Give credit to CNN. They realized their criteria for a September debate was going to use a lot of polls conducted in July, and that simply didn’t make much sense. So they revised the rules.
In May, we announced criteria for our September 16th Republican debates at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. We said that we would use the average of approved national polls from July 16th through September 10th to determine the makeup of the debates. At the time, we expected there to be many more national polls following the first Republican debate, in August, than there appears there will be. In fact, in 2007 and 2011, there were 16 and 15 approved national polls in the comparable August-September time frame. This year, there have been only three such national polls released. We learned this week that there will likely be only two more polls by the deadline of September 10th.
In a world where we expected there to be at least 15 national polls, based on historic precedent, it appears there will be only five. As a result, we now believe we should adjust the criteria to ensure the next debate best reflects the most current state of the national race. In the event that any candidate is polling in the top 10 in an average of approved national polls released between August 7th and September 10th, we will add those candidates to our top tier debate, even if those candidates did not poll in the top 10 in an average of approved national polls between July 16th and September 10th. We have discussed these changes with the Republican National Committee and the Reagan Library and they are fully supportive.
In short, barring some dramatic turn of events in those next few polls, Carly Fiorina will probably be up on that stage.
If the eligibility window closed today, CNN’s analysis of polls conducted from July 16 shows that Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, John Kasich and Chris Christie would qualify for the top-tier debate. With today’s change, Fiorina would also qualify for the top-tier debate.
You probably noticed the NRO petition urging CNN to modify the rules for debate participation. Carly Fiorina noticed that, too. She just issued the statement, “Thank you NRO readers for helping us take on the establishment and challenge the status quo.”