Michael Bloomberg joins presidential race but only 4% of Democratic primary voters back him, finds poll
Experts feel the billionaire former NYC mayor has a mountain to climb to bag the party's nomination and the Joe Biden campaign is already feeling the heat. It could see Hillary in the fray too, predicts another expert.
Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg has joined an already crowded Democratic race for the presidency next year but it is not going to be easy for the 77-year-old millionaire. According to a new poll that came out on November 10, Bloomberg has little support as nearly a quarter of the Democratic primary voters are not favoring him.
According to the Morning Consult poll, Bloomberg was found to be favorite among only four percent of Democratic primary voters and this despite the fact that the man received strong press coverage over the past week. Bloomberg is ranked sixth, behind Pete Buttigieg (eight percent) and Kamala Harris (six percent) and trailing far behind the three weighty ones — Joe Biden (31 percent), Bernie Sanders (20 percent) and Elizabeth Warren (18 percent), according to the poll.
While it remains a tough ask for Bloomberg now to catch up with the leading candidates, the matter has become worse with nearly 25 percent of the likely primary voters seeing him unfavorably — marking the highest disapproval rating of all the remaining Democratic hopefuls, the poll said.
'Bloomberg's entry not affecting things'
The poll, carried out on November 8 and covered 2,225 registered voters, said Bloomberg's initial entry into the fray is not going to disrupt the current state of affairs in the Democratic race.
“Bloomberg’s initial entrance would do little to disrupt the current state of play, according to the national survey of 2,225 registered voters who indicated they may vote in the Democratic primary or caucus in their state, which had a margin of error of 2 percentage points”, it said.
Bloomberg’s acceptance level was particularly bad among young voters, aged between 18 and 29. His favorability is high among people aged over 65 — the conservative — but their overall share in the Democrats is small, according to the poll.
But all have not lost hope. Grant Woodard, an aide to former secretary of state Hillary Clinton during her 2008 presidential campaign, said Bloomberg has a challenge in his hand but that he also has a lot of resources at his disposal. He also said that there are also people who haven’t made up their minds and it could keep an opening for Bloomberg.
The poll also suggested that had there been a hypothetical election at the moment, Bloomberg would go on to beat President Donald Trump by 43 to 37 percent (21 percent remain undecided). Even the top three Democratic candidates would beat the president, it said.
Biden campaign unhappy
But even though Bloomberg has found low support, his entry into the race has alarmed the Biden campaign. The former vice-president has seen a slump in recent weeks and with his funds-raising fortunes not really thriving, his supporters fear that the billionaire’s entry could jeopardize his dream.
"I pray to God, every night, that this won't hurt Biden," 85-year-old Peggy Bell was quoted as saying at a Saturday campaign event for Biden by Washington Examiner. "I don't think he's weak, it depends on where the polls are from. I've followed him for years. Look at what he did with Barack [Obama]. Bloomberg has nothing in comparison to that,” he added.
Biden’s numbers have fallen alarmingly ahead of the early tests in Iowa (February 3, 2020) and New Hampshire (February 11) and his campaign has even conceded that Biden’s run could gain a boost only after the South Carolina test (February 29).
A number of factors have already pegged Biden’s campaign back and Bloomberg’s entry would make his aides work overtime to rethink strategy. Bloomberg, who served as the mayor of New York City between 2002 and 2013, would reportedly use his monetary power to achieve the goal and a number of his party rivals have already expressed concerns. Bloomberg, who has an estimated net worth of $53 billion, is expected to start contesting a bit late and take part in the March 3 Super Tuesday when several states and entities vote. He is yet to announce his candidature but his filing to run in Alabama primary on March 3 is a strong hint at his competing for the White House’s occupation in 2020.
Biden on Friday welcomed Bloomberg to the race and even called him a “solid guy." But his supporters were not feeling as open-hearted.
Bloomberg's entry could see Hillary Clinton in fray as well?
And with Bloomberg’s entry, there is another side to the story that has come alive. Mark Penn, a former strategist of Hillary, told Fox News on Sunday, November 10, that the millionaire’s step also gives rise to another possibility: the former first lady also joining the fray. Speaking on Sunday Morning Futures on the channel, Penn said Hillary might look at the fray and feel there is still a place for her to jump in to take on candidates she might deem "weak."
“Wow the field's weak, I could come in. I could get 165,000 donors, I’m tied with [Joe] Biden in some of these early states...' There's still a political logic there for her”, Penn said. He said while Joe Biden looked weak, the other candidates were found to have shifted far too the left to be seen as viable alternatives to Trump.
"I think it was political logic. Unless this field changed, Biden is a frontrunner, but a weak frontrunner and a lot of the other candidates are too far to the left”, Penn added.
Hillary, who lost to Trump in 2016 despite getting more popular votes, has spoken out against the president in public in recent times, giving the impression that she is yet interested. The 71-year-old even called Trump an “illegitimate president” during a talk show where she was present with her daughter Chelsea to promote a book they duo has co-authored on women's power.