Presidential Debate Schedule Announced

The Commission on Presidential Debates has announced the dates and venues for this fall’s Presidential and Vice-Presidential debates:

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will participate in three general election debates from September through October, according to the schedule released Thursday by the nonpartisan organization that sponsors the debates.

The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) announced the first debate will take place on Sept. 26, 2016 at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, while the second and third debates will occur on Oct. 9, 2016 at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, and Oct. 19, 2016 at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas in Las Vegas, Nevada. Though each debate will run from 9-10:30 p.m. E.T. without commercial breaks, debates will also be divided into different time segments lasting 10-15 minutes. This format builds upon the 2012 debates where longer segments allowed candidates to get through the specifics of their policy proposals.

“The CPD has a simple mission, to ensure that presidential debates help the public learn about the positions of the leading candidates for president and vice president,” said the two CPD co-chairs. “These formats will allow an in-depth exploration of the major topics in this year’s election.”

In addition to the three presidential debates, CPD also announced the vice presidential debate will take place on Oct. 4, 2016, at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia. Only moderators will be able to privately select the questions posed to the candidates featured at all of the debates. But, a group of uncommitted voters will have the chance to ask a few questions at the second presidential debate, which is styled like a town-hall meeting.

As in the past, any third-party candidates would need to poll at at least 15% in national polls to be eligible to receive an invitation to any of the debates. At present, that would mean that none of the third-party candidates would qualify for the debates. In a three-way poll, Libertarian Party Presidential nominee and former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson is averaging 7.9% of the vote and his highest polling number since receiving the Libertarian Party nomination being the eleven percent he received in a Pew Research poll in June. In four-way polling that includes Green Party nominee Jill Stein, Johnson averages 6.7% while Stein averages 3.5%, and only Johnson has reached double digits in any recent poll that includes all four candidates. The numbers we’re seeing right now are the best we’ve seen from minor party candidates in quite some time but, for the moment at least, still not sufficient to get to that 15% threshold.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Kylopod says:

    When will Johnson need that 15% by? And according to what polls?

  2. CSK says:

    I read that Jill Stein has offered Bernie Sanders the top of the ticket for the Green Party in the hope that if her supporters join forces with his, they’ll be able to ratchet their numbers up to 15% (or more) so that Sanders can participate in the debate. Stein really loathes Clinton, and has been quite vocal about it.

  3. @Kylopod:

    I would imagine they give more weight to the polls in the month or so before the debate in question but I don’t know for sure.

  4. @CSK:

    Bernie is not going to run under the Green Party banner.

    The best indication of that would be the fact that he will be attending a unity rally with Hillary tomorrow in New Hampshire

  5. Kylopod says:

    @CSK: @Doug Mataconis: Stein is clearly trolling. She knows it’s not going to happen (I’m not even sure it would be possible even if Sanders were to agree to it, since it would require changing the names on the ballots), but she needs to shore up her “being a pain in the Nader” cred. It’s practically a rite of passage for the Greens.

  6. SKI says:

    @CSK: In addition to what Doug said, “Sore Loser Laws” would prevent him from accepting in many states.

  7. SKI says:

    @CSK: In addition to what Doug said, “Sore Loser Laws” would prevent him from accepting in many states.

  8. CSK says:

    @Doug Mataconis: @Kylopod: @SKI:

    Oh, I know. But I’m curious about the degree of Stein’s sincerity or knowledge. Did she really think this could happen, or was she just trolling to no particular end?

  9. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @CSK: Maybe in hopes of getting Sander’s supporters who will consider him a “sell-out” once he supports Hillary?

  10. david doonan says:

    ” … the nonpartisan organization that sponsors the debates”!!!!!!!!

    this “nonpartisan” organization was founded and continues to be controlled by the Democratic Party and the Republican Party.

    Are you really this ignorant?

  11. CSK says:
  12. Tyrell says:

    ” Presidential debate schedule announced” : translation – the debate scripts have been written.
    Third party candidates would have to poll 15% to be included in the debates: and will someone please tell me how they can ever get to that when the news media effectively ignores them ?
    “A selection, not an election”

  13. dmhlt says:

    Background WRT Poll selection per the CPD:

    Under the 2016 criteria, in addition to being Constitutionally eligible, candidates must appear on a sufficient number of state ballots to have a mathematical chance of winning a majority vote in the Electoral College, and have a level of support of at least 15% of the national electorate as determined by five selected national public opinion polling organizations, using the average of those organizations’ most recently publicly-reported results at the time of the determination. The polls to be relied upon will be selected based on the quality of the methodology employed, the reputation of the polling organizations and the frequency of the polling conducted. CPD will identify the selected polling organizations well in advance of the time the criteria are applied.,cntnt01,detail,0&cntnt01articleid=58&cntnt01origid=15&cntnt01detailtemplate=newspage&cntnt01returnid=80

  14. Scott says:

    I, for one, am dreading these debates. Couldn’t stomach more than two of the Republican ones. The Democratic debates were better and more informative but I think that the Presidential debates will sink to the lowest common denominator, namely Trump.

  15. Kylopod says:

    @Scott: While I’m not looking forward to Trump debating Clinton, a Christie-Warren debate could be rather interesting.

  16. June Genis says:

    @dmhlt: Note that they don’t name the polls which will be used which allows them to pick ones that don’t even include Johnson or Stein. You can’t poll 15% if you’re not in the poll.