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Bloomberg set to debate in Nevada after qualifying in new poll

Democratic presidential contender Michael BloombergMichael BloombergPress: Even Jeff Bezos should pay income taxes What the Democrats should be doing to reach true bipartisanship 5 former Treasury secretaries back Biden's plan to increase tax enforcement on wealthy 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 TrumpKushner lands book deal, slated for release in 2022 Biden moves to undo Trump trade legacy with EU deal Progressives rave over Harrison's start at DNC 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 SandersProgressives rave over Harrison's start at DNC Zombie Tax punishes farmers to fill DC coffers Progressives threaten to block bipartisan infrastructure proposal 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 BidenMellman: Trump voters cling to 2020 tale FDA authorizes another batch of J&J vaccine Cotton warns of China collecting athletes' DNA at 2022 Olympics MORE came in third place with 15 percent support, and Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenProgressives rave over Harrison's start at DNC On The Money: Schumer to trigger reconciliation process on Wednesday | Four states emerge as test case for cutting off jobless benefits Big Tech critic Lina Khan named chair of the FTC MORE (D-Mass.) trailed in fourth place at 12 percent.

Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharHillicon Valley: Big Tech critic Lina Khan named chair of the FTC | Lawmakers urge Biden to be tough on cyber during summit with Putin | TSA working on additional security regulations following Colonial Pipeline hack Big Tech critic Lina Khan named chair of the FTC Senate confirms Lina Khan to the FTC MORE (D-Minn.) came in fifth place with 9 percent support, and former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegHigh-speed rail getting last minute push in Congress Buttigieg: Bipartisan deal on infrastructure 'strongly preferred' OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden ends infrastructure talks with key Republican | Colonial Pipeline CEO grilled over ransomware attack | Texas gov signs bills to improve power grid after winter storm 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.