Bloomberg opts out of US presidential bid
Updated: 2016-03-08 09:34
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks during a news conference at City Hall in New York in this Sept 18, 2013 file photo. [Photo/Agencies]
WASHINGTON - Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on Monday he would not mount an independent bid for the US presidency because he feared it would increase the chances that Republicans Donald Trump or Ted Cruz could end up in the White House.
A billionaire media mogul who combined business-friendly fiscal policies with liberal views on gun control and other social issues, Bloomberg could have potentially appealed to centrist voters in a year when candidates from the far left and right of the political spectrum have gained traction.
But Bloomberg, 74, said he had concluded that any candidate would be unlikely to win a clear majority in a three-person race. That would throw the election into the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, which would be able to hand the White House to Trump, a real-estate billionaire, or Cruz, a conservative US senator from Texas.
"That is not a risk I can take in good conscience," he wrote on Bloomberg View, an opinion website that is part of his media empire.
Bloomberg never received much interest from American voters.
About 12 percent of likely voters said they would support him in a three-way race for president with Democrat Hillary Clinton and Trump, according to a Reuters/Ipsos national poll conducted from Wednesday to Monday.
Among respondents, 41 percent said they would support Clinton and 31 percent would support Trump. The poll of 1,695 likely voters had a credibility interval of 3 percentage points.
Bloomberg said Trump, who is leading the battle to win the Republican nomination for the Nov 8 election, had backed policies that would undermine religious tolerance and threaten national security.
Trump has called for building a wall on the US border with Mexico, deporting the country's illegal immigrants and temporarily barring Muslims from entering the country.
"He has run the most divisive and demagogic presidential campaign I can remember, preying on people's prejudices and fears," Bloomberg wrote of Trump. He said Cruz, a favorite of evangelicals and the conservative Tea Party movement, was divisive as well.