According to most pundits, former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg had a particularly poor showing in the Democratic primary debate in Nevada on Wednesday, the first presidential debate in which the billionaire candidate has participated during the 2020 cycle.
That underwhelming performance has already begun to be reflected in the polls, as Morning Consult found that Bloomberg had fallen three percentage points in support among potential Democratic primary voters following the debate, the only candidate to see a change that fell outside of the margin of error.
Bloomberg drops in wake of Nevada debate
The Morning Consult pollsters queried more than 2,600 potential Democratic primary voters, with a margin of error of around 2%, in the days both before and after the Nevada debate and found that Mayor Bloomberg was the only candidate to see a substantial statistical change in support.
Prior to the debate, Bloomberg was sitting in second place among the candidates with 20% support among voters, trailing only Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) at 28% support.
After the debate, however, Bloomberg’s support dipped three points to 17%, dropping him to third place behind former Vice President Joe Biden, whose 19% support had remained unchanged. Sanders, meanwhile, gained a couple of points and saw his support increase to 30%.
Ground lost among almost all subgroups
Looking at Bloomberg’s favorable rating among various demographic subgroups among Democratic voters, Morning Consult found that Bloomberg’s decline in support was virtually across the board, save among self-identified “conservative” Democrats, the only subgroup that saw a minuscule net change in the form of a two-point increase.
Bloomberg’s biggest decline came among “moderate” Democrats among whom he saw a net change of -30 points in his favorability rating, a stunning development within the key demographic he is targeting for support in the race.
Overall, Bloomberg had a net change of -20 points in his favorability rating among all Democrats. This occurred despite his having spent hundreds of millions of his own dollars in an advertising blitzkrieg over the past month or so.
Signs of a downward trend
As of now, the Morning Consult is the only major polling firm to publish post-debate results and has yet to be included in the nationwide RealClearPolitics average of polls, which has Bloomberg ranked in third place nationally with 15.2% support, trailing Sanders (28.7%) and Biden (17.3%).
That said, even the RCP average of pre-debate polls was showing the slightest downturn for Bloomberg, as he had dropped nearly a point from the 16.1% support he registered on Feb. 19, the day of the debate.
Given Bloomberg’s late entrance into the race, his name won’t be on the ballot in either the Nevada caucuses this Saturday or in the South Carolina primary the following Saturday, and it won’t be until the Super Tuesday elections in a handful of states across the country on March 3 that voters will actually get the chance to officially weigh in on his and others’ candidacies.
It remains to be seen if the damage he sustained in the Nevada debate — not to mention his performance in an upcoming South Carolina debate — impacts his support level prior to Super Tuesday, but if early indications from Morning Consult and the RCP average hold true, his campaign for the White House may have already peaked.