Washington: Democrat front-runner Hillary Clinton and rival Bernie Sanders are virtually deadlocked in California, the biggest prize of the 2016 Democratic presidential primary season, according to a new poll.

The survey, conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California, finds Clinton with only a small lead over Sanders, 46% to 44%, among likely voters in the Democratic primary on June 7, Politico reported on Thursday.

The poll also showed a majority of Republican primary voters will cast their ballots for the party’s presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump.

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California looms largest in the Democratic presidential race. However, Clinton is likely to clinch the nomination — factoring in the expressed preferences of unpledged superdelegates — even before polls close in California, the poll said.

The PPIC poll showed the race breaking along familiar lines.

Sanders holds a large advantage among younger voters — leading 66 percent to 27 percent among voters under age 45 — while Clinton leads, 59% to 28%, among voters 45 and older.

But the survey showed only a small gender gap. Sanders holds a 4-point edge with men, and Clinton leads by 7 points among female voters.

There’s also little difference between white voters, who favour Clinton by a 6-point margin, and Hispanics, who back the former secretary of state by 9 points.

The poll was conducted over a relatively long period of time — May 13-22 — and surveyed 552 likely Democratic primary voters.

Meanwhile, among likely Republican primary voters, about two-thirds, 67%, said they would vote for Trump. Just over a quarter, 26%, said they will vote for someone else.

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