Bloomberg would cut into Biden’s lead - poll

(SOUNDBITE) U.S. VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN SAYING:

"WITH REGARD TO MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, I WELCOME HIM IN THE RACE. MICHAEL'S A SOLID GUY."

DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL FRONTRUNNER JOE BIDEN MAY HAVE KIND WORDS FOR POTENTIAL RIVAL MIKE BLOOMBERG, BUT THE FORMER NEW YORK CITY MAYOR AND MEDIA MOGUL COULD PULL VOTES AWAY FROM BIDEN IF HE DECIDES TO ENTER THE RACE.

THAT'S ACCORDING TO A NEW REUTERS/IPSOS POLL... WHICH FOUND THAT SUPPORT FOR BIDEN WOULD DROP FROM 23 PERCENT TO 19 PERCENT WITH BLOOMBERG IN THE RACE.

THE NATIONAL POLL, CONDUCTED THIS MONTH FOUND THAT THREE PERCENT OF DEMOCRATS AND INDEPENDENTS WOULD VOTE FOR BLOOMBERG, WHO HAS NOT FORMALLY DECLARED HIS CANDIDACY BUT HAS TAKEN STEPS TOWARD A BID.

THE POLL ALSO SHOWED THAT BLOOMBERG WOULD BE THE FIFTH-MOST POPULAR CANDIDATE - BEHIND BIDEN, SENATORS BERNIE SANDERS AND ELIZABETH WARREN, SOUTH BEND, SOUTH BEND INDIANA MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG AND SENATOR KAMALA HARRIS.

(UPSOUND BLOOMBERG)

IF HE DECIDES TO RUN, THE TOP CHALLENGE FOR THE 77-YEAR-OLD BILLIONAIRE WOULD BE TO STAND OUT AMONG A VERY CROWDED DEMOCRATIC FIELD.

THE POLL FOUND THAT ONLY 46% OF AMERICANS AND 49% OF DEMOCRATS SAID THEY WERE FAMILIAR WITH BLOOMBERG, WHO LEFT THE NEW YORK CITY MAYOR'S OFFICE IN 2013.

(UPSOUND TRUMP ON BLOOMBERG)

SOME MODERATE DEMOCRATS THINK BLOOMBERG COULD BE BEST-SUITED TO GO TOE-TO-TOE WITH PRESIDENT TRUMP IN 2020, IN A BATTLE THAT WOULD PIT TWO WEALTHY NEW YORK BUSINESSMEN AGAINST EACH OTHER.

BLOOMBERG IS EXPECTED TO LAUNCH A $100 MILLION DOLLAR ONLINE AD CAMPAIGN TARGETING TRUMP ON FRIDAY IN FOUR HOTLY-CONTESTED STATES, INCLUDING MICHIGAN AND PENNSYLVANIA, WHICH TRUMP WON IN 2016.