Tulsi Gabbard received at least 2% support in her fourth qualifying state or national poll today, clearing her way to appear on the October Democratic debate stage. The poll, administered by Monmouth University, was taken of New Hampshire Democratic and Dem-leaning independents (New Hampshire is an open primary state) and had Gabbard at 2%, tied with Senator Cory Booker, Senator Amy Klobuchar, super-donor Tom Steyer, and entrepreneur Andrew Yang, but behind Warren, Biden, Sanders, Buttigieg, and Harris. It comes two days after the Des Moines Register released an edition of the Iowa poll that placed Gabbard at 2% among likely Democratic caucus-goers.
The October debate is set on the same standards as the September debate, which Gabbard was excluded from. She will join those 10 candidates, along with Tom Steyer, who qualified last week. This will be the final debate with those rules, before the Democratic National Committee (DNC) adopts stricter rules announced for the November debate (which raise the polling standard to 3%, possibly high enough to keep Gabbard out again). Gabbard had met the 130,000 unique donors requirement before the September debate, but only had two qualifying polls at the time.
It is unclear whether the expansion of the field will lead to a separation of the stage into two nights, with the DNC previously having said it wanted to restrict debates to 10 people at a time. Only Marianne Williamson is on the outside with any chance at getting in, having met the donor threshold but having only one qualifying poll. Polls released after October 1st will not count towards the October debate, which will take place on October 15th (and 16th if necessary).
Today’s polls, two national, one New Hampshire, and one Nevada, all count towards the November polling threshold. Three show Biden in front, and the New Hampshire poll has Warren on top. Warren leads Sanders in each poll (including a 15-point lead in New Hampshire, where Sanders had previously polled very strongly). General election polls released by Emerson show Trump trailing both Warren and Biden, but leading Sanders and Harris.
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