No love for centrists: Bloomberg disliked across the political spectrum

Chris Moody Contributor
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Despite a concerted effort to portray himself as an unashamed centrist, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg faces drastically low approval ratings from Republicans, Democrats and independents alike, a new poll suggests.

According to Public Policy Polling (PPP), Bloomberg received just a 19 percent approval rating in a national survey, a number that sinks to 12 percent among Republicans. Only 24 percent of Democrats have a positive view of the three-term mayor. Nearly 40 percent view him unfavorably on a national level, a gap so wide that it makes him one of the least popular possible contenders for the presidency in 2012, said PPP Director Tom Jensen.

“That…favorability spread makes him more unpopular than Barack Obama, Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, and even Sarah Palin,” Jensen said, adding that it “places him slightly ahead of only Newt Gingrich.”

Bloomberg, who was elected mayor of New York City as an Republican in 2001, dropped his party affiliation in 2007. His views on major issues do not fit cleanly within either party, a reality that has helped shape his image as a moderate. Bloomberg supports abortion rights, embryonic stem cell research, gay marriage, and he has imposed a slew of tough regulations on private New York City businesses. On other economic issues, however, Bloomberg is supportive of free trade and lower taxes on corporations.

Bloomberg’s advisers have also thrown their support behind a new political group called No Labels, which seeks to target moderate voters who have lost favor with political parties and the extreme wings of both sides of the political spectrum. The group has invited Bloomberg, whose name has been tossed around as a possible third-party candidate for president, to address its official launch in New York City on Dec. 13.

Recent data suggest that Americans prefer politicians who do not compromise on ideological principles, which may contribute to Bloombergs’ low ratings. A September Pew Foundation study found that 49 percent of those surveyed said they prefer leaders that “stick to their positions without compromising.”

That sentiment could hurt Bloomberg, even if he decides to join a party to run for president.

“At this point it doesn’t look like he would be a serious player in 2012,” Jensen concluded.

Bloomberg conceded earlier this month that a candidate without the support of one of the two national parties had little chance to win the presidency in the United States.

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