Polling in the early primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire should be considered when determining which candidates appear on the main stage in the upcoming Republican presidential primary debate, staffers for Gov. Bobby Jindal’s campaign argue.
CNBC’s candidate criteria for Republican primetime debate on October 28 requires candidates to be polling nationally at 3 percent, a threshold Jindal does not currently meet. Bobby Jindal, however, has been making more inroads in Iowa where a recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll had the Louisiana governor with 6 percent of the vote, tied for fifth place.
On a conference call with reporters Tuesday, Jindal’s campaign said that the early state polling should be factored into candidate participation criteria and chastised the Republican National Committee and television networks for prioritizing national polling.
National polling alone, Jindal senior strategist Curt Anderson argued, does not predict candidate success but rather is indicative of name recognition.
“We don’t have a national primary so there is zero logic for the RNC and the networks to use national polls,” Anderson said. “And I would say that if Tom Brady announced tomorrow he would definitely be in the upcoming debate based on name ID alone.”
Jindal campaign manager Timmy Teepell said that the campaign has taken their polling concerns to the RNC and CNBC. In the face of no changes to the criteria so far, Teepell argued that the debate requirements are out of touch.
“By ignoring the early states the RNC and CNBC are not reflecting reality or providing a fair opportunity to either the candidates or the Republican voters to have the debate this campaign deserves. By ignoring the early states they’re ignoring the voters,” Teepell said.
He further argued that by “ignoring” early state voting the RNC and the networks are are “actually creating their own reality and actively shaping who will in and who will lose.”
Protesting debate criteria was successful earlier this cycle for GOP candidate Carly Fiorina, who was able to get on the CNN main stage debate after waging a campaign against its polling criteria.
The Jindal campaign expressed hope Tuesday that there would be changes to the criteria, saying that Fiorina’s point was correct and similar to what Jindal’s campaign would like to see. That is “make the debate criteria reflect reality. That’s all we’re asking for.”
“We are certainly going to speak loudly about the fact that the current criteria doesn’t reflect reality,” Anderson said.