Fiorina supporters slam 'ludicrous' CNN debate methodology

Carly Fiorina, Donald Trump
Fox News
Carly Fiorina supporters are criticizing CNN's debate criteria that could prevent the former Hewlett-Packard CEO from grabbing a spot on the main stage at the second debate despite her surging poll numbers.
They say that CNN's decision to include polls from before the first presidential debate will work against Fiorina, who didn't make the main stage at the Aug. 6 Fox News debate in Cleveland but surged after a strong performance during the undercard debate.
"Ludicrous," was how Katie Hughes, communications director for CARLY for America super-PAC supporting Fiorina's campaign, termed it.
"The political class is *still* trying to keep her off the main debate stage, if you can believe that," argued Sarah Isgur Flores, Fiorina's deputy campaign manager, in a fundraising email to supporters on Friday.
A CNN spokesperson could not be reached for comment.
Hughes said  "the polls used should at least reflect the most recent attitudes of voters -- to not do so is ludicrous."
Two separate CNN and Fox News polls released earlier this week showed Fiorina in the middle of the pack of the crowded field with 5 percent in each poll.
Fiorina lacked significant national name recognition and was hovering at about 1 percent in most polls before the first debate.
Officially, Fiorina campaign spokeswoman Anna Epstein said that they "aren't weighing in on this topic right now."
"We're in New Hampshire this week and Iowa next week," she said, noting Fiorina's aggressive campaign schedule in the early primary and caucus states.

Hughes criticized the emphasis on national polling, saying that they "support returning control to those who vote in the early primary states."

"Nobody is running nationally," Hughes said. "Placing so much importance on national polling -- especially this early in the process -- starts to take away the vital role that the voters of these early states play."
It's a similar argument that Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics, has made. He said that CNN's methodology isn't just hurting Fiorina -- but also other candidates who weren't on the main stage at the first debate.

"My proposal is for two debates, regardless of the sponsoring network, both in prime-time, back to back, with the participants in each selected by lottery on the day of the debating to introduce unexpected spontaneity while treating all candidates fairly," Sabato said.

"In a couple months, if natural winnowing doesn’t occur, then a polling mechanism can be introduced—followed by a cutoff consisting of real votes received, once the caucuses and primaries commence."