The next Republican debate is happening on Tuesday, December 15, from Las Vegas, Nevada. The criteria used by CNN to determine which candidates would appear in primetime is adjusted from previous debates to also include state polls in Iowa and New Hampshire, in addition to national polls. So far, here is what we can expect in the two debate lineups though as of now, though CNN has not confirmed this.


Tuesday, December 15, 2015
CNN Republican Debate in Las Vegas

Primetime Debate
8:30pm ET (7:30pm CT, 5:30pm PT)
Candidates: Trump, Carson, Rubio, Cruz, Bush, Kasich, Christie, Fiorina

Undercard Debate
6pm ET (5pm CT, 3pm PT)
Candidates: Paul, Huckabee, Santorum, Graham, Pataki

Candidate lineups subject to changes since CNN has not yet released the official lists. The polling window is from Oct. 29 to Dec. 13 so expect an official announcement on Monday. These estimates are based on their criteria and should hold correct unless some big polls come out by Sunday.

Report on the lineup from Bloomberg:

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul will almost certainly fail to qualify for the primetime stage at next Tuesday’s fifth Republican primary debate, according to an analysis of poll data conducted by Bloomberg. Paul has been included in all four of the main presidential debates to this point in the campaign.

To qualify for the CNN-sponsored primetime debate, candidates must average at least 3.5 percent support nationally or 4 percent in either Iowa or New Hampshire, based on major polls conducted between Oct. 29 and Dec. 13.

Paul falls short on all three thresholds, but comes closest in Iowa, where he currently averages 3.5 percent support. If only one additional poll is released in each category by Sunday, Paul would need a relatively ambitious 6 percent in Iowa, 8 percent in New Hampshire or 10.5 percent nationally to qualify.

Carly Fiorina has also come close to being left out of the main debate, but clears CNN’s entry criteria thanks to her 4.6 percent showing in New Hampshire. Assuming one more eligible Granite State poll by the Sunday deadline, Fiorina would need to fall below 1 percent to lose her spot onstage.

Why is Lindsey Graham or George Pataki still in this race? I haven’t got a clue. Their polls are probably lower than ISIS approval numbers yet they’re still given spots by earning 1% polling here and there. Basically they’re on stage due to mathematical rounding in their favor, nothing more. Huckabee and Santorum are in slightly better shape but still scraping the bottom. Paul is on the cusp and has been unable to gain traction nationally or in the early states.

There is still a chance Paul could make the primetime stage, though he would need some big numbers in Iowa or New Hampshire to make it happen in the next 24 hours.

I continue to feel like I’m ignoring the Democratic primary race but the news there continues to be the same. Hillary Clinton is dominating almost everywhere and we know who will be at the next Democratic debate on Saturday, December 19, the only three remaining candidates: Clinton, Sanders and O’Malley. More Democratic debate details coming later next week following the Republican debate.

Add Comment | Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe Via Email

Sign up for instant election alerts and the latest content delivered to your inbox: