The FINANCIAL — Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has made it official that he is considering entering this year’s presidential race as an independent. Early polling suggests a Bloomberg candidacy would be good for Donald Trump and bad for Hillary Clinton.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that the Republican front-runner would win a hypothetical three-way matchup with Bloomberg and the leading Democratic contender: Trump earns 36% support to Clinton’s 30% and Bloomberg’s eight percent (8%). But a sizable 20% prefer some other candidate, and five percent (5%) are undecided.
In late December, for comparison, it was Clinton with 37% of the vote and Trump with 36% in a potential 2016 presidential matchup. The remaining 27% liked another candidate or were undecided.
This suggests that Bloomberg is a bigger threat to Clinton at this early stage than he is to fellow New York billionaire Trump. Some have suggested, however, that Bloomberg is just letting major Democratic donors know that he is available if Clinton’s campaign stumbles against Bernie Sanders or if she is indicted for trafficking in classified material over a private e-mail server while secretary of State.
Sixty percent (60%) of Republicans and 50% of unaffiliated voters dislike Bloomberg, compared to only 32% of Democrats.
Among all voters, the ex-mayor is viewed favorably by 29% and unfavorably by 46%. This includes five percent (5%) with a Very Favorable view and 22% with a Very Unfavorable one. But 25% don’t know enough about Bloomberg to venture even a soft opinion of him.
In a speculative two-way race last June, Clinton defeated Bloomberg 69% to 20% among likely Democratic voters. Among all voters, the former first lady was still the winner but by a much narrower 41% to 29% margin, with 30% who preferred someone else or were undecided.
In the three-way matchup, Bloomberg earns just five percent (5%) of the Democratic vote, and he pulls nearly as strongly (4%) from Republicans. Among voters not affiliated with either major party, though, he runs second: It’s Trump 38%, Bloomberg 16%, Clinton 12%.
Bloomberg is viewed more favorably by those under 40 than by their elders, but younger voters are also the most likely to be undecided about him. This is a potential area of growth for Bloomberg since younger voters are the most enthusiastic about Clinton’s Democratic opponent, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who seems unlikely to make it all the way to the Democratic nomination.
Despite their near tie in last week’s Iowa caucus, Clinton leads Sanders 50% to 32% among Democrats nationally.
Trump still holds a double-digit lead nationally over his rivals for the GOP presidential nomination.
Trump also has double-digit leads over both Clinton and Bloomberg among men. Among women, he and Clinton are tied, with Bloomberg a distant third.
Moderates and liberals are twice as likely as conservatives to hold a favorable opinion of Bloomberg. In a three-way race, he earns 14% support from self-described moderates, nine percent (9%) from liberals and just four percent (4%) of the conservative vote.
Roughly half of both Republicans and Democrats expect their party’s ultimate 2016 nominee to share their ideological views, but only one-in-four unaffiliated voters agree.
Since stepping down as mayor of New York City two years ago, Bloomberg has become perhaps best known for financing efforts for stricter gun control around the country. Voters remain closely divided on the need for additional gun control, but Democrats are much stronger supporters of increased gun control than Republicans and unaffiliated voters are.
In his last year in office, most New York City voters still approved of the job Bloomberg was doing as mayor. But Americans nationwide disagreed with his efforts to ban the sale of large sugary drinks and to stop private food donations to homeless shelters.
Most voters still believe it’s likely Clinton broke the law by sending and receiving classified information through a private e-mail server, but they are far less convinced that serious criminal charges will be brought against her.