Who Wants Michael Bloomberg To Run For President? Practically Nobody

As Michael Bloomberg flirts with the idea of running for President, a poll finds very little enthusiasm for the idea.

Michael-Bloomberg3

With news continuing to circulate that former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is seriously considering a run for the White House, a new survey shows that he seems to appeal only to a very specific demographic:

It’s not clear that a Bloomberg bid would get much traction. Those initial reports in the Times swarmed around in late January, shortly before Siena College was surveying New Yorkers on their feelings about the two parties’ nominations. Hillary Clinton leads in the state by a fairly large margin, powered by strong support from black New Yorkers.

But the pollsters also asked people who they’d love to see enter the race, if anybody. Even with the Bloomberg rumors floating out there, 48 percent of the state said they were comfortable with the field as it stands, and another 12 percent offered no opinion. When people did offer names, Bloomberg’s was the most common — cited by 17 percent of Republicans and 14 percent of Democrats. That’s about as many Democrats as said Joe Biden.

But that informal write-in ballot varied widely depending on who was being asked. When we first looked at Bloomberg’s confirmation on Monday, we noted that his campaign seemed to appeal mostly to the wealthy New Yorkers with whom he surrounds himself. And, sure enough: Residents of New York City and its suburbs were more likely to throw out Bloomberg’s name — as were much wealthier residents of the city. Black New Yorkers, who loudly criticized Bloomberg’s police practices during his tenure, were much more unlikely to suggest that they wished he’d run. The group mentioning him the most was Jewish New Yorkers, one out of four of him mentioned his name.

In other words, the people who want Michael Bloomberg to run the most are wealthier, white, Jewish New York City residents: People just like Michael Bloomberg.

A Quinnipiac University poll, also conducted a survey prior to Bloomberg’s comments that offered a national match-up of Bloomberg-Sanders-Trump or Bloomberg-Sanders-Ted Cruz. Bloomberg fared poorly in both, earning 15 percent of the vote — and with half the country not knowing him well enough to have an opinion. Among those who know him best, according to Siena, only a small number would like to see him mount that bid.

Obviously, a well-funded Bloomberg campaign across the country would arguably make his name better known to Americans and possibly increase his potential vote share, at least in the short term. Throughout American history, it’s been far more common for independent bids for the Presidency to fizzle out, or become non-factors in the outcome in the race as far as the final outcome is concerned. For every Ross Perot, Strom Thurmond, or George Wallace, there are a dozen John Anderson’s. Even in cases where third party candidates have managed to win Electoral Votes, such as the Dixiecrats in 1948 and Wallace’s American Independent Party in 1968, there’s little evidence that the third party candidate had any real impact on the outcome of the race. Of all the instances where third, or fourth, parties, had a real impact on the race the number of times it really matter can arguably counted on one hand, namely the Election of 1824, the Election of 1860, and the Election of 1912, when Teddy Rooselvelt’s Bull Moose Party sufficiently split the Republican vote to deny William Howard Taft a second term and make Woodrow Wilson only he second Democrat elected President since the end of the Civil War. As things stand right now, there’s no reason to believe that a Bloomberg candidacy would be anything other than a vanity campaign that turns out to have an impact more like that of John Anderson than any of the third-party campaign

As I have said before, the only people who seem to think that the nation is pining for a Bloomberg run for the White House are people who live within the New York-Washington Acela Corridor and find something appealing about Bloomberg’s technocratic approach to government. Unlike the kind of third party runs listed above, there certainly doesn’t seem to be any passion that would drive a Bloomberg candidacy, and certainly no grassroots movement calling for him to throw his hat in the ring. Compare that to the enthusiasm we see in the Republican and Democratic parties for Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, both of whom have surprised the political elites and have a unique ability to fill large arenas with enthusiastic supporters relatively easily. Indeed, either candidate could probably mount a very effective third-party bid with sufficient resources, although it wouldn’t be easy even for them. There’s no indication of any such passion or yearning for Michael Bloomberg except, perhaps, on the Op-Ed Page of The New York Times. That may be enough to get some news coverage, but it’s not enough to mount an effective campaign.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2016, Public Opinion Polls, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. gVOR08 says:

    The proto-fascist New York billionaire niche seems to be occupied.

  2. Hal_10000 says:

    So, let sketch out a scenario. Trump wins the nomination but many Republicans defect. Clinton loses the primaries but wins the nomination on superdelegates and many Democrats defect. Bloomberg throws in.We end up with Trump getting 30% of the vote, finishing second in popular vote but joining with Bloomberg for enough EV’s to take the White House. Revolution ensues and, in the confusion, Jim Gilmore is declared President and Defender of the Faith.

    It was his plan all along.

  3. LaMont says:

    In most cases, the independent runner was considered the radical. That is not the narrative this time. If it becomes clear that Trump and Sanders will be the respective nominees, I believe there will still be a silent majority, that hates Trump and do not understand much about Sanders, to believe Bloomberg to be the safe choice. Bloomberg already has a background in NY to boost his already high profile and I believe the perception of him would be that he is not as radical as the other two candidates. And he would also fit the narrative that he isn’t campaigning for the money and isn’t a “Washington” insider – a benefit that both Trump and Sanders enjoys. Yes, it appears to be an uphill battle for Bloomberg now but after witnessing what has happened to date – I could have never imagined that, in February, Trump would be leading by a significant measure and Sanders to be considered a serious contender. Anything can happen. Bloomberg has a chance.

  4. Franklin says:

    @Hal_10000: At this point, the first couple sentences of your scenario are plausible. (Well, maybe not Clinton actually losing the primaries, but cutting it close.) So let’s run with it:

    That’s the relevant question here. It doesn’t matter how much enthusiasm there is for Bloomberg – the question is whether the sum of defecting Republicans plus defecting Democrats is enough for some reasonable, moderate candidate to win.

    Now, my best guess is no, because I don’t think there will be a large amount of Democrats defecting from Hillary (no more than 15%). I *could* see a significant number of Republicans (let’s say 25-35%) defecting from Trump, however.

  5. al-Ameda says:

    Independent candidacies are usually a mirage – Perot took over 15% and helped to elect Clinton. It’s not going to happen.

    That said, Michael Bloomberg is preferable to any of the current Republican crew, and it’s not even close.

    I think what worries some people about Bloomberg is two things: (1) he’s Jewish, that gets the wealth, money-changer conspiracy nuts, or about 27% of voters, riled up, and (2) he might issue an Executive Order banning soft drinks.in excess of 12oz from sale to minors.

    Seriously, there really is nowhere for Bloomberg to go, he cannot mine Republican votes, there are no so-called moderate GOP voters to be had, and in the face of a Hillary implosion he might get 10-15% of voters who would have no part of Sanders.

  6. Slugger says:

    I am not aware of the tide of popular sentiment that elevated many of the other candidates. For the most part, they seemed to have made the grab for the ring on their own. I recall no huddled masses crowding the homesteads of anyone asking to be led.
    Unlike a substantial number of others, Bloomberg has an actual record of executive political leadership. I would be willing to see a dispassionate analysis of his tenure. In an era when people claim with a straight face that their decision to run came during prayers, someone with an actual record is a novelty.

  7. Gromitt Gunn says:

    Pat Buchanan wants him to run.

  8. Kylopod says:

    Even in cases where third party candidates have managed to win Electoral Votes, such as the Dixiecrats in 1948 and Wallace’s American Independent Party in 1968, there’s little evidence that the third party candidate had any real impact on the outcome of the race.

    Strom Thurmond took a fairly substantial chunk of votes from Truman in ’48. Truman would almost certainly have done better, and won more easily, if Thurmond hadn’t been in the race. The fact that it didn’t ultimately cause Truman to lose doesn’t prove it had no impact on the race.

    It’s also striking that you don’t mention Nader in 2000, a race that ultimately came down to a 500-vote difference separating Bush from Gore in Florida, where Nader’s support was in the tens of thousands. What the episode revealed is that even an indie run with relatively little support (Nader got less than 2% of the vote nationally) can have a fairly substantial impact in a close race.

  9. humanoid.panda says:

    @Franklin:

    Now, my best guess is no, because I don’t think there will be a large amount of Democrats defecting from Hillary (no more than 15%). I *could* see a significant number of Republicans (let’s say 25-35%) defecting from Trump, however.

    And of course, there is the point that its hard to see anything but a small sliver of Sanders supporters defecting to Bloomberg. A much more reasonable scenario for him getting a significant sliver of votes is for Sanders to trigger an exist of upper middle class Democrats.

  10. David M says:

    I think it’s fair to say the GOP establishment would like Bloomberg to run.

  11. humanoid.panda says:

    @Kylopod: Right, but its hard to see that Bloomberg would waste a billion dollar for the prospect of getting 3% of the vote, and playing a spoiler in, I dunno, northern Virginia? I mean, I don’t think he is running for anything lesser than a Perot-style 20% of the vote, and he’s not getting that.

  12. charon says:

    Per the NYT several weeks ago when Bloomberg speculation was newer, the only poll run showed Bloomberg getting 13%, of which 8% came from the Dem, 5% from the GOP.

  13. Todd says:

    As long as this comment thread is throwing around imaginary scenarios, here’s probably the most plausible (but still extremely unlikely) reason for Bloomberg to enter the race …

    Let’s assume Donald Trump gets the Republican nomination. Let’s also assume that Hillary Clinton holds on to get the Democratic nomination. Around the middle of September or so news breaks that “oh yea, btw, the other shoe is about to drop with that whole silly email server thing”. Clinton is toast, and suddenly Bloomberg looks like a very attractive alternative to a President Trump.

    Note: I am not implying that I think anything will actually come out of the email thing. Just that off the top of my head that’s the only (even remotely plausible) scenario where I could see Michael Bloomberg having a reasonable chance at become President as an Independent candidate.

  14. Pete S says:

    To answer the headline question, about the only person who wants Bloomberg to be president is Bloomberg. I think his ego is such that he wants to feel like he is responding to a public clamoring for him to enter the race, which I guess will be supplied by the various flunkies “wealthy New Yorkers” he hangs around with.

  15. Tyrell says:

    If it comes down to the choice being between Hillary and Don, I would think that interest in Bloomberg would pick up a lot.

  16. Slugger says:

    The quoted piece said that “wealthier, white, Jewish, New York City residents” are his biggest supporters. In other words, the people who know him best. Not to beat on a dead horse, but this is in sharp distinction to Carly F who got absolutely trounced in the Bay Area counties when she ran against Boxer.
    BTW. aren’t rich NYC Jews among the smartest people on this earth if you discount my immediate meshpuchah?

  17. Kylopod says:

    @humanoid.panda: I think you underestimate how delusional and ego-driven most politicians are.

  18. SkullDuggery says:

    Dunno where this author is coming from, but I want Bloomberg to run.

    Because he’ll either split the Dem vote enough so we get a GOP White House. Or, he splits up all the votes enough so that no candidates achieve the electoral college threshold, thus throwing the election to the current House of Representatives — which also means we get a GOP White House according to the Twelfth Amendment applying to the current House majority by Republicans.

    Works for me and tens of millions of other conservatives in America. So I really don’t know what this author refers to when using the word ‘nobody’.

  19. SkullDuggery says:

    @Todd:

    Bone up on Duverger’s Law. As Bloomberg will take more votes away from the Dem candidate than Republican one, the Republican will win.

    This happened with Perot in ’92 is why Bill Clinton ‘won’ with only 42% of the vote in that election.

    This happened in Florida 2000 when Nader took 97,000 votes from Al Gore and we all know what happened then.

    And it happened — as this article mentions — 1912 which is how Woodrow Wilson got elected.

    https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Duverger's_law

    And bone up on the Twelfth Amendment. That describes what happens if no candidate gets the minimum number of required EC votes. The current House of Representatives then decides…and they vote by state block, not as individual congresscriters. Thus, game over for Bloomberg and the Dem candidate in that situation.

  20. SkullDuggery says:

    @Kylopod: The reason why Nader is hardly mentioned is because liberals don’t like bringing it up — it totally destroys their narrative that Bush stole the election, after all.

  21. SkullDuggery says:

    @Hal_10000: Candidates can not join forces in the EC. It’s not set up to work that way nor can it be changed as so.

  22. Sherparick says:

    @Franklin: By the way, a plurality of the popular vote is not how an election is decided, but rather a majority of the electoral vote. Bloomberg, a billionaire, anti-gun, non-religious (as far as I can tell) Jew is not going to change a single state that went from “Red to Blue.” The elite of the Republican Party may hate Trump, but to the base he is singing their song. They have been taught for 30 years to believe BS is gold so when he just rambles on about making America “Great (White) Again” and thumping all the foreigners and kicking on the Mexicans and Muslims out of the country, and telling Black folk there will be plenty of work picking cotton now that he Mexicans are back in Mexico, the hear the bleeding choir invisible. So put all the Romney votes in Trumps electoral college bucket and think about the election of 1912. Woodrow Wilson just got 41% of the popular vote, but 435 Electoral votes. Bloomberg draws enough Democratic votes he will create just such an landslide.

  23. HarvardLaw92 says:

    Not for nothing, but if he were the GOP nominee I’d honestly at least consider voting for him. He’s 1,000 times better than any of the clowns currently running for their nomination.

    I wouldn’t consider voting for him as an independent under any circumstances.

  24. PJ says:

    @SkullDuggery:

    This happened with Perot in ’92 is why Bill Clinton ‘won’ with only 42% of the vote in that election.

    No, without Perot, Clinton would have still won. Easily.

    Also I’m happy to bring up Nader. Democrats voting for Nader in battle ground states gave away the election to Bush 43.

    And if Trump actually ends up running as an independent after losing the GOP primary, then he would make Clinton’s win margin in November much larger.

  25. PJ says:

    @Todd:

    As long as this comment thread is throwing around imaginary scenarios, here’s probably the most plausible (but still extremely unlikely) reason for Bloomberg to enter the race …

    The most plausible would be for him wanting to save America from either a racist demagouge or a democratic soc*a*ist…

  26. grumpy realist says:

    I only want to see Bloomberg run if he picks Martin Shkreli as his VP.

  27. Kylopod says:

    @SkullDuggery:

    The reason why Nader is hardly mentioned is because liberals don’t like bringing it up — it totally destroys their narrative that Bush stole the election, after all.

    1. If you’re unaware of the fact that liberals have been bringing up Nader’s spoiler role in the 2000 election fairly constantly for the last 15 years, it suggests you lack familiarity with liberals and shouldn’t be making assumptions about what they believe.

    2. Your argument is so dazzlingly illogical that it isn’t really worth the effort to untangle, so I’ll leave it at that.

  28. Tyrell says:

    Bloomberg could bring some new ideas to the floor. He has expertise and experience in finance. He could reform the government, make the government more business-like and efficient, reform the budget, know how to make fair trade deals, and have a program for deficit reduction. He has enough money to finance his own campaigns, and won’t be under the influence of lobbyists. He had success in New York City in reducing crime and cleaning up the city. His problems seem to center around a weird desire to control personal freedoms, including what people eat and drink, and restricting gun ownership. Overall, the people of NYC seemed to have a favorable rating on his terms as mayor.

  29. Todd says:

    @SkullDuggery: lol, I have no idea what part of my comment your response was directed at.

    To put it bluntly, in any conventional scenario I don’t see any way that it makes the least bit of sense for Michael Bloomberg to enter the race.

    The only way that it might make sense to put in the effort to get on the ballot in as many States as possible is if he believes there is some less than zero chance that one candidate (Clinton) might somehow be taken down by outside sources (such as an FBI investigation) after the conventions, but before the election.

    In a 3 way race, Bloomberg is at best a spoiler. In a two way race with Donald Trump, he’s a very plausible President.

    This scenario is extremely unlikely, almost to the point that making that investment to get on the ballots would be a “waste of money”. But if I was worth $30+ Billion, I might see throwing down a few million bucks to make myself a “just in case” place-holder type candidate as a reasonable long-shot bet.

  30. Franklin says:

    @Sherparick:

    By the way, a plurality of the popular vote is not how an election is decided, but rather a majority of the electoral vote.

    Nothing I said contradicts that. An independent candidate can get electoral votes, too, you know.

  31. Slugger says:

    @Tyrell: Props to you for looking at the actual record of a politician. We libs give you a lot of criticism, but good for you on this instance.

  32. Franklin says:

    @Tyrell: I suspect that you and I disagree on this point, but government is not business. Sure, there’s some pretty basic accounting that both have to adhere to. But they are fundamentally different in many ways, and many businessmen-turn-politicians have failed to understand that (I’m not talking about Bloomberg here).

  33. Pete S says:

    @Tyrell:

    He has enough money to finance his own campaigns, and won’t be under the influence of lobbyists.

    You may be right, but it doesn’t really matter. The same goes for Trump. Unless he is also willing and able to personally finance the campaigns of every House and Senate member so that they too are free of lobbyist influence, the lobbyists will still be more or less writing every bill that comes to his desk for a signature.

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