Percentages can be hard: Wednesday night, we got the word while watching the Maddow Show.
The next GOP debate, on October 28, will be run by CNBC. According to Rachel Maddow, here’s what Republican hopefuls will have to do to qualify for the main event:
MADDOW (9/30/15): They’re only looking at polls from NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX, CNN and Bloomberg...Anybody who averages 2 1/2 percent or more in all of the polls taken during that time period will get into the real debate. They'll get into the real prime time event which will start at 8 that night.If you average 2 1/2 percent, you’re in the main debate! At least, that’s what we thought, until we read the next day’s New York Times:
RAPPEPORT (10/1/15): To make the cut in the later debate, candidates will need to be polling at 3 percent in an average of national polls conducted by NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox, CNN and Bloomberg that were released from Sept. 17 to Oct. 21.The Times said three percent!
It was like a version of the old joke known as Goldberg’s Law: “The man with one watch always knows the time. The man with two watches is never quite sure.”
Who to believe? Later, checking the Hardball transcript, we were bollixed by this formulation:
MATTHEWS (9/30/15): Well, CNBC has released criteria now for their Republican presidential debate—Republican debate—on October 28th, at the end of this month. To make the primetime debate, candidates must have a polling average of 2.5 percent in certain polls—by the way, that rounds up to 3—conducted between September 17th and October 21st.That seemed to make no obvious sense. Did we mention that this was Hardball?
Three news orgs, three different answers! The analysts said we had to go right to the horse’s mouth! And so, we clicked to CNBC.
Please ignore “criteria is.” Aside from that, this is what the press release said at the financial channel:
CNBC PRESS RELEASE (9/30/15): Candidate criteria for the October 28, 2015 CNBC Republican Debate is as follows:No really—that’s what it said:
National polls will be used to determine a candidate's eligibility and placement on the stage. To be eligible to appear in either segment, a candidate must have at least 1% in any one of the methodologically sound and recognized national polls conducted by: NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox, CNN and Bloomberg, released between September 17, 2015 and October 21, 2015.
To appear in the 8pm debate a candidate must have an average of 3% among these polls. The polls will be averaged and will be rounded up to 3% for any candidate with a standing of 2.5% or higher. Candidates who average below that will be invited to the 6pm debate.
“A candidate must have an average of 3% among these polls. The polls will be averaged and will be rounded up to 3% for any candidate with a standing of 2.5% or higher.”
Have we mentioned our new leading theory? That worms have been quietly eating the brains of our “journalistic” elite?
This may be the only post we’ve ever done where Maddow turned out to be right on the facts. Also this:
At three percent, we’d have to say that the New York Times got it wrong. But then, what else is new? In the world of elites, we mean.