Phil Willon
March 23, 2016 – 09:00 p.m.

New York billionaire Donald Trump enjoys a sizable lead over other GOP presidential candidates among California Republican voters, according to a new poll by the Public Policy Institute of California.

With the departure of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio from the campaign, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz appears to make up ground by nabbing the bulk of Rubio’s supporters, but he still lags behind Trump.

California’s 172 delegates — 14% of the 1,237 required to win the nomination — will be chosen on June 7, when New Jersey and four other states will also caucus or cast votes.

With the GOP race unlikely to be decided before June, California’s primary election could decide who wins the Republican nomination.

Whether California will tip the scales for Trump is complicated by the fact that the vast majority of delegates are awarded three at a time to the winner of each of the state’s 53 congressional districts.

The survey showed that 38% of California Republicans likely to vote in the June primary support Trump, compared with 19% who support Cruz and 12% who support Ohio Gov. John Kasich. Rubio, who dropped out of the race while the poll was being conducted, also had 12% support.

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