The Commission on Presidential Debates is expected to soon announce which candidates will qualify for the first presidential debate, and at this point, it’s virtually impossible for any of the third party candidates to make the cut.
Last month, the commission suggested the announcement would come in mid-September, ahead of the first debate scheduled for Sept. 26 at Hofstra University.
Its decision will be based on several different criteria. In order to participate in the debates, the commission says that a candidate has to have at least 15 percent support of the national electorate, which is determined by averaging the results of the selected organizations’ “most recent publicly-reported results at the time of the determination.”
The commission will use surveys from ABC-Washington Post, CBS-New York Times, CNN-Opinion Research Corporation, NBC-Wall Street Journal and Fox News. The only poll that hasn’t been released recently is NBC-Wall Street Journal, which could come any day now.
All of the other polls released in the last few weeks have showed support for Libertarian Gary Johnson has ranged between 7 percent and 9 percent. Support for Green Party candidate Jill Stein has ranged between 2 percent and 4 percent.
The CBS News/New York Times poll released Thursday found 8 percent of likely voters support Johnson (11 percent of registered voters) and 2 percent of likely voters back Stein (3 percent of registered voters).
If neither Johnson nor Stein make it to the first debate, however, they’ll still have a shot at at the second and third debates. The same criteria will be reapplied between the first and second presidential debates and then one last time between the second and third presidential debates.
Besides that requirement, a candidate must have constitutional eligibility like being at least 35 years of age and a natural born citizen of the U.S. A candidate must also have his or her name appear on enough state ballots “to have at least a mathematical chance of securing an Electoral College majority” in November’s election.
Johnson announced earlier this week that he and his running mate, Bill Weld, will appear on the ballot in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. in November.
A small group of people demonstrated Wednesday outside of the commission’s office in D.C., demanding that all candidates who are on enough ballots to achieve 270 electoral college votes are allowed to participate in the debates. The protest was organized by the Campaign for Open Debates and Stein’s campaign.
The moderators for the debates were announced earlier this month.