Bloomberg set to debate in Nevada after qualifying in new poll

Democratic presidential contender Michael BloombergMichael BloombergNew York City auctioned off extra ventilators due to cost of maintenance: report DNC books million in fall YouTube ads Former Bloomberg staffer seeks class-action lawsuit over layoffs 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 John TrumpCDC updates website to remove dosage guidance on drug touted by Trump Trump says he'd like economy to reopen 'with a big bang' but acknowledges it may be limited Graham backs Trump, vows no money for WHO in next funding bill 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 SandersDrugmaker caps insulin costs at to help diabetes patients during pandemic The Hill's Campaign Report: Wisconsin votes despite coronavirus pandemic Sen. Brown endorses Biden for president 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 BidenTrump shakes up WH communications team The Hill's Campaign Report: Wisconsin votes despite coronavirus pandemic The Intercept's Ryan Grim says Cuomo is winning over critics MORE came in third place with 15 percent support, and Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenHillicon Valley: Schiff presses intel chief on staff changes | Warren offers plan to secure elections | Twitter's Jack Dorsey to donate B to coronavirus fight | WhatsApp takes steps to counter virus misinformation Warren releases plan to secure elections during coronavirus pandemic On The Money: Trump officials struggle to get relief loans out the door | Dow soars more than 1600 points | Kudlow says officials 'looking at' offering coronavirus bonds MORE (D-Mass.) trailed in fourth place at 12 percent.

Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Klobuchar Klobuchar's husband recounts battle with coronavirus: 'It just suddenly hit me' Hillicon Valley: Schiff presses intel chief on staff changes | Warren offers plan to secure elections | Twitter's Jack Dorsey to donate B to coronavirus fight | WhatsApp takes steps to counter virus misinformation Wisconsinites put lives on the line after SCOTUS decision MORE (D-Minn.) came in fifth place with 9 percent support, and former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegButtigieg launches new PAC to aid down-ballot candidates HuffPost political reporter on why Bernie fell way behind Biden Economists fear slow pace of testing will prolong recession 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.