While they may not be the most accurate source, polls make an impact on how the American people vote. Whether it be in a primary or in a general election. It's the polls that determine who is a front runner, who is a dark horse, who is a long shot, and everything else in between. Polls are what encourage people to conform to a candidate who has a chance and dismiss a candidate that "seems" to have absolutely no chance. The reason it "seems" they have no chance is because they've been dismissed. Just like anything else, the only time anything is impossible is if you say and confirm that it's impossible. Otherwise, anything is possible (of course, unless it's something that falls under the category as being ridiculous). The U.S. Presidential Election of 2012 is no different. You have your front runners and you have your candidates that aren't as heavily known. However, anybody has a chance to win and anybody should deserve that chance.
At the moment we speak, the front runners include Mitt Romney and the up and rising Michele Bachmann. We knew about Romney from the 2008 election and how he was a front runner from the time he entered until Super Tuesday, when he withdrew because he was unable to keep up with eventual Republican nominee John McCain. We also know about his governorship when he was governor of Massachusetts. As for Bachmann, she's a representative from Minnesota, who is a driving force for the Tea Party. We have only begun to hear about her. However, there are a lot of things that help her stand out. Besides being the only female in the race (which to me plays no effect in the way I vote), she is also from Iowa and a representative in the state north of Iowa. That, along with her all-around conservative views, make her a strong candidate. Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina are the big players in determining the Republican nominee. Iowa could very well be hers if she plays everything right.
Let's get back to polling. These polls have really given these candidates the spotlight to stand out. Then you have Newt Gingrich, Tim Pawlenty, and Rick Santorum, who are beginning to lag, despite being given plenty of opportunity to shine. With Ron Paul, it took him most of the 2008 election to stand out and earn the recognition he deserves. Then, you have candidates that don't get the recognition they deserve, such as Buddy Roemer, Fred Karger, and especially Gary Johnson. Despite being excluded in recent polls and from CNN's first debate of the primary season, Johnson has polled in around the same numbers as Rick Santorum and Jon Huntsman Jr. when he has been included in the polls. While polls shouldn't matter, they do. This is because polls not only influence the public's view, they also make up a portion of who is and isn't allowed to participate in the debates. Roemer and Karger have already been excluded and will probably continue to be excluded from debates, as Johnson has been excluded once and could continue to be excluded if he continues to not be included in polls. Libertarian Republicans, such as Johnson and Paul, have been excluded on several occasions, yet are beginning to make an impact on the votes.
The next point to make is this. Why are candidates who are not in the race being included in polls that matter? There are many polls that include Sarah Palin, Rick Perry, Rudy Giuliani, Chris Christie, and many others. These candidates have not entered the race and we don't know whether or not they will enter. As far as I'm concerned, they should be featured in the "other" category until they declare that they actually are entering the race. Plus for the record, Christie has more than confirmed that he will not be running in 2012. I think he would make a great candidate and a great president, but he has other business he needs to take care of in New Jersey. Palin was considered a front runner since the end of the 2008 elections, but with Bachmann now in the race, this may simply split the vote. Also, Palin lags the most in polls against incumbent Barack Obama.
When organizing a poll, the organizers should have to include every current candidate (those who are running in enough states to win the election of course), and then include an "other" category if they want someone who has yet to enter, and an "undecided" if they have yet to decide. If they want to include polls with other candidates, they could do that as well, but this given plan should be the plan that organizers look at when they need to determine who should be able to participate in the debates. Of course, name recognition plays a big part, but that comes naturally.
Every candidate who enters a race should have the opportunity to win the election they enter. A primary is no different. You already have the name recognition and the results in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina that make an impact as to who is seen as the grand candidate in the Republican primaries at the very least. With that being the case, why don't you simply restructure your polling in order to give every candidate the opportunity to be recognized.
For the record, I will not confirm the candidate I will be endorsing for the primaries at this moment. I have a short list of whom I like most, but I need to strongly think about my decision. Regardless who I support, my reviews of the debates will remain unbiased and my grades will be based off of how clear the answers were and how well they performed in the debate.