Hillary Clinton's support tumbles in California as Sanders surges: Field Poll

Iowa Poll: How the Democrat and GOP Races Are Shaping Up

Hillary Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, has seen a dramatic drop in support among likely California primary voters since May as rival Bernie Sanders has surged, a Field Poll released on Wednesday shows.

Less than half of likely Democratic voters in the June 2016 presidential primary in California, 47 percent, now say they will vote for Clinton, whose candidacy has been damaged by a scandal over her use of a private email server while she was secretary of state, according to the survey.

A Field Poll conducted in May found that 66 percent of likely primary voters supported Clinton, first lady during the administration of her husband, former President Bill Clinton, and later a U.S. senator from New York.

Meanwhile self-styled socialist Sanders, so far Clinton's most prominent challenger for the Democratic presidential nomination, has since May climbed from single-digit voter support among California voters to 35 percent, according to the poll.

Bernie Sanders on the campaign poll:

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Hillary Clinton's support tumbles in California as Sanders surges: Field Poll
PHOENIX, AZ - MARCH 15: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) speaks to a crowd gathered at the Phoenix Convention Center during a campaign rally on March 15, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona. Hillary Clinton won the Democratic primary elections in Florida, North Carolina and Ohio, while Missouri and Illinois remain tight races. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
DES MOINES, IA - JANUARY 26: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks to the media after holding a campaign event with United Steelworkers Local 310L, on January 26, 2016 in Des Moines, Iowa. Sanders continues his quest to become the Democratic presidential nominee.. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - US Senator and Democratic Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders speaks during a campaign event at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, Iowa, January 24, 2016, ahead of the Iowa Caucus. / AFP / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, participates in the Democratic presidential candidate debate in Charleston, South Carolina, U.S., on Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016. Hours before Sunday's Democratic debate, the two top Democratic contenders held a warm-up bout of sorts in multiple separate appearances on political talk shows, at a time when the polling gap between the pair has narrowed in early-voting states. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 05: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) shakes hands with supporters after outlining his plan to reform the U.S. financial sector on January 5, 2016 in New York City. Sanders is demanding greater financial oversight and greater government action for banks and individuals that break financial laws. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
LEBANON, NH - NOVEMBER 11: Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (I-VT) marches in the Veterans Day Parade November 11, 2015 in Lebanon, New Hampshire. Sanders goes into the Democrats second debate this weekend still running strong in the polls.(Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)
Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, speaks at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute conference in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015. While next Tuesday's first Democratic presidential debate will probably lack the name-calling and sharp jabs of the Republican face-offs, there's still potential for strong disagreements between the party's leading contenders. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Democratic Presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders speaks about the Workplace Democracy Act on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on October 6, 2015. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
US Senator from Vermont and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders addresses striking low-wage contract workers from the US Capitol and religious leaders at the Lutheran Church of the Reformation in Washington, DC, on September 22, 2015 for an interfaith service ahead of the arrival of Pope Francis for a six-day visit to the US. AFP PHOTO/NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, NH - SEPTEMBER 19: Democratic Presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) talks on stage during the New Hampshire Democratic Party State Convention on September 19, 2015 in Manchester, New Hampshire. Five Democratic presidential candidates are all expected to address the crowd inside the Verizon Wireless Arena. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)
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Mark DiCamillo, the Field Poll's director, said that California appeared to be in sync with voters nationally, where Clinton's approval ratings have suffered under the weight of the email revelations.

"I think it primarily has to do with the fact that over the past few months almost all the news voters have heard about Hillary Clinton has been about this email scandal, and not her policy positions," DiCamillo said. "The campaign is pretty much in a defensive mode and that's never a good thing."

The poll also found less enthusiasm for Clinton as the party's nominee and that 63 percent of likely voters believed it would be a good thing if Vice President Joe Biden were to enter the race.

SEE ALSO: Pro-Biden super PAC launches first TV ad, urging 2016 run

However only 15 percent of likely voters said they would back Biden in the June primary if he were to enter the race, an apparent contradiction that DiCamillo said was explained by Democrats' frustration over a primary season that had seen their candidates overshadowed by a larger, noisier Republican race.

"What that says to me is that Democratic voters really would like the opportunity to see their candidate against any and all comers, and Biden would certainly be welcomed into race," he said. "That might turn more attention to the Democratic primary."

The poll was conducted from Sept. 17 to Oct. 4 by telephone in English and Spanish and surveyed 1,002 registered voters in California, 391 whom were considered likely to vote in the June primary, according to the Field Poll. The margin of error was plus or minus 5 percentage points.

(Editing by Eric Walsh)

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Hillary Clinton's support tumbles in California as Sanders surges: Field Poll
OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 10: Independent presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) takes a selfie with a nurse from the National Nurse United during a 'Brunch with Bernie' campaign rally at the National Nurses United offices on August 10, 2015 in Oakland, California. The National Nurses United members announced their endorsement for independent presedential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders during a campaign stop before he heads to Los Angeles for a campaign rally in Los Angeles at the Memorial Sports Arena. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
EDISON, NJ - AUGUST 30: A golf fan takes a 'selfie' with presidential candidate Donald Trump during the final round of The Barclays at Plainfield Country Club on August 30, 2015 in Edison, New Jersey. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
Scott Walker, governor of Wisconsin and 2016 Republican presidential candidate, right, takes a selfie photograph with an attendee during the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., on Monday, Aug. 17, 2015. Like most every other candidate in the historically crowded field, the Wisconsin governor's standing in state and national polls has been hurt by the summer surge of billionaire Donald Trump, the party's front-runner. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 09: Physician Tamara Hoover (C) takes a selfie with Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson cheer during a campaign rally at the Anaheim Convention Center September 9, 2015 in Anaheim, California. Carson's poll numbers have surged nationally and in the early voting state of Iowa following his performance in the first Republican debate on August 6 to the point where he now trails only frontrunner Donald Trump. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Senator Bernie Sanders, an Independent from Vermont and 2016 U.S. presidential candidate, left, takes a 'selfie' photograph with an attendee during a town hall meeting in Davenport, Iowa, U.S., on Thursday, May 28, 2015. Sanders formally joined the 2016 Democratic presidential race this week, hoping to start 'a political revolution to transform our country economically, politically, socially and environmentally.' Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Ben Carson, 2016 Republican presidential candidate, stands for a selfie photograph with an attendee following a service at Maple Street Missionary Baptist Church in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., on Sunday, Aug. 16, 2015. Carson will be speaking at the Iowa State Fair, which is expected to host 18 presidential candidates and runs until Aug. 23. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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DES MOINES, IA - AUGUST 13: Democratic presidential hopeful and former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (C) takes a selfie in front of the Butter Cow with his children Grace (L) and William (R) during the Iowa State Fair on August 13, 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa. Presidential candidates are addressing attendees at the Iowa State Fair on the Des Moines Register Soapbox stage. The State Fair runs through August 23. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
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Donald Trump, president and chief executive of Trump Organization Inc. and 2016 Republican presidential candidate, stands for a selfie photograph after speaking during a rally at Grand River Center in Dubuque, Iowa, U.S., on Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2015. President Barack Obama's top business ambassador dismissed Trump's call for a wall along the Mexico border, saying the U.S. is focused instead on expanding business with one of its biggest trade partners. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Ben Carson, 2016 Republican presidential candidate, center, is seen on the screen of a smartphone as he poses for a 'selfie' photograph with two attendees while touring the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., on Sunday, Aug. 16, 2015. In a Sunday interview with Fox News, Carson doubled down on his assertion that a speech given by President Barack Obama intended to sell the American public on his nuclear deal with Iran contained 'coded innuendos employing standard anti-Semitic themes.' Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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SPARTANBURG, SC - APRIL 3: Senator and GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz takes a selfie with supporters following a town hall meeting at the Beacon Drive-in restaurant on April 3, 2015 in Spartanburg, South Carolina. The Beacon Drive-in, traditionally a popular venue for campaigning politicians, was Cruz's 2nd stop of the day in South Carolina. (Photo by Richard Ellis/Getty Images)
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DES MOINES, IA - AUGUST 14: Republican presidential hopeful and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (C) takes a selfie with fairgoers at the Iowa Pork Tent during the Iowa State Fair on August 14, 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa. Presidential candidates are addressing attendees at the Iowa State Fair on the Des Moines Register Presidential Soapbox stage. The State Fair runs through August 23. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
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Donald Trump, president and chief executive officer of Trump Organization Inc. and 2016 Republican presidential candidate, takes a selfie photograph with guests after an interview on Bloomberg Television's 'With All Due Respect' in the lobby of the Trump Tower in New York, U.S., on Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015. Trump said that he agrees the carried interest tax 'loophole' should be eliminated and that it is 'tremendous burden' on country's finances. Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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