The Corner

The Next Debate’s Convenient Qualifications Threshold

The Politico/NBC News debate had an interesting threshold for qualifying candidates: They must be at 4 percent in one of eight national prominent polls of Republicans taken since November 2010.

Under that restriction, Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain, Jon Huntsman, and Rick Santorum qualified to participate in the September 7 debate at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, Calif. Thad McCotter, Buddy Roemer, and Gary Johnson did not qualify.

The RealClearPolitics average of recent polls shows most of the candidates easily clear the 4 percent threshold. Only two don’t: Santorum and Huntsman, who are averaging 2.1 percent and 2 percent respectively.

So how did they squeak in? Well, Santorum benefits by the fact that the polls don’t have to be the most recent: Back in June, he reached 6 percent in a couple of polls.

And Huntsman? Well, his campaign must be breathing a sigh of relief that the threshold was exactly 4 percent because the highest Huntsman has ever been in a reputable national poll is . . . 4 percent.

In fact, among the polls conducted by Politico and NBC News’s approved pollsters, he’s achieved that rank only once: earlier this month in a CNN/Opinion Research poll.

But if Politico/NBC News wanted to make sure even the candidates lagging in the polls currently got included, why 4 percent instead of say, 3 percent?

Maybe because in a May Gallup poll Johnson got 3 percent.

Apparently, not all of the lagging candidates are considered equally worthy of air time. 

Katrina Trinko — Katrina Trinko is a political reporter for National Review. Trinko is also a member of USA TODAY’S Board of Contributors, and her work has been published in various media outlets ...

Most Popular

Culture

Courage: The Greatest of Virtues

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is Jonah Goldberg’s weekly “news”letter, the G-File. Subscribe here to get the G-File delivered to your inbox on Fridays. Dear Reader (Or Listener), As the reporter assigned the job of writing the article about all of Sidney Blumenthal’s friends and supporters told his ... Read More
Immigration

My American Dream

This morning, at 8 a.m., I did something I’ve wanted to do for as long as I can remember: I became an American. I first applied for a visa in early 2011, and since then I have slowly worked my way through the system — first as a visa-holder, then as a permanent resident (green card), and, finally, as a ... Read More
U.S.

The Gun-Control Debate Could Break America

Last night, the nation witnessed what looked a lot like an extended version of the famous “two minutes hate” from George Orwell’s novel 1984. During a CNN town hall on gun control, a furious crowd of Americans jeered at two conservatives, Marco Rubio and Dana Loesch, who stood in defense of the Second ... Read More