Bloomberg set to debate in Nevada after qualifying in new poll

Democratic presidential contender Michael BloombergMichael BloombergWhat Democrats need to do to avoid self-destruction Democrats' combative approach to politics is doing more harm than good Battling over Biden's agenda: A tale of two Democratic parties MORE is set to join his fellow candidates on the debate stage Wednesday after he qualified for the forum with the release of a new NPR–PBS NewsHour–Marist poll.

“Mike is looking forward to joining the other Democratic candidates on stage and making the case for why he's the best candidate to defeat Donald TrumpDonald TrumpSix big off-year elections you might be missing Twitter suspends GOP Rep. Banks for misgendering trans health official Meghan McCain to Trump: 'Thanks for the publicity' MORE and unite the country," Bloomberg's campaign manager, Kevin Sheekey, said in a statement. "The opportunity to discuss his workable and achievable plans for the challenges facing this country is an important part of the campaign process." 

Bloomberg, who is self-funding his campaign, did not meet the donor threshold to qualify for the past debates. Instead, he has relied on deploying high-dollar ad buys across the country in an effort to rise in the polls, and the Democratic National Committee in January eliminated the donor requirement to participate in debates. 

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As of Monday, Bloomberg only needed a state or national-level poll showing him over 10 percent to qualify for the forum. The new survey shows Bloomberg trailing only front-runner Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersRepublican spin on Biden is off the mark Sanders on Medicare expansion in spending package: 'It's not coming out' Briahna Joy Gray: Biden must keep progressive promises or risk losing midterms MORE (I-Vt.), the latest sign that his unconventional campaign strategy is gaining traction. 

The poll shows Bloomberg at 19 percent, while Sanders leads the field with 31 percent support. Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenRand Paul calls for Fauci's firing over 'lack of judgment' Dems look to keep tax on billionaires in spending bill Six big off-year elections you might be missing MORE came in third place with 15 percent support, and Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenDems look to keep tax on billionaires in spending bill Six big off-year elections you might be missing Republican spin on Biden is off the mark MORE (D-Mass.) trailed in fourth place at 12 percent.

Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharGOP blocks Senate Democrats' revised elections bill Progressives push back on decision to shrink Biden's paid family leave program The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Altria - Biden holds meetings to resurrect his spending plan MORE (D-Minn.) came in fifth place with 9 percent support, and former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegRepublican spin on Biden is off the mark Unanswered questions remain for Buttigieg, Biden on supply chain catastrophe Buttigieg aims to use Tucker Carlson flap to spotlight paternity leave MORE rounded out the top six at 8 percent support. 

Speculation has swirled around whether Bloomberg would join the debate in Nevada if he qualified, despite not being on the ballot in the state. The former New York City mayor will be on the ballot for the Super Tuesday contests on March 3. 

Klobuchar said last week Bloomberg should participate in the forum.  

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"I am also an advocate for him coming on the debate stage. I know that I'm not going to be able to beat him on the airwaves, but I can beat him on the debate stage," she said. 

Sanders, whose campaign was locked in a war of words with Bloomberg's on Monday, said on Saturday, however, that he did not think Bloomberg should debate. 

"That is what being a multibillionaire is about. Some very good friends of mine who were competing in the Democratic nomination — people like Cory Booker of New Jersey, Julián Castro — work really, really hard. Nobody changed the rules to get them in the debate,” Sanders said. 

The NPR–PBS NewsHour–Marist poll was conducted Feb. 13–16 among 1,416 adults. The question of preference for the Democratic nomination was asked to 527 Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents. The margin of error is 5.4 percentage points.

Updated at 6:51 a.m.