US presidential election 2016: Why has Michael Bloomberg ruled out running as an independent candidate?

 
James Nickerson
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Bloomberg took aim at all the presidential candidates (Source: Getty)

Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg has ruled out making a bid for the White House as an independent candidate, fearing it would increase the chances of Ted Cruz or Donald Trump becoming the next President.

Bloomberg has liberal views on key issues such as gun control, but is also viewed as business friendly, thus appealing to centrist voters.

However, he doesn't think any candidate would win a three-horse race, and thinks that his entry could split the vote with Democrat Hillary Clinton, inadvertently giving the Republicans an advantage.

Read more: Trump and Cruz looking for "one-on-one" battle

"That is not a risk I can take in good conscience," he wrote on Bloomberg View, an opinion website that is part of his media empire.

It's unlikely he would have won anyway, given around just 12 percent of likely voters said they would support him in a three-way race, according to a Reuters/Ipsos national poll .

In that same poll, 41 percent said they would support Clinton and 31 percent would support Trump.

Read more: Does Super Tuesday show Hillary trumping Donald?

But he wouldn't want Trump to become President, despite having always been on "friendly terms" with the billionaire, as his policies would threaten national security, as well as religious tolerance.

"He has run the most divisive and demagogic presidential campaign I can remember, preying on people's prejudices and fears," Bloomberg wrote.

However, he also made a criticism of Clinton as pandering to primary voters due to the threat of Bernie Sanders. "The leading Democratic candidates have attacked policies that spurred growth and opportunity under President Bill Clinton -- support for trade, charter schools, deficit reduction and the financial sector," he said.

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