What Third Party Candidates Must Do To Participate In The Presidential Debates


The Commission on Presidential Debates announced Monday which national polls will be used to determine whether a presidential candidate meets the 15 percent polling threshold to participate in the general election debates.

The five polls the commission will use are ABC/Washington Post, CBS/New York Times, CNN/ORC, Fox News and NBC/Wall Street Journal, according to the commission’s announcement.

An Aug. 9 national poll from ABC/Washington Post, the most recent release of those pollsters, showed Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson polling at 8 percent, and Green Party candidate Jill Stein trailing at 4 percent in the four-way presidential poll. Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton lead the GOP’s Donald Trump in that poll, 45-37.

The commission did not provide a specific date for when a candidate must reach the 15 percent threshold, saying only that the criteria will be applied in mid-September.

To be a part of the debate, candidates also have to meet constitutional eligibility requirements to hold office, and have their name appear on enough state ballots to have a mathematical chance at gaining a majority in the Electoral College, according to the commission’s rules.

The first presidential debate is scheduled for Sept. 26 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY, followed by an Oct. 9 debate at Washington University in St. Louis, and the final debate on Oct. 19 at University of Nevada in Las Vegas.