With less than two weeks until the second debate of the Republican presidential primaries, time is running out for the Republican contenders. to meet Republican National Committee qualification criteria. To hold the debate on September 27, each candidate must have at least 3 percent support in two qualified national polls, or at least 3 percent in one national poll and that same figure in polls of two different early voting states, conducted since August 1. Each candidate must also provide evidence of having reached at least 50,000 unique donors to his or her campaign. And if they have the polls and the donors, candidates will once again have to sign a pledge to support the party’s eventual nominee in 2024 if they want to run.

As things stand, there’s a good chance that fewer candidates than the eight will qualify. who attended the first party meeting in August. Six of that octet appear to have the donors and polls to hold the second debate, and each signed the RNC pledge for the first debate, so there’s no reason to think they won’t sign on again. However, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson may have trouble qualifying again under the higher September thresholds for polls and donors. AND having skipped the first debate Despite easily qualifying for it (barring signing the Republican National Committee’s pledge), former President Donald Trump seems determined avoid second debatealso.

At least six candidates appear ready to participate in the second Republican debate

Republican presidential candidates based on whether and how they qualified for the second primary debate and whether they signed the first debate pledge, at 4:30 pm ET on September 13, 2023.

Candidate Center Donors Signed commitment for the first debate
Ron De Santis
Vivek Ramaswamy
nikki haley
Mike Pence
christian christian
Tim Scott
donald trump
David Burgum
Asa Hutchinson

The table only includes candidates who have met FiveThirtyEight’s “top” candidate criteria. Poll ratings are based on polls that appear to meet the Republican National Committee’s inclusion requirements.

To qualify for the debate, candidates must meet voting and donor thresholds set by the Republican National Committee. To meet the polling requirement, a candidate must reach 3 percent in at least two national polls, or 3 percent in one national poll and two polls of the first four states voting in the GOP primaries. each coming from separate states, according to surveys that meet the RNC’s inclusion criteria. To meet the donor requirement, a candidate must have at least 50,000 unique donors with at least 200 donors in at least 20 states and/or territories. Information posted by campaigns is used to determine whether a candidate has met the donation threshold. If a campaign reached 50,000 donors but did not say whether it had at least 200 donors in 20 states, we assumed it had also met this last requirement. To participate, candidates with enough polls and donors must sign a pledge promising to support the eventual Republican presidential candidate.


FiveThirtyEight’s analysis found that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and tech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy earned at least 3 percent support in all qualifying polls (Trump did, too). Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, former Vice President Mike Pence and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie reached that mark in nearly every poll, while South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott reached it in approximately three quarters of them. And none of these six candidates showed any sign of difficulty in reaching the 50,000 donor mark. Even the Pence campaign, which had more difficulty attracting donors that the majority announced in mid-August who had enough unique contributors to qualify for the second debate.

With 11 days left until the September 25 qualification deadline, the increase in the electoral threshold from 1 percent to 3 percent appears to be the main obstacle for candidates who have not qualified. Burgum announced at the end of July that had 50,000 donors, but FiveThirtyEight’s analysis found it reached 3 percent in only one state survey, a Trafalgar Group’s Mid-August Iowa Poll. Now, Burgum’s campaign can argue that he has reached 3 percent in New Hampshire, based either on the 2.5 percent he got in another Trafalgar survey in mid-August or the 4 percent it reached in an early August survey of coefficient on behalf of the New Hampshire Journal. We cannot rule out that the RNC counts the second Trafalgar poll, although The Republican National Committee showed no signs of being willing to round off the poll results. reported with decimals during qualification for the first debate. However, because the coefficient has voted for Trump this cycleyour New Hampshire poll won’t count under RNC voting rule that excludes surveys conducted by affiliated organizations with a candidate or committee of candidates.

However, regardless of whether he polls in one or two of the early states, Burgum has struggled to reach the 3 percent mark in national polls. Not surprisingly, Best of America PAC, a super PAC that supports Burgum, booked 4 million dollars in ads between August 30 and September 24. However, there is not much evidence that this has prompted Burgum: the most prolific national pollster, morning consultationhas released data from seven nationwide polls since Aug. 1, but Burgum polled above 0 percent only once. reaching 1 percent in a mid-August poll which predated the super PAC’s ad buy. In fact, Burgum has reached 2 percent in just one national poll that sampled at least 800 likely Republican voters since Aug. 1, a Kaplan Strategies Survey carried out immediately after the first debate.

Meanwhile, Hutchinson needs more polls and donors to take the stage, although it seems likely that it will reach the 50,000 contributor mark. Last week, a campaign spokesperson told ABC News that Hutchinson is “very close” to the donation requirement, and got a last-minute increase in taxpayers to qualify for the first debate. On the polling front, Hutchinson has something Burgum doesn’t: a national poll of 3 percent or higher, thanks to a Kaplan Strategies poll conducted before the first debate. But Hutchinson has not topped 1 percent in any potentially eligible national poll conducted since the first debate. And he hasn’t fared any better in early state polls, making it unlikely that he would get qualifying polls from two different states to combine with his single national poll to fulfill the RNC’s other voter qualification route.

It’s hard to imagine any other Republicans having a chance to qualify for the September debate. Former Texas Rep. Will Hurd appears to have a qualifying poll from New Hampshire: a mid-August survey from Echelon Insights/Republican Main Street Partnership – but like Burgum and Hutchinson, he has struggled to get 1 percent in most polls. And while Hurd could reach the 50,000 donor markhis public refusal to consider signing the RNC pledge it almost guarantees that he won’t go on stage. Additionally, businessman Perry Johnson and radio host Larry Elder came close to qualifying for the first debate, and both They have threatened legal action against the Republican National Committee claiming that unfairly kept them off the stage. But even if Johnson and/or Elder can reach 50,000 donors – Johnson claimed to have so many As of mid-August, neither candidate has a qualifying poll to their name.

Finally, Trump’s presence (or lack thereof) looms over the debate process. The former president obtains more than 50 percent of the votes in the polls FiveThirtyEight National Averageturning it into a clear favorite to win the Republican nomination. However, although Trump’s average fell slightly after the first debate, he essentially recovered to his pre-debate standing, suggesting that voters didn’t really penalize him for missing the event. It is not surprising, then, that seems determined to skip the second debate and performed counterprogramming that night, just as he did in the first debate when a prerecorded interview between Trump and former Fox News host Tucker Carlson aired at the same time.

With Trump likely absent, the second debate is once again shaping up to be a clash between the party’s main alternatives, none of which appear to be in a position to pose a significant challenge to Trump. Still, it’s critical that these candidates make it to the debate stage, since failing to qualify could signal to donors that their campaigns really have no chance of success. Plus, without Trump in the spotlight, the debate will give the other Republican contenders a chance. be seen and heard by a large audience. That’s an opportunity the candidates don’t want to squander, as a strong debate performance might. couldchange the course of your campaign.


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