CNN has announced that they are revising their debate criteria, ahead of the next Republican debate on September 16. Under pressure from outside groups and the Fiorina campaign, the news organization said that polls from after Fox News’s presidential debate would be weighted more heavily.
Previously, the breakdown was to be determined by an average of polls from July to September. This also assumed that there would be a steady stream of polling in the period between Fox and CNN’s debates. However, CNN says that there will only be five polls for that period, many less than CNN had expected. As such, the network felt that the whole average did not accurately reflect the state of the presidential race. “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,” the network said in a statement. This point is true. Carly Fiorina is now one of the top candidates nationally and is a top tier candidate in the initial states of Iowa and New Hampshire. However, CNN’s methodology would have most likely prevented her from being in the main debate because there were many more polls from before she spiked. Now, this change makes it much more likely that she will be in the primetime debate. While nothing is certain, she is far more likely than she was before.
Fiorina responded to the news while on Meghan McCain’s radio show. “Literally as we’re speaking, I just got a text that CNN has amended their GOP debate criteria,” she said. Then she added, “It’s pretty clear that I’m in the top five, and so I think they made the right decision based on the data, which clearly has shifted in my case dramatically.”
Based off a current analysis of polling, there will be eleven participants in the main debate while the rest duke it out in the JV debate. Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, John Kasich will also be in the main debate. Fiorina will be included thanks to the weighting while Chris Christie will be in due to the longer term average.