CNN’s criteria for its September debate may leave out recent rising stars like Carly Fiorina while allowing less-liked candidates to take the stage.
CNN’s debate criteria weighs polls from July 16 to Sept. 10 which would give much emphasis to polls before the first GOP debate. The questionable calculus would almost certainly ignore rising stars like Carly Fiorina while elevating less-favored candidates like Rand Paul, John Kasich, Mike Huckabee and Chris Christie to the main stage.
Fox News chose the five most recent polls for their main stage participants, but CNN is using polls almost three moths old to choose the candidates to appear in their TV event. Nominees that have struggled in the first debate and in recent appearances could appear while more popular candidates are pushed to the sidelines.
CNN’s statistical choice won’t affect Trump, Bush, Walker, Cruz, Rubio or Carson who managed early recognition and have kept losses to a minimum. But unless Fiorina can push her numbers up, CNN may ignore the only female GOP candidate in the field.
Using Real Clear Politics recent polls, Fiorina would still make the stage, but CNN has limited the polls for their “math” to polls from ABC/The Washington Post, Bloomberg News, CBS/The New York Times, CNN, FOX, Gallup, Marist, McClatchy, Monmouth University, NBC/The Wall Street Journal, Pew, Quinnipiac, USA Today and Time and doing so creates some bias.
CNN is using some other qualifying information in its choices for debate performances which may help the new rising stars in the GOP. If a candidate has paid staff in 2 of the 4 early caucus/primary states that helps them. Former Texas governor Rick Perry will suffer as he has already announced that his staff is entirely volunteer in all states.
Using CNN’s methodology, John Kasich and Chris Christie are tied for the final two spots with the rest of the debate stage looking exactly like Fox News’/Facebook’s August debate despite recent momentum from candidates like Fiorina.
“A campaign is a dynamic process by definition, you would want to take care of and account for the most current data,” said Michael Traugott, a political science professor at the University of Michigan.
Matt Barreto, a political scientist at UCLA says “Certainly, if they are giving equal weight to a poll from July 20 and from Sept. 4, that’s a little bit silly, because the poll from Sept. 4 is the current pulse of Republican voters.”
How much weight CNN gives to candidates ability to form organizations in the early primary states vs. the early polls may or may not just leave at least one rising star and top-level debate performer out of the limelight and make their television event a little less worth watching.