February 29, 2020 / 11:25 PM / a month ago

Bloomberg in South Carolina: Not on the ballot and not liked - poll

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg appears at a campaign event in Memphis, Tennessee, U.S. February 28, 2020. REUTERS/Karen Pulfer Focht/File Photo

(Reuters) - Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg was not on the ballot in Saturday’s Democratic presidential primary in South Carolina, but he was still on voters’ minds - and not in a good way.

Bloomberg, a billionaire who will appear on a primary ballot for the first time in next week’s Super Tuesday contests in 14 states, stood out among all the Democratic contenders for earning the highest unfavourable opinion score in exit polls from Edison Research.

The poll was conducted as voters cast ballots in the Democratic Party’s fourth nominating contest so far to determine who will face Republican President Donald Trump in the November general election.

Nearly seven in 10 South Carolina voters told Edison they held an unfavourable opinion of Bloomberg, Edison’s exit poll results showed. No other candidate earned an unfavourable score above 50%.

A late entrant in the race, Bloomberg opted out of contesting the first four states, instead spending heavily on television advertising in the 14 Super Tuesday states. In an escalation of that strategy, his campaign has bought ad time to allow him to deliver a three-minute speech on the nation’s response to the coronavirus that will air on Sunday night.

The candidate earning the highest favourable marks was former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, who has staked the future of his candidacy on a big win in South Carolina. Nearly eight of 10 voters in the Southern state held a favourable view of Biden.

The other six candidates on the ballot in South Carolina all had favourable ratings of around 50%.

Reporting by Dan Burns; editing by Jonathan Oatis

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