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Jun 12, 2024  |  
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Gabrielle M. Etzel, Healthcare Reporter


NextImg:Why making the GOP debate stage will be harder than ever

The crowded field of 2024 GOP presidential contenders may have problems getting on the debate stage due to the Republican National Committee's polling requirements.

To qualify for the first RNC debate on Aug. 23, candidates must earn 1% of the vote in three polls, each with a sample size of at least 800 "likely" primary voters or caucus-goers — an exceedingly difficult task.

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In all United States national elections since 2000, 60.5% of registered voters, on average, participated in general elections, and an average of 27% of registered voters participated in primaries. According to FiveThirtEight's database of presidential polls, only two of 70 surveys conducted in the past 51 days meet the RNC's debate qualification standards.

The other two requirements to achieve a spot on the RNC debate stage include obtaining 40,000 individual donors and signing the RNC pledge to support the Republican nominee.

The primary pledge is one of the most controversial requirements, as many Republican candidates have said they do not support former President Donald Trump, and Trump himself has not said he would support another Republican candidate in his stead.

Trump also has questioned whether or not he would participate in an official RNC debate, saying he may hold an alternative event instead.

However, the polling requirement remains the greatest logistical challenge for GOP candidates, as the top six recent surveys — ranging from Fox News to Quinnipiac University — have fallen short of the sample size requirement. Meeting the sample requirement would require nearly doubling the number of polled individuals and a dramatic increase in expenditures.

When asked by Politico about the strictness of the requirements, an unnamed RNC official told the outlet, “We are ensuring quality polls are used to determine which candidates make the debate stage, and we are confident that there will be enough polls for our candidates to qualify."

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER

The four front-runners in the race — Trump, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, and Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) — easily have met the 1% threshold in the past two qualifying surveys. Former Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ), former Vice President Mike Pence, and business mogul Vivek Ramaswamy also cleared the 1% threshold in the most recent qualifying polls.

There are a total of 14 declared GOP candidates for the 2024 presidential nomination.