CNBC released the criteria which the network will use when deciding the lineup of Republican candidates appearing on the primetime debate stage coming up on October 28. Unlike the two prior debates, CNBC has set a minimum of 3 percent in a selection of national polls to govern which candidates appear on the main stage. With mathematical rounding in place, a candidate with a 2.7% average, for example, would qualify as having 3 percent.
Report from Politico:
Rand Paul has a place on the GOP debate stage — for now.
But the debate rules announced Wednesday by CNBC could end up spelling disaster for the Kentucky senator and several other high-profile candidates — including Gov. Chris Christie and former Gov. Mike Huckabee.
All three would qualify for the all-important primetime debate if it were held today, but just barely — thanks to a rounding provision in the rules, Paul’s current polling average would meet the 3 percent threshold set by the cable network. The other two are slightly above the 3 percent cut-off.
Their positions are tenuous: Even the slightest fade in the polls over the next few weeks could remove them from the main 8 p.m. debate stage, sending a warning signal to donors and supporters about the vitality of their campaigns.
Paul’s predicament isn’t the only repercussion of the newly-announced debate rules. By setting a floor of a 3 percent average in polls conducted by NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox, CNN and Bloomberg — released between Sept. 17 and Oct. 21 — CNBC will also be denying several other low-performing campaigns the oxygen of a nationally-televised primetime debate performance.
At this point, given current polling, the primetime broadcast would look like this with a total of ten candidates:
Trump, Carson, Fiorina, Rubio, Bush, Cruz, Kasich, Christie, Huckabee, Paul
However, if any of them fall below the 3 percent threshold, they’d be moved to the early debate happening at 6pm ET the same day:
Any candidate who has reached 1 percent in at least one of the polls recognized by CNBC is invited to participate in a 6 p.m. EDT undercard debate. According to current polls, that stage would feature Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Gov. George Pataki and former Sen. Rick Santorum. Sen. Lindsey Graham and former Gov. Jim Gilmore would need to notch at least 1 percent in any upcoming polls recognized by CNBC over the next three weeks in order to make the stage.
We won’t know who makes which stage until days before the debate when the polling is finalized. It’s very possible that with Walker’s exit, more candidates may drop over the next couple weeks which could help solidify some of the candidates on the main stage.