Fox News Channel has listed almost every presidential candidate as appearing in the Republican forum it is holding two nights before the New Hampshire caucus. But they have not listed Ron Paul.
Paul’s supporters aren’t happy, and Fox hasn’t been forthcoming with an explanation. But according to CNN, Fox’s justification is that they are inviting only candidates polling in double-digits.
That explanation probably won’t, and really shouldn’t, appease the Paul campaign.
Fox must have used data from national polls–not New Hampshire polls–to decide which candidates will participate, even though the event is held in New Hampshire just before their primary.
The difference between the two sets of numbers is significant. Paul runs in the low single digits nationally, but in New Hampshire he is near double-digits. More to the point, he leads Fred Thompson in every recent New Hampshire poll, and is just a few points behind Mike Huckabee and Rudy Giuliani. Thompson, Huckabee and Giuliani are all in Fox’s New Hampshire debate.
Paul has established that he is factor in the New Hampshire race. Setting a 10 percent standard with national polls seems like a sneaky way to leave him out, especially since the strategy of every underdog campaign (like Paul’s) involves scoring a breakout showing in Iowa or New Hampshire and then expanding support in national polls.