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Bloomberg set to debate in Nevada after qualifying in new poll

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Democratic presidential contender Michael Bloomberg 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 Trump 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. 

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 Sanders (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 Biden came in third place with 15 percent support, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) trailed in fourth place at 12 percent.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) came in fifth place with 9 percent support, and former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg 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.  

“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.

Tags Amy Klobuchar Bernie Sanders Cory Booker Donald Trump Elizabeth Warren Joe Biden Michael Bloomberg Michael Bloomberg Pete Buttigieg

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