BOW, N.H. -- This is not quite a rhetorical question. WMUR et al have released the standards to qualify in tonight's Republican debate.
In order for a candidate to meet the standard of eligibility to participate in the debate, they must either:
1) Achieve 5 percent or higher in a poll of likely NH Republican primary voters conducted by UNH Survey Center, Harvard/Saint Anselm NHIOP, or any polling organization on the list below, conducted between Nov. 1, 2011 and Jan. 6, 2012;- OR -
2) Achieve 5 percent or higher in a primary trial heat of registered Republican voters in any of the national polls designated on the list below, conducted between Nov. 1, 2011 and Jan. 6, 2012;- OR -
3) Place first, second or third in the Iowa Republican caucuses.
Polling organizations include: ABC News, AP, Bloomberg, CBS, CNN, FOX, Gallup, NBC News, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post
If you check the RCP omnibus of polls, you'll find that Perry has not cracked 5 percent in New Hampshire since an NBC News/Marist poll in October. Check the Iowa caucus results, and you'll notice that Perry came in fifth place. He only makes the debate because he's been above 5 percent in some national polls -- polls that have no bearing on who will win primary states. (For reference, see Rick Santorum's pre-caucus national numbers.)