New Poll Qualifies Rand Paul for Main Debate; Will FOX Rectify?

Rand Paul

New Poll Shows Ridiculousness of Leaving Out Paul

by Josh Guckert

On Monday, FOX Business announced the candidates who qualified for the two debates tomorrow night in South Carolina. For the first time this cycle, Rand Paul was relegated to the undercard debate. The demotion was due to the arbitrary criteria created by FOX: that being that candidates had to come in the top six nationally or top five in Iowa or New Hampshire when averaging “recognized polls” by FOX (oddly, the polls which FOX saw as credible were never named).

Having done fairly well in polling over the last few months (particularly in Iowa), it was a surprise to many that the Kentucky Senator was cut. This was only exacerbated Wednesday when a new The Des Moines Register poll showed Paul in the top five in Iowa, thus likely also placing him in the top five in the Iowa average. Senator Paul is now lobbying to have this new poll included in FOX’s criteria; he would be the only candidate affected should they choose to do so.

If nothing else, this turn of events should show just how arbitrary and ambiguous FOX’s criteria is. In short, the channel is making the decision for viewers. For many, it is out of sight, out of mind, and by placing certain candidates on earlier when fewer people are watching (or not having them whatsoever), FOX is putting into effect a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Furthermore, polling is not an exact science. For example, in the FOX News poll from this month, there was a four percent margin of error among Republican caucus-goers. Rand Paul finished sixth in that poll, but only four points behind fourth-place Ben Carson, well within the margin on of error. In addition, pollsters are instructed that whenever someone being asked is “not sure” of his/her choice to ask who that person would support if he/she “had to decide today.” This also results in skewed results, as a lack of decisiveness results in more fluidity in the race.

FOX’s poll is far from the outlier: Quinnipiac’s poll also had a four percent margin of error, with 46% choosing a candidate stating they may change their minds; American Research Group had a five percent margin of error.

All polling aside, Senator Paul has over 1,000 precinct captains in Iowa, more than any other candidate, and also has received several hundred noteworthy endorsements in New Hampshire. He is one of very few candidates whose campaign is built to compete in both states and beyond.

Rand Paul is the only Republican who has reached out to young voters, and through his Students for Rand has mobilized thousands of conservative and libertarian students within the Republican Party. In so many instances, whether it be on foreign intervention, criminal justice or the War on Drugs, Paul has been for youth and minorities a voice for hope in a sea of irrational thought.

Hopefully, the Republican National Committee and FOX Business fix this precarious situation by placing Rand Paul on the main stage. The GOP was anxious to make sure that Carly Fiorina qualified a previous debate despite the fact that she did not meet the arbitrary criteria set forth. Here, the Republicans are faced with a candidate whose campaign is just as consequential as any of the other seven who have already been placed on the main stage.

The serious portion of the 2016 campaign is beginning, and Americans are just now paying attention to the primary process. Senator Paul and his team have put in many hours of work over the last several months, and he deserves to have his message heard by a national audience. If elections are meant to be respected, it should be the voters who should make decisions, not news networks and political party leadership.

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