Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg was not on the ballot Saturday for South Carolina’s Democrat primary, but his standing among the state’s electorate is the lowest of any 2020 candidate.
Exit polls made public by the Washington Post show the former mayor was seen unfavorably by 66 percent of South Carolina Democrats. The results do not bode well for Bloomberg, who is set to make his electoral debut on Super Tuesday.
Since entering the contest in late-November, Bloomberg has been courting self-identified moderate Democrats in an attempt to become the alternative to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). That strategy, by Bloomberg’s own admission, is paved through the coastal and deep-South, where black voters and moderates make up a majority of the Democrat electorate. As such, Bloomberg has spent extensive time and resources on building infrastructure and name recognition in states like Texas, Alabama, and North Carolina.
The South Carolina results, however, now throw the effectiveness of that strategy into question. Even though the former mayor was not officially on the ballot Saturday, his campaign had a strong presence in South Carolina thanks to high profile endorsements from well-known black leaders. Bloomberg also loomed large over the South Carolina primary, thanks to overlapping Super Tuesday media markets and his appearance at the tenth Democrat debate earlier this week.
None of that, though, seems to have been to the former mayor’s benefit. As the exit polls indicate, Bloomberg was only seen favorably by 26 percent of voters. The rating was the worst of any candidate polled, including long shot environmentalist billionaire Tom Steyer.
More troubling is that the voters who showed up on Saturday and expressed a negative view of Bloomberg are exactly those the former mayor has been courting.
According to exit polls, 70 percent of South Carolina’s Democrat electorate was above 45-years-of-age, with self-identified moderate and conservative voters making up 50 percent of all ballots cast. Furthermore, African Americans cast a majority of all ballots, making up 56 percent of voters, compared to only 40 percent for whites.
Across the board, these voters backed former Vice President Joe Biden, a top rival for the moderate lane in the Democrat contest, by double digits.