


That’s Trump versus Cruz in the Republican primary among registered voters. 


That’s Trump and Cruz among the most likely voters identified in the USC/LAT poll, a key distinction that is going to matter a lot come June 7, as Cathleen Decker reported for our Sunday front page.

Decker sees the Republicans as living in two worlds: One for Trump supporters, the other for supporters of everyone else.


That’s the number of possible scenarios for how this Republican nomination brawl could end, as explained by Mark Z. Barabak.

Finally, a number that’s going to matter a lot to the 5 million people in California who are considered low-wage workers.


That’s what the minimum wage would be boosted to by 2022 under a deal lawmakers in Sacramento struck with labor unions. John Myers, Liam Dillon and Melanie Mason scooped over the weekend that the compromise means voters won’t be considering the question at the end of an already crowded ballot on Nov. 8.

But the possible boost has some fearing they’ll be put out of business

As the Metro staff reports for today’s front page, some restaurants are saying this minimum wage hike would mean they would be forced to rethink what they serve and how many people they employ.

As the deal unfolds, keep an eye on our Essential Politics news feed for the latest from Sacramento and breaking news on California politics.


Sanders pulled off huge caucus wins in Washington state, Alaska and Hawaii Saturday, but even after those victories, Clinton holds a lead of more than 260 in the count of pledged delegates to the Democratic nominating convention, not including her lead with superdelegates — party leaders and elected officials who can vote as they choose at the convention.

As Lauter cautions, the 260-delegate lead is a big one — bigger than what then-Sen. Barack Obama amassed over Clinton in 2008

You can follow the delegate race here.

We’re tracking news from both primaries all day via Trail Guide, and make sure you are following @latimespolitics.


Weeks have passed since the Legislature approved a package of anti-smoking bills, and they still haven’t landed on Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk for his signature. Patrick McGreevy reports that tobacco industry lobbyists are calling the delay strategic, making the argument that political gamesmanship stands in the way of a referendum to overturn the measures.


Just before Easter, Brown again issued a spate of holiday pardons. The governor has long embraced a tradition of granting clemency around holidays. This time he pardoned 59 people, most of whom were convicted of nonviolent crimes. Last Christmas, Brown’s highest profile pardon was for actor Robert Downey Jr., who spent time behind bars in the late 1990s after a series of drug-related offenses.


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