Stuck at the kids’ table

by Walter Pierce

Former Gov. Bobby Jindal relegated to yet another under-card debate, this time by CNBC.

Former Gov. Bobby Jindal’s senior advisor is fuming. Curt Anderson fired off a press release this week excoriating CNBC for its decision to only allow candidates polling at 3 percent or higher nationally to participate in its prime time Republican presidential candidates debate on Oct. 28; candidates at 1 percent, where Jindal has been stuck since entering the race in 2009 (kidding, kind of) will be relegated to the “under-card” debate. Anderson wants — per earlier remarks made by NBC’s Chuck Todd to the same effect — the main debate participants to be chosen based on their poll numbers in Iowa and New Hampshire, the first two primary states in 2016, rather than based on nationwide polling. Jindal has spent a lot of time in Iowa over the summer, his campaign even boasting in an email last week about how many consecutive days he had spent campaigning in the Hawkeye State.

As CNN reports this week:

CNBC announced Wednesday that candidates must have an average of at least 3% among recognized national polls in order to participate in their primetime debate on Oct. 28. Candidates who can’t clear 3% will be relegated to the undercard debate.

That is a departure from the first two Republican contests, which took the top 10 or 11 candidates for the main stage based on an average of national polls, including some candidates who had less than 3% support.

So Jindal is again left on the outside, at least at this point. (Maybe he can miraculously demagogue elbow his way toward the front over the next few weeks.) The most recent Public Policy Polling survey of Iowa voters had Jindal at 4 percent — that’s 10th out of 16 candidates. (Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who has since dropped out of the race, was even ahead of Jindal at that point.)

“What happened to the notion of measuring candidate progress in the early states of Iowa and New Hampshire? Did they somehow become irrelevant in the last three days?” Jindal adviser Anderson opines in the press release this week, adding, “The genius of our current process is that it forces candidates to run the gauntlet, it forces candidates to actually meet with voters, it forces candidates to prove over time that they have the dexterity to withstand the rigors of winning a general election. That should be the true winnowing process. We do not have a national primary today, so measuring only national polls is absurd and illogical. Other than that, it makes perfect sense.”

Could it get any worse for Jindal? Actually, yes. A poll conducted by The New Orleans Advocate finds Jindal’s approval rating among Louisiana voters at a mere 34 percent — six points lower than President Obama’s approval rating in this reddest of red states — and even shows former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton beating Jindal head-to-head in a hypothetical presidential matchup in Louisiana 45-42 percent. Check it out here.