Who’ll Earn a Seat at the Grownups’ Table for the Second Debate? – National Review

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Carly Fiorina is enjoying a post-debate surge, and that’s bad news for John Kasich, Chris Christie, and perhaps even Mike Huckabee. A record 25 million viewers tuned in to Fox News to watch the top ten GOP presidential candidates debate in primetime last Thursday. The “second tier” debate — which included those contenders outside of the top ten in national polls — enjoyed a surprising 6.6 million viewers, but every candidate would obviously prefer the bigger audience guaranteed by a top-ten position in the polls when CNN hosts the next round of debates on September 16.

The perilous spot for Kasich and Christie — whom Fox News characterized as “hovering by that edge in recent polling” when it announced its debate lineup — is to be expected. But it’s a surprise to see Huckabee in danger of falling out of the top tier for the CNN debates. He ranked sixth in the average used to determine participation in last week’s main event. Yet he would fall all the way to eleventh place if upcoming polls show a result similar to Rasmussen’s latest survey.

That survey showed Fiorina jumping from 2 percent support on July 26-27 to 9 percent — good enough for fourth place — in a survey conducted August 8-9. Rasmussen showed just enough of a drop for Huckabee that he slipped out of the top ten, from 7 percent in late July down to 3 percent a few days ago.

Fiorina still needs more pollsters to affirm her rise to ensure she’ll get a spot in the top ten for the next debate, of course. Another post-debate national poll recorded a similarly big jump for the former Hewlett-Packard CEO, but it comes with caveats. The Reuters-Ipsos poll showed Fiorina jumping from 1 percent in a survey conducted from August 1-5 to 6 percent in one conducted from August 6-10, good enough for seventh place. But the sample size for those surveys is quite small, just 278 Republicans.

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