The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) announced today that Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein would not be included in the first two presidential debates. Here is an excerpt from their official statement:
With the assistance of Dr. Newport, the Board determined that the polling averages called for in the third criterion are as follows: Hillary Clinton (43%), Donald Trump (40.4%), Gary Johnson (8.4%) and Jill Stein (3.2%). Accordingly, Hillary Clinton and her running mate, Tim Kaine, and Donald Trump and his running mate, Mike Pence, qualify to participate in the September 26 presidential debate and the October 4 vice-presidential debate, respectively. No other candidates satisfied the criteria for inclusion in the September 26 and October 4 debates. The criteria will be reapplied to all candidates in advance of the second and third presidential debates.
Johnson has polled as high as 13% in recent days, but has compositely not been able to move much beyond the 8% average which the CPD used to evaluate his invitation. Earlier this month, polls indicated that a majority of Americans wanted the CPD to allow Gary to be included in the debates with Clinton and Trump. Apparently, the CPD didn’t agree.
What do you think? Should the CPD have relaxed their rules and bent to public opinion to let Johnson in? Are the presidential polls themselves a better judge of where the public is really at? Let us know on Facebook or in the comments below.