Andrew Yang’s campaign announced on July 29 that he had qualified for the September and October DNC debates thanks to a new poll that gave him the four total polls he needed, according to the DNC’s rules. But an email sent out by the DNC indicates that the fourth poll doesn’t count because it’s by NBC, who also sponsored another poll that qualified Yang for the DNC fall debates. Now Yang’s team say they disagree with the DNC’s decision and a controversy is brewing.
Yang Shared That He Qualified for the Fall Debate with Four Polls, but the DNC Later Said He the Fourth Poll Didn’t Count
Yang announced to the world on July 29 that he was the eighth candidate to qualify for the fall debates.
The other candidates who qualified so far Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Beto O’Rourke, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, and Pete Buttigieg.
To be in the third and fourth debates in September and October, candidates must get donations from 130,000 people and get at least 2 percent in polls from four DNC-approved polls within a limited window. The rules about which DNC polls qualify are a little complicated. DNC has said that the polls must be “conducted by different organizations” or, if it’s the same organization, then they must be in different regions.
Two of Yang’s four qualifying polls were an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll and an NBC/SurveyMonkey poll. Yang supporters argued that these are two different organizations based on SurveyMonkey and Wall Street Journal’s involvement.
The DNC, however, just sent an email to campaigns explaining the rules although not directly addressing Yang, The Hill reported. Mary Beth Cahill, DNC senior advisor, said in the email: “Candidates may only count one NBC-sponsored national poll released during the current qualification period.”
She went on to say that it’s important the polls be by different sponsors “to avoid scenarios in which a single poll sponsor or media outlet is responsible for qualifying a candidate through multiple sets of results in the same geography.”
Zach Graumann, Yang’s campaign manager, wrote on Twitter: “By DNC rules, WSJ, NBC, Fox, and Quin. are approved orgs, so Yang has qualified for the fall debates. We disagree with the DNC decision & are disappointed. Our campaign has overcome every obstacle placed in our path and we will continue to upset the establishment well into 2020.”
Yang retweeted his message.
Zach Montellaro of Politico explained what happened, saying that both debates can count, but they can’t count for the same candidate to qualify.
The three polls that have helped him qualify so far (he’s just one poll away due to the Survey Monkey decision) are:
Here Are the DNC’s Polling Rules for the September Debate
You can read the DNC’s full rules for qualifying for the September debate here. The rules about polling read:
Candidates must receive 2% or more support in at least four polls (which may be national polls, or polls in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and/or Nevada) meeting the following criteria (“Qualifying Poll Criteria”)
Each poll must be sponsored by an approved organization, which presently includes the following: Associated Press, ABC News, CBS News, CNN, Des Moines Register, Fox News, Monmouth University, NBC News, New York Times, National Public Radio (NPR), Quinnipiac University, University of New Hampshire, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Washington Post, and Winthrop University. Any candidate’s four qualifying polls must be conducted by different organizations, or if by the same organization, must be in different geographical areas. The DNC and its media partners reserve the right to add a Nevada-specific poll sponsor to this list in the near future.
For the September debate, each poll must be publicly released between June 28, 2019, and August 28, 2019. Deadlines for qualifying polls ahead of the October debate will be released in the future.
Each poll’s candidate support question must have been conducted by reading or presenting a list of Democratic presidential primary candidates to respondents. (Poll questions using an open-ended or un-aided question to gauge presidential primary support will not count).
Each polling result must be the top-line number listed in the original public release from the approved sponsoring organization/institution, whether or not it is a rounded or weighted number.
Yang Faced Issues with His Mic Possibly Being Shut Off During June’s Debate
Still, the decision is a small setback for a campaign that has already overcome a lot. Last month, Yang spoke out with concerns that his mic was muted during parts of the NBC debate.
Marianne Williamson later said that the same thing had happened to her mic. This wasn’t the first time that Yang had dealt with issues with MSNBC’s coverage, which you can read about in detail in Heavy’s story here.
At the same time, he’s building a lot of momentum, especially online. The Onion has featured him in two hilarious stories that have helped build that growth, and he’s been leaning into that type of coverage quite well.
There’s still plenty of time for Yang to qualify based on the DNC’s rules, and with his current momentum he likely will. The cutoff to qualify with polls is August 28.