Jill Stein Polls: Debates Could Include Green Party Presidential Nominee If Stein Can Rally New Support

Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein received some possibly good news Monday, when the five polls that will determine whether or not she can take part in the three presidential debates — alongside Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump — were revealed by the Commission on Presidential Debates, the bipartisan group that sets the rules and schedule for the debates.

The Commission announced last year that candidates must reach a minimum of 15 percent support in an average of several polls in order to qualify for the debate stage. On Monday, the Commission unveiled the five polls that would be included in that average.

In fact, based on the announcement Monday, Stein may have an easier route into the debates than Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson. Of the five polls, Stein is currently included in only three, while Johnson is included in all five.

That means, the Commission said, that Stein must reach the 15 percent cutoff in an average of only those three polls.

Johnson must perform well in five polls without allowing his average be dragged below 15 percent by a potential outlier poll.

The five polls that will be averaged by the Commission will be the surveys conducted by ABC News/The Washington Post, CBS/The New York Times, Fox News, CNN/ORC, and NBC/Wall Street Journal.

Jill Stein appeared on MSNBC on Monday to make her case for why she should be included in the presidential debates, as can be seen in the video below.

To be considered for inclusion in the debates, candidates must appear on the ballot in enough states to account for 270 electoral votes. Jill Stein and Gary Johnson apparently both meet that criteria already. A fifth candidate — independent Evan McMullin — does not.

McMullin’s candidacy is being promoted by a number of prominent conservatives who oppose Trump’s bid for the White House. McMullin is a former CIA agent and Republican political consultant.

The Commission on Presidential Debates also said that candidates have until “mid-September” to reach the 15 percent mark and qualify for an invitation to the first debate on Monday, September 26, at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York.

However, the Commission did not set a specific date when final polling averages will be compiled.

According to the current averages, however, Jill Stein has quite a bit of work to do over the next several weeks to get herself into the September 26 debate.

The CBS/New York Times and Fox News polls do not ask voters about Jill Stein, and Fox, at least, has said that it has no plans to revise its polling to include the 66-year-old Green Party candidate, who has no prior political experience beyond a seat on her local Town Meeting in Lexington, Massachusetts.

But in polls that include her, Jill Stein is currently averaging five percent. While that number is well shy of the required 15 percent, it is two points better than in the Real Clear Politics average of all national polls, which currently sees Stein with only three percent support.

In the five qualifying polls, Libertarian Gary Johnson sits at 10 percent, while Trump garners 36 percent, and Clinton stands way out ahead with 44 percent.

“The commission polls may be showing better numbers for Johnson and Stein because they all use live interviewers,” wrote Claire Malone of the election-forecasting site FiveThirtyEight on Monday. “If you forget about the commission and just look at live-interview polls vs. online and robo-polls, you see a similar — though smaller — gap.”

Jill Stein, however, has started a petition calling on the Commission to “open” the debates to “include all Presidential candidates who have qualified for enough state ballots to be a choice for a majority of voters.”

The online poll had over 77,000 signatures as of August 15.


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Jill Stein also ran for president on the Green Party ticket in 2012 and did not qualify to be included in the debates based on polls in that year. When she protested outside one debate site, at Hofstra University, she was arrested.

But whether she gets to 15 percent in the polls and is included in the debates or not, Jill Stein will get a chance at significant national exposure on Wednesday, August 17, when CNN spotlights her in a Green Party presidential Town Hall broadcast.

[Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]