Washington, D.C. (September 16, 2016) – The nonpartisan, non-profit Commission on Presidential Debates (“CPD”) announced today that it has applied its Nonpartisan Candidate Selection Criteria for 2016 General Election Debate participation to determine eligibility to participate in the presidential debate to take place at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York on September 26 and the vice-presidential debate to take place on October 4 at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia.
Pursuant to the criteria, which were publicly announced on October 29, 2015, those candidates qualify for debate participation who: (1) are constitutionally eligible to hold the office of President of the United States; (2) have achieved ballot access in a sufficient number of states to win a theoretical Electoral College majority in the general election; and (3) have demonstrated a level of support of at least 15 percent of the national electorate, as determined by five selected national public opinion polling organizations, using the average of those organizations’ most recent publicly-reported results.
The Board of Directors of the CPD convened today to apply the criteria. Of the many declared candidates, four candidates presently satisfy the first two criteria: Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Gary Johnson and Jill Stein.
With respect to the third criterion, on August 15, 2016, CPD announced the five polls it would rely upon, which were selected with the professional advice of Dr. Frank Newport, Editor-in-Chief of Gallup. The polls were selected based on: the reliable frequency of polling and sample size used by the polling organization; the soundness of the survey methodology employed by the polling organization; and the longevity and reputation of the polling organization. The five selected polls are: ABC-Washington Post; CBS-New York Times; CNN-Opinion Research Corporation; Fox News; and NBC-Wall Street Journal.
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.
The CPD has successfully sponsored the presidential and vice presidential general election debates since 1988. The CPD’s planning for the 2016 debates has extended over a period of years and has drawn upon the CPD’s now-extensive experience in sponsoring general election debates. CPD announced the five journalists who will moderate those debates: Lester Holt, Elaine Quijano, Martha Raddatz, Anderson Cooper, and Chris Wallace.
The candidates who have qualified to participate today previously have committed to participate in the debates sponsored by the CPD.