The next GOP presidential debate, which will be hosted by CNN and is scheduled for Sept. 16, has a new set of rules that will recognize both past and recent polling numbers, and could allow more than 10 candidates on the stage. The move follows a change in polling numbers for some Republican candidates.
CNN released a statement on Tuesday, which said that although the network initially planned on using “the average of approved national polls from July 16 through September 10 to determine the makeup of the debates,” the number of national polls conducted was much lower than expected.
While in 2007 and 2011, there were around 15 approved national polls, CNN noted that by Sept. 10, there will only be 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,” said the network, noting that the Republican National Committee is “fully supportive” of the changes.
[pull_quote_center]In the event that any candidate is polling in the top 10 in an average of approved national polls released between August 7 and September 10, 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 16 and September 10.[/pull_quote_center]
The new rules could open up a spot for candidates such as Carly Fiorina, a GOP contender who was excluded from the first debate’s main stage and participated in a separate debate instead, but whose performance at the forum has greatly increased her polling numbers.
Fiorina’s deputy campaign manager, Sarah Isgur Flores, released a statement last week noting that after the first GOP debate on Aug. 6, Florina ranked in the top ten in every state that was polled.
“Despite being solidly in the top 10 by every measure, the political establishment is still rigging the game to keep Carly off the main debate stage next month,” Flores wrote.
Florina addressed the change in rules during an interview on the Hugh Hewitt Show on Tuesday evening, and said that she is looking forward to debating with frontrunner Donald Trump.
“I think they made the right decision based on the data which clearly has shifted – in my case – dramatically, from prior to August 6 to post-August 6,” Fiorina said.
In a statement from Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, he said, “I applaud CNN for recognizing the historic nature of this debate and fully support the network’s decision to amend their criteria.”
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