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Photo: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

Sources close to Mike Bloomberg tell Axios that last week's announcement was partly a trial balloon to gauge interest and preserve the former mayor's options — but his own very extensive polling remains far from convincing.

The big picture: Polling being studied by Bloomberg shows big, perhaps insurmountable hurdles, particularly if Joe Biden stays in. 

Why it matters: That's why Bloomberg didn't run in the first place, and still might not.

  • Bloomberg, reflecting his life in business, is practical and data-driven. His formal announcement has always been contingent on whether polling showed a convincing path to victory.

Morning Consult finds that Bloomberg is the first choice of just 4% of Democratic primary voters — putting him in sixth place, between Sen. Kamala Harris and Andrew Yang.

  • Bloomberg fares "about as well as Warren, Sanders and Biden in hypothetical matchup against Trump."
  • But "25% of Democratic primary voters express unfavorable views of the billionaire, higher than any of the 15 candidates currently in the race."

The bottom line ... Nate Silver's take on the poll: "Biden still with a clear lead; no particular evidence Biden impacted more than others. ... Not exactly the 'seismic disruption' that some predicted."

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Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
7 mins ago - Technology

Epic's long game against Apple

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Epic's Apple lawsuit is costing the company dearly, but the game developer has its eye on a valuable long-term goal: prying tomorrow's virtual worlds loose from the grip of app store proprietors like Apple.

Between the lines: Epic isn't spending a fortune in legal fees and foregoing a ton of revenue just to shave some costs off in-app purchases on today's phones. Rather, it's planning for a future of creating virtual universes via augmented and virtual reality — without having to send a big chunk of their economies to Apple or Google.

Updated 12 mins ago - Health

The race to avoid a possible "monster" COVID variant

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

Slow global COVID-19 vaccination rates are raising concerns that worse variants of the coronavirus could be percolating, ready to rip into the world before herd immunity can diminish their impact.

Why it matters: The U.S. aims to at least partially vaccinate 70% of adults by July 4, a move expected to accelerate the current drop of new infections here. But variants are the wild card, and in a global pandemic where only about 8% of all people have received one dose, the virus will continue mutating unabated.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
37 mins ago - Health

Democrats are still looking for a plan on drug prices

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

Democrats have no workable plan to tackle the cost of prescription drugs, even with full control of Washington and after campaigning on the issue for years.

The picture: Voters still care about the cost of drugs, but Democrats don't have a feasible legislative strategy yet — or an agreed-upon policy to fit into a legislative strategy.