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Debate Venues: Preparing the Third Podium

Veteran News
Veteran News
August 11, 2016
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Gary Johnson and Jill Stein are polling at historic numbers. The third-party candidates of the Libertarian and Green parties, respectively, may soon have a place on the national debate stage.The Committee on Presidential Debates this week sent a memo to the three colleges which are to play host to the debates. Washington University in St. Louis, University of Nevada Las Vegas and Hofstra University were all told to prepare a third podium for a potential additional candidate.While Jill Stein might be doing better than at any time in the past (she is polling in the mid-single digits), some polls put Gary Johnson near the 15-point threshold needed to stand on the debate stage alongside Trump and Clinton.


Most sources, however, average Johnson’s polling at around 8.8 percent, which is not even close to the threshold.The key to participating in the debates, according to the Commission, is to be eligible for the Presidency (sorry, under-35’s and non-U.S. citizens) and to have the name of the candidate on enough state ballots to be mathematically able to win the majority vote of the Electoral College. The candidate must also have a national support level of at least 15 percent.This number is computed by a compilation of five national polling bodies.The polls take the margin of error into account. For example, in a poll with a margin of error of 4 points, where a candidate was polling at 14 percent, the organizers might be pressed to allow the candidate in the debates.Some news organizations have reported that Gary Johnson’s polling numbers are actually going down, rather than up. Reason disputes that, saying that post-convention polling for Johnson and Stein appears “almost identical to pre-convention polling.”

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