February 19, 2020
Former New York City three-term Mayor Michael Bloomberg has qualified for Wednesday’s debate in Las Vegas—marking the first time that the big-spending billionaire will appear onstage alongside his Democratic presidential rivals.
And those rivals are certain to pile on him when they get the opportunity—defending their own hard-won positions in the 2020 race.
A new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll. released on February 18, found that Bloomberg had garnered 19% support among Democrats and Democratic-leaning Independents, ; putting him in second place behind Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, with 31%. That was a substantial surge since the group’s poll in December, when Mr. Bloomberg received only 4% support, The New York Times noted.
The survey was the fourth national qualifying poll since mid-January that showed Bloomberg with at least 10%t support—enough to earn him an invitation to the debate stage before the deadline of 11:59 p.m. (ET) on February 18.
Onstage, Bloomberg will face off against Sanders; Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota; former Vice President Joe Biden.; and Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, the Times reported. The debate will be hosted by NBC News, MSNBC, Telemundo, and The Nevada Independent.
In the new poll, Biden drew 15% of potential voters; Warren, 12%; Klobuchar, 9%; and Buttigieg, 8%. The poll surveyed 527 Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents by phone between February 13 and February16; and had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.
Bloomberg formally entered the race in November, nearly a year after most of the other candidates. He failed to make the cut for the past several debates in part because he is not accepting outside contributions for his campaign, the Times reported.
But new rules announced by the Democratic National Committee opened the door to his participation, as they enabled candidates to qualify for the Las Vegas debate, as well as the one that will take place on February 25 in Charleston, South Carolina, without meeting a donor threshold.
Tom Steyer, the other billionaire seeking the Democratic nomination, has participated in the five most recent debates, but he is unlikely to be onstage in Las Vegas. He would need to receive 10% support in four national qualifying polls, or 12% in two polls taken in Nevada or South Carolina, before the deadline.
Research contact: @nytimespolitics