AP-GfK Poll: Voters show little interest in Bloomberg bid

NEW YORK (AP) — Most Americans, regardless of ideology, say they have no interest in voting former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg into the White House. That's according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll.

The media billionaire is set to decide next month if he'll launch a third-party bid.

Just 7 percent of registered voters say they'd definitely vote for Bloomberg, while 29 percent say they'd consider it, according to the poll.

Six in 10 Democrats and Republicans alike say they would not consider voting for Bloomberg in a general election, according to the poll. The total saying they wouldn't vote for him is the highest level for any candidate in the field.

But the survey also suggests that a Bloomberg candidacy could not be shrugged off by the two main political parties.

With more than one-third of voters at least open to backing him even before he's started, Bloomberg may have the potential to become a spoiler in a close fall election.

But a President Bloomberg? Opposition to his possible candidacy is nearly uniform across the political spectrum, as 61 percent of Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters and 63 percent of Republican and Republican-leaning voters say they wouldn't vote for him.

One of the richest people in the United States, Bloomberg has called the 2016 campaign as "a race to the extremes" and suggested he might run if Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders led the Democratic field and either Donald Trump or Texas Sen. Ted Cruz led the Republicans.

Bloomberg's aides say the rise of the parties' fringes has opened a centrist, pragmatic path that the fiscal conservative and social liberal could fill, but that he would only try if he saw a reasonable chance to win.

But more than half of the self-identified moderates in each party — and half of independents who don't lean toward either party — won't consider backing Bloomberg, the poll found.

Bloomberg, a Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-independent, oversaw a renaissance in New York as crime plummeted and property values soared, and he's become a leading advocate on climate change and gun control. His critics condemn his ties to Wall Street.

Just 16 percent of voters polled say that Bloomberg represents their positions on the issues they care about very or even somewhat well. The poll also found that 44 percent of voters still say they don't know much about him.

But Bloomberg's own pollster said he believes the findings "would be a good starting point" for a possible campaign. "This says that 36 percent of voters would consider voting for him before he has announced as a candidate or done anything resembling campaigning," said Douglas Schoen. "That seems like a very reasonable place to begin."

Bloomberg has instructed aides to research previous third-party runs and is said to be willing to spend up to $1 billion of his own fortune, estimated to be about $37 billion, to finance his campaign and potentially blanket the airwaves with ads that could boost his numbers.


The AP-GfK Poll of 1,033 adults was conducted online Feb. 11-15, using a sample drawn from GfK's probability-based KnowledgePanel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.

Respondents were first selected randomly using telephone or mail survey methods, and later interviewed online. People selected for KnowledgePanel who didn't otherwise have access to the Internet were provided access at no cost to them.


Swanson reported from Washington.