Michael Bloomberg is widely unknown and often disliked by those who do have an opinion about him

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg – who is considering a third party presidential candidacy this November – gets relatively little support at this early point in the campaign.  The latest Economist/YouGov Poll even finds that many Americans – especially Republicans – don’t like him.     

While Democrats like Bloomberg, by more than two to one Republicans don’t.  Independents with an opinion are moderately negative.  But more than four in ten overall – and half of Independents -- don’t yet have an opinion of Bloomberg.  Bloomberg has more appeal to liberals than to conservatives – and more like him in his home Northeast than in other regions.  But the balance of opinion even in the region where he is best known is not overwhelmingly favorable.  34% in the Northeast are favorable, 31% are not.  In all other regions, opinion of Bloomberg is negative. 

Again, while many don’t have an opinion of the former Mayor and businessman, those who do are generally uneasy about his ability to handle issues like immigration and terrorism, don’t think he is ready to become Commander-in-Chief, and don’t believe he is honest and trustworthy.

Bloomberg gets better evaluations from Democrats than from Republicans or independents on these measures.  Democrats are closely divided on Bloomberg’s honesty, Republicans are negative by more than two to one.

Overall, at least for now, Bloomberg doesn’t appear to be a threat to the major party candidates.   However, much could change as Bloomberg becomes better known, and as the identity of the Republican and Democratic candidates becomes clear.  Currently, most Democrats expect former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be their party’s eventual nominee; and most Republicans expect their party will nominate Donald Trump.  A majority of the country has an unfavorable opinion of each, a view shared by a significant minority of their own partisans (a fifth of Democrats dislike Clinton, more than a third of Republicans dislike Trump).

But right now fewer than one in five Democrats or Republicans would defect to the other party if the candidates they personally expect will win the nomination run against each other in November.  Hardly any now would be inclined to defect to Bloomberg.  Even fewer would defect if their favorite Republican and Democrat were nominated.  However, more than one in five registered voters currently express no preference in one or both party races.  Independents are even less likely to express a preference in at least one party contest.

Historically, fewer partisans defect in a general election than say they will in the heat of a nominating campaign.  

See the Economist/YouGov results

Economist/YouGov poll archives can be found here.

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