Kentucky Senator Rand Paul will almost certainly fail to qualify for the primetime stage at next Tuesday’s fifth Republican primary debate, according to an analysis of poll data conducted by Bloomberg. Paul has been included in all four of the main presidential debates to this point in the campaign.
In order to qualify for the debate, candidates have to poll at least 3.5% nationally or 4% in New Hampshire or Iowa based on major polls conducted between Oct. 29 and Dec. 13.
Rand falls short on all these requirements. The only possible way for him to get into the debate is by performing remarkably better in the last polls before the debate. He’ll have to poll 6% in Iowa, 8% in New Hampshire, and more than 10% nationally. Chances of that happening are extremely modest.
In other words, Paul won’t be at CNN’s next debate, and that’ll mean his campaign is over before the primaries even get started. It must be terribly disappointing for the senator who thought he’d unite his father’s — Ron Paul — coalition of libertarians behind him, and possibly add some traditional conservatives to it. Instead of enlarging his father’s base, Rand has lost Ron’s supporters, with many of them preferring Ted Cruz over him.
Interestingly enough, Chris Christie — who was well behind everyone from day one — will participate in the debate. This because he’s polling an average of 6.8% in New Hampshire, a state that traditionally prefers establishment candidates like the New Jersey governor.
Although Donald Trump is leading the pack in New Hampshire, it’s quite possible that Christie will do well in that state, especially now that he’ll be able to participate in Tuesday’s debate. Whereas Rand Paul’s campaign is basically on life support, it would be a mistake to underestimate Christie. He only needs a modest surge to join the top of the pack in New Hampshire, which will almost certainly make him one of the establishment’s new favorites. And that will not only mean a surge in the polls, but also a major boost for his fundraising abilities.