When we checked in last week, only the five polling front-runners had made the fifth debate. But since then, a Winthrop University survey released on Oct. 1 gave Booker his third qualifying poll (Steyer already had three), and then a Fox News poll released on Sunday gave both Steyer (4 percent support) and Booker (3 percent support) their fourth qualifying poll. Booker’s inclusion is certainly good news for his chances, as he’s often languished behind the front-runners in the polls. As for Steyer, his prodigious ad spending in the early states, along with the groundwork he laid with his pro-impeachment organization Need to Impeach, seems to have really paid dividends. All of Steyer’s qualifying surveys have come from an early state — either South Carolina or Nevada — whereas the other six qualifiers each have at least one national qualifying poll to their name.
To review, the Democratic National Committee’s qualifying criteria require candidates to have four surveys of at least 3 percent in national or early-state polls or to get at least 5 percent support in two polls from the early states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina (under this scenario, polls from the same pollster in the same state count). Candidates also need contributions from 165,000 unique donors (including at least 600 individual donors in at least 20 states).1