The first set of Democratic debates was held on June 26th and 27th. Since then, not much has changed in the polling for the least popular candidates.
Year in Review
Of the lesser-known candidates on the December 19th debate stage – nearly a full six months after the first – Andrew Yang, Amy Klobuchar, and Tom Steyer were around or below 1% in the polls back in June. Pete Buttigieg was polling at around 7%.
Other notable candidates who were not on stage include Tulsi Gabbard, Julian Castro, and Corey Booker. Gabbard and Castro remained consistent at 2% and 1% respective. Meanwhile, Booker has steadily fallen from a high of 4% at the beginning of his campaign.
Realistically, only two candidates have made noteworthy impacts in the nomination polls.
First, Elizabeth Warren started at about 12% back in June. True, she currently sits only a point or two higher. However, her popularity did spike high enough in October to rival front-runner Joe Biden.
Second, Pete Buttigieg is making gains. Notably, he doubled his poll numbers between the beginning of July and the beginning of December. Moreover, Buttigieg has surged to become the frontrunner in Iowa.
Early Friday, the DNC officially announced their change in debate criteria for 2020 debates.
Expecting the change, the Democrat candidates – both those with and without viable campaigns – penned a letter to DNC Chair Tom Perez requesting relief from these strict criteria.
In short, candidates wanting to make the stage in January and February will need to meet the following criteria between November 14th and January 10th;
- 5% in four national polls, OR
- Receive 7% in a single-state national poll from specified pollsters.
- Receive donations from;
- 225,000 unique donors, with
- 1,000 unique donors being from 20 different states.
Truly, the complaints from struggling candidates comes as no surprise. In fact, each time the DNC tightens its rules to narrow the field, someone is left unhappy.
Currently, we are less than two and half months away from the first primary in Iowa on February 3rd. Thereafter, there are three more primaries before Super Tuesday takes place on March 3rd.
After six months on the campaign trail, candidates who have failed to make an impact on their voting base have no room to complain. If they have not proven to the American people in six months that they are qualified for the Office of the President, two more months will not make a difference.