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New GOP Debate Lineup Exposes Some Blatantly Unfair Polling

From the last Morning Jolt of the week:

The New GOP Debate Lineup Exposes Some Blatantly Unfair Polling

Remember when everybody said Lindsey Graham won the “undercard” debate? Now we see just how much good it did him:

Next week’s GOP presidential undercard debate just lost its best comic.

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham did not make the cut for the early debate Tuesday in Milwaukee on Fox Business News after failing to win 1 percent of support in four recent polls.

The Seneca Republican was declared the winner of two previous undercard debates, scoring points with his humor and wit. During a California debate, Graham suggested Republicans and Democrats needed to drink more to solve their differences.

Graham’s campaign was unhappy that one of the polls used to determine the debate field, NBC/The Wall Street Journal, listed just 10 GOP candidates, rather than the full 15-candidate field, including the senator. The Wall Street Journal is co-hosting the debate next week with Fox Business.

“It is ironic that the only veteran in the race is going to be denied a voice the day before Veterans Day,” Graham campaign manager Christian Ferry said.

You’re asking, “wait, a major pollster just stopped asking about Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum, Lindsey Graham, George Pataki and Jim Gilmore?” Yup.

It’s just about impossible for any of those five guys to rise if they’re not listed as an option, and their supporters have to volunteer their name. Jindal’s putting his eggs in the Iowa basket; he’s 7th in the RealClearPolitics average, at 4 percent in the CNN poll there and 6 percent in the PPP poll there. Sure, that doesn’t sound like much, but that’s ahead of the two previous winners of the Iowa caucus.

Anyway, next week, Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee, Jindal and Santorum will make up the undercard debate, and Graham and Pataki aren’t invited. (Maybe they should meet and debate outside.)

Allahpundit makes a fair point: “And for cripes sake, if you’re going to insist on booting the lower-polling candidates into an undercard debate, at least have the basic common sense to put more candidates in that one than in the main event. The more second-tier candidates participate in the undercard, the greater the incentive is to watch. By limiting the debate to marginalia like Graham and Pataki, you’re basically saying that you’re holding the event as a desultory show of “fairness” rather than as an important forum that undecideds should strongly consider viewing. Sheesh.”


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