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Monday, November 11, 2019



“By Eric LutzNovember 11, 2019

Last Friday, the New York Times dropped a story that instantly changed the conversation around the 2020 Democratic primary: Michael Bloomberg, the Times reported, was preparing to enter the race. His motive? Concerns that no one in the huge primary field can take out Donald Trump. But the wealthy ex-New York mayor may see his White House hopes thwarted by a minor problem: almost no Democratic voters want him to run.

According to a new Morning Consult poll, Bloomberg would be the first choice of just 4% of Democratic primary voters—a better position than novelty candidates like Andrew Yang and underperforming lawmakers like Cory Booker, but far from the immediate frontrunner status he might have expected. Indeed, the poll suggested that, at least for now, a late Bloomberg entry would do little to shake up a race that’s already been running full steam for the better part of a year, leaving Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Pete Buttigieg at the top of the field. While the poll also suggested that the billionaire could edge out Trump, a former golf buddy, in a general election matchup, it confirmed serious doubts about the former Republican’s ability to win over primary voters.

News last week that Bloomberg filed paperwork to run in the Alabama primary—while skipping the first four contests of the race—was met with a great deal of derision, from both commentators and some of his potential rivals. “Don’t think you can simply buy an election,” Sanders said of a Bloomberg candidacy. “People look at the White House and they see this multi-millionaire,” Amy Klobuchar added to CNN. “I don’t think they say, ‘Oh, we need somebody richer.’”

Sunday’s poll appears to reflect that distaste, with a quarter of Democrats holding unfavorable views of Bloomberg—the highest of any candidate in the field. With word that his entry might not cause what his supporters had predicted would be a major disruption, sources close to Bloomberg told Axios on Sunday that he might not run after all. Filing papers in Alabama was a “trial balloon to gauge interest,” sources told the outlet. That the balloon seems to have popped may lead him to stay on the sidelines, as he’d initially said he’d do. His prospects are subject to change, of course; the two moderates and two progressives at the top of the field are continuing to duke it out, and Democratic voters, still battered from a stunning loss in 2016, have continued to second-guess themselves in search of the right candidate to put up against Trump. “Just when they start to fall in love, they find something that gets them a little nervous,” Rahm Emanuel told the Times on Sunday. “They’re still searching for the horse that can win.”

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