Polls Are Do-Or-Die for Some Dem Candidates

Twelve Democratic candidates need to improve their stature among voters, and for five it is crucial.

As I mentioned in my previous post, the twenty Democratic candidates will need to reach qualifying levels in polling and/or donations for entry in the July debates. For those who did not make an impressive showing during the first debate, meeting the DNC criteria is pivotal to continuing.

These include:

Michael Bennett
John Delaney
Bill De Blasio
Tulsi Gabbard
Kirsten Gillibrand
John Hickenlooper
John Inslee
Beto O’Rourke
Tim Ryan
Eric Swalwell
Mariannne Williamson
Michael Yang

Even more importantly, all candidates have to get that boost in polls two weeks before the next debate. So for a number of contenders, July 16 is their do-or-die date.

A mere one percent level of support in three polls can make the difference. But the Democratic National Committee isn’t allowing just any poll. Its instructions (below) specify a list of acceptable surveys.

The best place to find polling data is at Real Clear Politics. However, Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina, one of the approved pollsters, may not show there. Here’s a link to their latest poll data.

DNC Debate Eligibility (June and July Debates Only)

Polling Method: Register 1% or more support in three polls (which may be national polls, or polls in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and/or Nevada) publicly released between January 1, 2019, and 14 days prior to the date of the Organization Debate.

Qualifying polls will be limited to those sponsored by one or more of the following organizations/institutions:

Associated Press
ABC News
CBS News
CNN
Des Moines Register
Fox News
Las Vegas Review Journal*
Monmouth University
NBC News
New York Times
National Public Radio (NPR)
Quinnipiac University
Reuters*
University of New Hampshire
Wall Street Journal
USA Today
Washington Post
Winthrop University.

Any candidate’s three qualifying polls must be conducted by different organizations, or if by the same organization, must be in different geographical areas.

The second means for qualifying – grassroot fundraising – could be equally daunting for these same candidates. Keep in mind that five who engaged in the first debate qualified on polling alone. None of these five had stellar performances. This reality weakens them for future funding and polling.  (See “Five to Lose“)


* The DNC dropped the Las Vegas Review Journal and Reuters from its qualified polls for the third debate in September. They are still included in the July Debate as qualified polling outlets.

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