March 1, 2020 / 2:34 AM / in a month

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

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg stands after speaking at a North Carolina Democratic Party event in Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S., February 29, 2020. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

(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 unfavorable 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 unfavorable opinion of Bloomberg, Edison’s exit poll results showed. No other candidate earned an unfavorable 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 favorable 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 favorable view of Biden.

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

Reporting by Dan Burns; editing by Jonathan Oatis

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