We learn from The New York Times that Doug Schoen, Bloomberg's longtime pollster, conducted surveys in recent weeks, and the results led Bloomberg to believe that he could win a three-way race against Trump and Sanders, but not against Trump and Clinton:
Mr. Bloomberg’s veteran pollster, Douglas E. Schoen, gauged his prospects in polls in February and March, testing Mr. Bloomberg as a candidate nationally and in 22 crucial states.The Times reproduces a map projecting results of a Bloomberg-Trump-Sanders race, as determined by Schoen's polling, and the results are pretty bizarre:
At the outset, about two-fifths of the country had no familiarity with Mr. Bloomberg, who may be best known nationally for his support of expanded gun control legislation. But Mr. Schoen’s February polling found that after voters heard mostly favorable descriptions of Mr. Bloomberg, Mr. Trump and Mr. Sanders, Mr. Bloomberg collected 35 percent of the vote and a solid lead in the Electoral College. In a race against Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton, however, Mr. Bloomberg faced far tougher odds.
The most favorable result for Mr. Bloomberg might have been a stalemate in the Electoral College, with no candidate capable of taking the 270 votes required. Under those conditions, the House of Representatives, where Republicans hold a majority, would choose the president.
According to Schoen, Bloomberg would have won Georgia, Tennessee, and North Carolina, and tied Trump in Texas.
This is, frankly, nuts.
Here's a theory about this:
@nytimes Someone was getting paid good money to blow smoke up Bloomberg's ass.— Anglo von Trapp (@88_Odalist) March 7, 2016
But if Schoen was just telling Bloomberg what he wanted to hear, why did he tell Bloomberg that he was going to lose his home state of New York, not to mention Pennsylvania? Schoen says Bloomberg would have lost New York and Pennsylvania to Clinton as well, along with a lot of other states. If you're going to flatter a guy, wouldn't you at least tell him he could win the state where he lives?
I think this crazy map reflects actual numbers from Schoen's polling. How is that possible? Read the Times description again:
Mr. Schoen’s February polling found that after voters heard mostly favorable descriptions of Mr. Bloomberg, Mr. Trump and Mr. Sanders, Mr. Bloomberg collected 35 percent of the vote and a solid lead in the Electoral College.Schoen was describing Bloomberg. Poll respondents never watched the short, charisma-challenged dullard talk. They didn't experience him the way you experience a real presidential candidate in the TV era. And they were given "mostly favorable" information -- probably nothing about banning Big Gulps, and maybe nothing about gun control activism (which certainly wouldn't be seen as favorable in the South) or support for stop and frisk (not a positive with non-white voters).
But the key thing is Bloomberg's affect. Look, when we elected him, we didn't mind dull -- first we'd had eight years of Rudy Giuliani, then we had 9/11. Bloomberg's dullness was calming. But it's not what Americans seek in a president.
I have no idea how Bloomberg would have done against Trump and Sanders. I think he would have gotten a lot of support from establishmentarians in both parties. I think he'd have been a media darling. Who knows? He might have had a shot.
But there's no freaking way he would have had a shot at winning Georgia or Texas. That's just ridiculous.