Don’t mess with Carly Fiorina–or so CNN learned to his week, after she epically skewered them because of their debate criteria.
Fiorina, who was widely praised for handily winning the first round of debates on August 6 despite being on the so-called “happy hour” stage instead of the prime time event, is in danger of not making the cut this time around either–largely because of CNN’s controversial criteria.
Fiorina’s team launched a scathing memo to supporters that took both CNN and the Republican National Committee to task.
“It’s a simple question: Will we have a fair debate process or will the political establishment keep ignoring grassroots Republicans?” asked Fiorina’s deputy campaign director, Sarah Isgur Flores.
CNN, which hosts the second Republican presidential debate on September 16, has made the decision to average all polls taken between mid-July and early September, rather than just a handful of the most recent polls, like Fox News did for the first debate.
The problem for Fiorina is that–despite a substantial bump in the polls after the first debate, which slotted her as high as 4th place nationally, with 9% of the vote–not enough polls have been taken to average out her low numbers from earlier in the summer. CNN is only recognizing two polls from the last three weeks, but recognizing nine polls from the three weeks before the first debate.
That means Fiorina will, once again, likely be relegated to the so-called “kids’ table” debate, with bottom tier candidates–while candidates whom she’s outpolled for three weeks, like Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, and Rand Paul, will make it to the top stage once again.
While there’s still a few weeks for more CNN-approved polls to come out, it’s unlikely that there will be enough polls to move the needle in Carly’s favor–despite her growing momentum and rising poll numbers.