Wednesday, August 10, 2005

The Debate Debate Continues....

From the Hotline:

VIRGINIA GOVERNOR: Kilgore Decides To Let Potts In, With One Catch Ex-AG Jerry Kilgore (R) said 8/9 that he has agreed to a debate that would include GOP state Sen. Russ Potts (I), but only if Potts reaches 15% in 2 statewide polls. Kilgore's camp said the debate would be 10/9, organized and moderated by UVA's Larry Sabato. Kilgore spokesperson Tim Murtaugh: "We have said all along that we would only debate candidates who have a chance of winning. If the debate organizers set the bar at 15 percent, then we're willing to accept that." Sabato: "If I were the debate dictator, I'd have a three-way debate instantly. This was the best we could do." Potts "has relentlessly criticized Kilgore for refusing to debate him," and the camp "denounced conditions for the new debate as unfair" (Jenkins, Washington Post, 8/10). In a recent Richmond Times-Dispatch/Mason-Dixon poll, Potts drew 9%. A 10/9 debate "would likely compete" with MLB playoffs and Sunday night football. Kaine and Kilgore will meet 9/13 for a debate hosted by NBC's Tim Russert and possibly only airing on NewsChannel8 (Whitley, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 8/10).
I will agree at the moment with the 15% stipulation. But, I have one concern. Don't the public polls need to ask if someone is supporting Potts by name as opposed to asking if they support "Other"? The one time this happened we saw a dramatic shift in the numbers.... Why? Earluy polls are as much about name ID as they are about substance. Do a fair poll... Then we can put the 15% stipulation on the debate.

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