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Story highlights

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg commissioned a poll last month to see how he would fare as a third-party candidate, a source close to the former mayor said

The source said Bloomberg commissioned the poll after watching the meteoric rise of political newcomer Donald Trump

(CNN) —  

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg commissioned a poll last month to see how he would fare as a third-party candidate against Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, the respective Democratic and Republican presidential front-runners, a source close to the former mayor told CNN Saturday night.

The source said Bloomberg, a billionaire media executive, commissioned the poll after watching the meteoric rise of political newcomer Trump over the past six months. But the source did not discuss the poll’s findings.

News of the poll was first reported by The New York Times.

White House whispers surrounding Bloomberg, a longtime Democrat who switched to the Republican Party to seek the NYC mayoralty in 2001, but who ran for his third term as an independent, are not new, and he remains a nationally recognized political figure.

He launched a research effort into his chances as an independent ahead of the 2008 campaign before ruling out a bid early in the primary fight. He waited until November to endorse President Barack Obama for re-election in 2012, citing climate change in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.

And last year, the New York Post reported that New York Democrats approached Bloomberg to gauge his interest in a presidential run.

Lately, he has earned conservatives’ ire with his push for greater gun control, and the National Rifle Association launched an ad campaign over the summer accusing him of using his personal fortune to try and strip people of their individual rights and freedoms.