As we wrote last week, Bullock and Swalwell were tied for the 20th and final spot in the debate. Based on the first tiebreaker — the average of each candidate’s top three qualifying polls — the candidates were tied at 1 percent. And based on the second tiebreaker — the total number of qualifying polls in which each candidate earned at least 1 percent in support — Bullock and Swalwell each had three. But there was always a question of how one pollster’s surveys would be counted.
Suffolk University — working in partnership with USA Today — presents two sets of percentages in its survey reports, one rounded to the nearest whole number and one rounded to the nearest hundredth of a percent. For candidates struggling to reach 1 percent, knowing which set of numbers the DNC was going to count has huge implications. For instance, Suffolk’s June national poll had Bullock at 0.52 percent but, rounded up, had him at 1 percent. Now we know the DNC has decided to use the whole numbers for debate qualification.