DNC Announces Qualification Criteria For New Hampshire Democratic Presidential Primary Debate

The DNC and ABC today released the qualification criteria for participation in the eighth Democratic presidential primary debate, which will air on ABC, in partnership with WMUR-TV and Apple News.  There will be two pathways to qualification for the New Hampshire debate. To qualify for the New Hampshire debate stage, candidates may qualify either by (1) meeting a delegate threshold based on the results of the Iowa caucuses, or (2) by meeting both a polling requirement and a grassroots fundraising requirement.  Qualifying polls for the New Hampshire debate will include national polling and polling in New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. A candidate’s support in Iowa will be reflected through the results of the Iowa caucus instead of Iowa-specific polling. The deadline for qualifying polls and donations is February 6 at 11:59 P.M. Eastern Time. 

The official threshold rules are below:


To qualify for the February 7, 2020 Democratic presidential primary debate in New Hampshire (“New Hampshire Debate”), candidates must meet the “Delegate Threshold” or the “Alternate Threshold,” as detailed below.

  1. Delegate Threshold. To meet the Delegate Threshold for the New Hampshire Debate, candidates must have been allocated at least one pledged delegate to the Democratic National Convention (“National Convention Delegate”) from the state of Iowa based on the results of the February 3rd, 2020 Iowa caucuses, as reported and calculated by the Iowa Democratic Party.
  2. Alternate Threshold. To meet the Alternate Threshold for the New Hampshire Debate, candidates must meet the Polling Requirement and the Grassroots Fundraising Threshold as detailed below.

Polling Requirement. To meet the Polling Requirement for the New Hampshire Debate, candidates must meet either the “Four-Poll Threshold” or the “Early State Polling Threshold” as described below:

  • Four-Poll Threshold. Receive 5% or more support in at least four polls (which may be national polls, or single-state polls in New Hampshire, South Carolina, and/or Nevada) meeting the Qualifying Poll Criteria described below.  To meet the Four-Poll Threshold, each one of a candidate’s four qualifying polls must be sponsored by different Qualifying Poll Sponsors, or if by the same Qualifying Poll Sponsor, must be in different geographical areas.
  • Early State Polling Threshold. Receive 7% or more support in two single-state polls in New Hampshire, South Carolina and/or Nevada that meet the Qualifying Poll Criteria described below. To meet the Early State Polling Threshold, any candidate’s two qualifying polls may be in the same or different geographical areas and from the same or different Qualifying Poll Sponsors.

For a poll to be counted towards the Four-Poll Threshold or Early State Polling Threshold, it must meet each of the four requirements described below (“Qualifying Poll Criteria”):

  • Each poll must be sponsored by one of the following 15 entities or pairs of entities (“Qualifying Poll Sponsors”): Associated Press; ABC News/Washington Post; CBS News/YouGov; CNN; Fox News; Monmouth University; NPR/PBS Newshour/Marist; NBC News/Wall Street Journal; NBC News/Marist; New York Times/Siena College; Nevada Independent/Mellman Group; Quinnipiac University; University of New Hampshire; USA Today/Suffolk University; Winthrop University. For individual entities that are included only in Qualifying Poll Sponsor pairs but are not listed individually, independent polling by such individual entities or polling conducted in new partnerships with such individual entities shall not meet the Qualifying Poll Criteria.  The DNC reserves the right to add a Nevada-specific poll sponsor and/or a South Carolina-specific poll sponsor to this list in the near future.
  • Each poll must be publicly released between December 13, 2019 and 11:59 P.M. Eastern Time on February 6, 2020.
  • 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 Qualifying Poll Sponsor, whether or not it is a rounded or weighted number.

Grassroots Fundraising Threshold. To meet the Grassroots Fundraising Threshold, candidates must submit a certification, executed by the candidate’s campaign Treasurer, by 9:00 AM Eastern Time on February 7, 2020, demonstrating that the campaign has received donations from at least (1) 225,000 unique donors; and (2) a minimum of 1,000 unique donors per state in at least 20 U.S. states, U.S. territories, or the District of Columbia. Qualifying donations must be received by 11:59 P.M. Eastern Time on February 6, 2020. An acceptable certification must provide or attach adequate verifiable evidence to show that the fundraising threshold has been reached and may include verification from ActBlue or NGP VAN regarding the campaign’s fundraising.