Marist Institute Stops Its GOP Polling Ahead Of Fox News Debate

The Marist Institute of Public Opinion has decided to suspend polling of the Republican presidential candidates. The move comes just days before the first Republican presidential debate, which will be hosted by Fox News.

Since the Republican field is so crowded with 17 candidates, Fox has opted to only include the top 10 performing candidates in the prime time debate. The remaining candidates who are polling lower will take part in a separate debate earlier in the evening. That is something that doesn’t sit well with Marist.

Marist is an unbiased polling group that is highly respected. They claim that choosing who gets the opportunity to debate shouldn’t be based on poll numbers. Marist admits that polling is not accurate enough to be the deciding factor on who gets to debate.

Lee Miringoff, who is the director of the Marist Institute of Public Opinion, said that their poll numbers shouldn’t shape the selection process. That’s why Marist has chosen to suspend its GOP polling in somewhat of a protest aimed at Fox.

“It’s a problem when it’s shaping who gets to sit at the table,”

He went on to say that the margin of error needs to be taken into account. Miringoff even wrote a blog post listing 10 reasons not to rely on polls for candidate eligibility.

“It asks public polls to have a precision that ignores the margin of error. There is a massive distinction made the place there is no statistical distinction.”

Fox News‘ executive vice president, Michael Clemente, defended the network’s treatment of the polling data. He also said he believes people will see the debate criteria as fair.

“Common sense would tell you that there is no formal schedule for who releases polls and when. And fairness would tell you that we can’t judge any poll until you can see the methodology,”

The prime time Republican presidential debate will take place Thursday at 9 p.m. EST, while the second debate for the candidates polling lower will be on Thursday at 5 p.m. EST.

According to Politico, the top 10 GOP candidates will likely be Jeb Bush, Donald Trump, Rand Paul, Scott Walker, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, and John Kasich. That leaves candidates such as Carly Fiorina, Lindsey Graham, and Rick Perry out of the prime time debate.

Christie, Kasich, and Perry were all very close, and any differences in their polling numbers were certainly within the margin of error. With the debate just a few days away, Fox is unlikely to change its plan.

[Photo by Laura Segall / Getty Images]