Two Major GOP Candidates to Miss the Next Debate

Photo credit: Teresa via Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Photo credit: Teresa via Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Fox Business just announced that only eight candidates will make it onto the main stage for Tuesday’s debate. The main stage will feature: Trump, Carson, Rubio, Cruz, Bush, Fiorina, Paul, and Kasich. Two notable exceptions from the main stage are New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. Huckabee and Christie will be relegated to the early undercard debate where they will join Jindal and Santorum. Senator Graham and Former Governor Pataki both fell short of the necessary 1 percent to make the undercard debate and will be excluded altogether.

The exclusion of Sen. Graham and Gov. Pataki caused some controversy. Jim Geraghty, at the National Review, pointed out a serious flaw with Fox Business’ criteria: many of the latest polls that Fox Business used in their calculation have excluded candidates, including Graham and Pataki, from their survey options. As Geraghty writes:

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.

Fox’s use of these polls begs the question: How can any candidate expect to meet polling criteria, if their name isn’t being polled?

While many have focused on the Christie and Huckabee having been relegated to the undercard debate, the circumstances behind the outright exclusion of Pataki and Graham have been largely overlooked.

Joshua Pinho is a Digital Communications Associate for the American Principles Project.