(AFP) – Jan 9, 2008
NEW YORK (AFP) — New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg could be planning an independent White House bid, but even in his own city, voters would be reluctant to support him, according to a poll released Wednesday.
The Quinnipiac University Polling Institute survey found that despite a popularity rating of 73 percent, Bloomberg could count on only 34 percent of New York City voters if he ran as an independent presidential candidate.
"It's a Democratic town. If he runs for president as an independent, New Yorkers will do what they usually do and vote Democratic," the polling institute's director Maurice Carroll told reporters.
"Look at a little history here. Two governors of New York became president. But only one mayor of New York has been elected to higher office," 19th century mayor John Hoffman who went on to become governor in the state capital Albany.
"Albany is a stepping stone on the way to the presidency. City Hall hasn't been. That doesn't say it can't be, but it hasn't been yet," Carroll said.
Bloomberg's decision to leave the Republican party last June sparked immediate speculation that the billionaire businessman turned politician could launch an independent bid for the White House.
Reports have quoted insiders as suggesting the founder of the Bloomberg media company could be prepared to sink one billion dollars into the bid.
Carroll said despite the lack of precedent, Bloomberg had sufficient funds to rewrite the rules and was not even under pressure to announce a bid soon.
He would instead likely wait until after February 5 -- when more than 20 states hold their primary contests -- before making a decision, Carroll said.
"History says he shouldn't run, logic says he shouldn't run, the American political structure says he shouldn't run but a billion dollars says 'yes, run mayor,' and that gives him an awful lot of freedom," he said.
"He can make his mind up when he feels like it."
Bloomberg, 65, has repeatedly denied he is interested in running for president, saying he will serve out his mayoral term ending in late 2009, but his protests have done little to silence the media buzz.
Sitting on an estimated personal fortune of 11.5 billion dollars, Bloomberg is believed to have spent more than 150 million dollars of his own money to get elected as New York mayor in 2001 and again in 2005.
Carroll said a Bloomberg run was not inevitable but that the mayor had prepared the ground well, after spending 2007 polishing his credentials on domestic and international issues including gun control and climate change.
"I don't think he knows what he's going to do, but I know that what he is doing and what his people are doing is a perfect preliminary if he decides to run," said Carroll.
The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted between January 3 and 7, and questioned 1,162 New York City voters.
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