Elections

Trump And Hillary Aren’t The Only Candidates Voters Want On The Debate Stage

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Phillip Stucky Political Reporter

Voters want the Libertarian and Green Party nominees on the debate stage, according to a Morning Consult poll published Thursday, despite the debate rules precluding their participation.

The rules require that a candidate obtain at least a 15 percent average in most national polls in order to qualify for the debate stage. Fifty-two percent of likely voters, however, reported they wanted the two third-party candidates to join Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump on the stage on Sept. 26.

Forty-seven percent of voters said Green Party nominee Jill Stein should be allowed on the debate, and 52 percent said Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson should join.

During an interview in July, Johnson told Morning Consult “There’s no chance” for his continued candidacy “without the debate.” Johnson’s highest poll numbers in the group was 13 percent, but the libertarian candidate polled at 8 percent in the most recent poll.

A third-party candidate hasn’t seen the national debate stage since 1992’s Independent Ross Perot, who won 19 percent of the popular vote, but didn’t win a single electoral vote in the race that launched former President Bill Clinton to the White House.

Twenty-five percent of voters reported they felt the debates would be “very important” in deciding who to vote for in November, and 20 percent reported that debates wouldn’t be important at all in their decision. Forty percent of voters report they feel Clinton will win the debates, with 31 percent claiming Trump will win.

Clinton’s favorables are at a career low for the Democratic nominee, tying Trump’s 60 percent unfavorable numbers with 59 percent in a poll with a 3.5 percent margin of error.

The Morning Consult survey ran from Aug. 29 through Aug. 30, and included 2.002 registered voters. The poll carried a margin of error of 2 percentage points in either direction.

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