- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Carly Fiorina has been steadily gaining in the polls since her showing at Fox News’ Aug. 6 “kiddie table” debate, but CNN’s debate criteria may keep the only woman GOP presidential hopeful from sitting with the big kids at the debate in September.

According to the debate methodology CNN released earlier this year, the news station will be weighing polls from July 16 to Sept. 10 to determine who among the 17 Republican candidates will be selected for the 10 spots in the “top tier” debate.

“It acts as sort of an anchor on those people who had done poorly early and a bit of a parachute for those people who have done well early,” Cliff Zukin, a Rutgers University political scientist told The Hill.

Prior to the Fox News August debates, the former Hewlett-Packard executive was polling toward the bottom of the pack, with about 1 percent or less support. After what analysts consider to be a strong debate showing, Mrs. Fiorina’s poll numbers have jumped to 5 percent. However, when averaged together with the earlier polls, unless she maintains or improves her polling gains, she may not make it to the main stage for CNN’s September debate.

“It’s definitely a concern when these polls are used and when the time period is certainly a factor,” Katie Hughes, communications director for the CARLY for America super PAC, told The Hill.

Although it is unknown how many polls will be released between now and CNN’s Sept. 10 deadline, analysis done by The Hill finds that based on the 11 polls conducted since July 16, the main debate stage in September will likely look the same as the one in August, with Mrs. Fiorina absent from the main stage.

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