News Daily Spot: Republican presidential hopefuls wait to see if they make the cut for TV debate

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Republican presidential hopefuls wait to see if they make the cut for TV debate

Donald Trump stands poised to win at least one campaign competition on Tuesday: center stage at the first Republican primary debate, the biggest victor of Fox News’s selection process for 10 of 17 conservative candidates.

Republican candidates' forum hears policy pitches in Trump-free zone
Fox News will announce the chosen candidates sometime after 5pm ET on Tuesday, having used five national polls to determine the 10 leading candidates who will stand on stage. The cable news network has not said which polls it will use, leaving several straggling candidates concerned they won’t qualify for the debate.
Ahead of the main event in Cleveland, Ohio on Thursday, Fox News will hold an early event for the candidates who failed to make the cut – a distinction that bothChris Christie and Rick Perry, the New Jersey governor and longtime former Texas governor, are anxious to avoid.
In most polls, Trump, the real-estate billionaire who has courted controversy by calling Mexican immigrants “rapists”, is leading his rivals by a wide margin. According to Huffpost Pollster, which averages national polls, 24.3% of the voters polled preferred Trump to other candidates. Former Florida governor Jeb Bush and Wisconsin governor Scott Walker lag well behind, with 13.4% and 11.7% in the polls respectively.
Scrabbling for the last few podiums are Christie, Perry and the Ohio governor, John Kasich, who has quietly gained on other Republicans in recent weeks in part by playing to moderate conservatives. Christie and Kasich seem to have an edge over Perry, but Fox has not said how it will round polling numbers.
Christie hinted at the anxiety over his faltering campaign, giving a half-hearted riposte on Monday night when a forum moderator asked about a 2012 run. “You saying I’m washed up?” Christie asked. If Fox rounds its poll averages to the nearest percentage point, the network increases the possibility of a tie for 10th place – and 11 Republicans in all squabbling on stage.
Alongside the apparent locks of Bush and Walker, senators Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Rand Paul appear relatively secure to qualify, with polling numbers in the middle of the pack, between 4.4-6%. Of the three, Paul’s grasp on a podium is most tenuous, as Trump has devoured airtime and drawn away some of the Kentucky senator’s more fringe supporters.
Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson also stand in the middle of the pack, as of averaged polls on Tuesday morning. The men are battling over hardcore conservatives, largely by stressing social issues.
The candidates with the least chance of making the main debate are Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal, former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, former HP CEO Carly Fiorina, South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham, and former New York governor George Pataki.
Fox originally stated that candidates had to have at least 1% in the polls to take part in the early debate, but changed the rules because several candidates could not make the threshold.
Fox has said it will use an average of the last five polls released before 5pm on Tuesday, and that polls it uses “must be conducted by major, nationally recognized organizations that use standard methodological techniques”.
Democratic candidates need not worry about debates – the Democratic National Committee has yet to schedule anything beyond tentative dates in “September/October”.
But the frontrunner, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, has to contend with rocky poll numbers of her own. On Tuesday a Wall Street Journal/NBC poll found that fewer Americans had a favorable impression of Clinton than in earlier months: 53% of white women had a negative impression of her in July, the poll found, compared with 43% in June.
Poll averages support the new poll’s findings, showing that for each month this year more and more Americans have felt disinclined toward Clinton. According to the averages, 48.3% of Americans dislike Clinton, compared with 43.1% who have a favorable opinion of her.
About 34% of white women had a good impression of Clinton, according to the new poll, an 11% decline from the previous month. Clinton has campaigned hard for women’s votes, frequently exhorting Americans to make history by electing her the first female president.
The poll of 1,000 adults also found that more independent voters were uneasy with Clinton, but that she maintains a strong lead over her closest competitor, Vermont senator Bernie Sanders.

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