Third-party candidates on outside as debate criteria released
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The Commission on Presidential Debates has released the polls it will use to decide the participants of September's first presidential debate as third-party candidates struggle to make the stage.  

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Candidates will need to hit an average of 15 percent in polls conducted by ABC/Washington Post, CBS/New York Times, CNN/Opinion Research Corporation, Fox News, and NBC/Wall Street Journal. The 15 percent threshold had been announced months ago, but the commission released its polling selections on Monday after consultation with Frank Newport, the editor-in-chief of Gallup. 
 
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonChris Murphy’s profile rises with gun tragedies DNC, RNC step up cyber protections Gun proposal picks up GOP support MORE and Republican nominee Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpIvanka Trump pens op-ed on kindergartners learning tech Bharara, Yates tamp down expectations Mueller will bring criminal charges Overnight Cybersecurity: Equifax security employee left after breach | Lawmakers float bill to reform warrantless surveillance | Intel leaders keeping collusion probe open MORE are virtually assured a slot each on the stage for the Sept. 26 debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y. But it remains unlikely that a third-party candidate will join them, despite voters' historic dislike of both Clinton and Trump. 
 
As of Monday, neither Libertarian Party nominee Gary JohnsonGary JohnsonCourt: Excluding outside parties from presidential debates does not violate First Amendment Juan Williams: Dems finally focus on message Mueller to give first speech since taking on Russia probe MORE nor Green Party nominee Jill Stein would qualify, and neither has come close to hitting 15 percent in any qualifying poll. 
 
Johnson currently averages 9 percent in the three most recent qualifying polls, while Stein sits at just under 5 percent. In Fox's most recent poll, Johnson scored 12 percent, but the poll did not include Stein. CBS did not test either candidate in its most recent poll. 
 
A representative with the commission did not immediately respond to a request as to how the criteria would be applied if Fox and CBS continued not to test the whole field. 
 
A representative with the commission told The Hill that the polling averages only include the polls where a candidate is tested. So that means Johnson and Stein would not be penalized for polls they were not included in, outside of having fewer opportunities to raise their averages.