June 20, 2007

Bloomberg Well Known, But of Limited Appeal for Now

by Michael Dimock and Shawn Neidorf

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Michael Bloomberg has created some excitement in the political world about a possible run for the presidency by dropping his Republican affiliation. But a recent nationwide Pew voter survey found that while the New York mayor is relatively well known, his appeal is very modest at this point.

Almost two-thirds of American voters (65%) know who Michael Bloomberg is – more than have heard of Mitt Romney (62%), Joe Biden (58%), Fred Thompson (51%) or Bill Richardson (48%). Overall, Bloomberg’s visibility falls in the middle of the pack of presidential contenders – well below the current Democratic or Republican frontrunners.

But as the New York mayor reportedly considers an independent bid for the presidency, only 9% of voters who have heard of him say there’s a good chance they’d cast a ballot for him.

Another 23% say there is some chance, but more than half of American voters – 56% – say there’s no chance Bloomberg would get their vote.

Majorities of Republican, Democratic and independent voters who have heard of Bloomberg say there is no chance they’d vote for him, though he is somewhat more appealing to independents and Republicans than he is to Democrats.

As many as 38% of independent voters and 36% of Republican voters who have heard of Bloomberg say there is at least some chance they’d vote for him, compared to just 26% of Democratic voters.

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Bloomberg fares only slightly better in the Northeast, where 38% of voters who had heard of him also said there is some chance they’d cast a ballot for him. Somewhat fewer in the Midwest (31%) South (30%) and West (27%) see themselves backing Bloomberg, not because they flatly oppose him (there is no regional difference in the percent saying there is “no chance” they will back him) but because even those who have heard of Bloomberg in these areas have less of a sense of him.

The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press survey was conducted May 30 to June 3, 2007, among 1,503 adults. That includes 1,247 registered voters (margin of error, +/-3%), 847 of whom had heard of Bloomberg and were asked to rate the chances they would vote for him (margin of error, +/-4%).