Donald Trump at Pottawattamie County GOP   Dinner on 5/15/15.Photo credit: Dave Davidson -
Donald Trump at Pottawattamie County GOP Dinner on 5/15/15.
Photo credit: Dave Davidson –

Fox News will host the first Republican presidential debate on August 6th in Cleveland, OH.  Unless you’ve not been paying attention you’ll know there controversy behind their criteria.  Most of it is standard except for limiting the participants who make the top 10 of an average of the last five national polls leading up to August 4 at 5:00p (ET). “Such polling must be conducted by major, nationally recognized organizations that use standard methodological techniques,” Fox News said in their announcement back in May.

I would think Real Clear Politics would be a good indicator, so if the debate were held today we’d see:

1. Donald Trump
2. Jeb Bush
3. Scott Walker
4. Marco Rubio
5. (Tie) Mike Huckabee and Ben Carson
7. (Tie) Ted Cruz and Rand Paul
9. Chris Christie
10. John Kasich

Rick Perry, Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum, Carly Fiorina and Lindsey Graham wouldn’t make the cut. 0.9% separates Fiorina who is 2nd to last according to the Real Clear Politics average as of right now and Kasich.

I’ve never been a fan of the criteria.  I understand the issue of time constraints and how challenging a debate will 16 candidates would be.  Participation in a debate could help candidates who are lesser known.  Also all that using national polls does is make sure the candidates who currently have the greatest name recognition can participate.  National polls are generally worthless, at the very least they should have done an average of the last polls taken in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

There will also be a debate over the polls used.  Fiorina’s campaign pointed out on Sunday that Fiorina was in 7th place with the latest Public Policy Polling poll, and in 8th place with the Economist/YouGov poll, but will both be considered and where does that put Fiorina?  Jindal is showing momentum in Iowa, but that hasn’t translated in national polls.

I’d say let them all in. This gives Fox News too much influence in the Republican primary race otherwise.

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