We now know who’s in and who’s out of the Fox News debate and forum, based on the network's calculations drawn from an exaltation of polls defining the Republican field of candidates. Quibble with the details if you will, the upside for Fox News in using this method is that it is data-driven. It’s hard to argue with numbers, and the polls used by Fox show remarkable consistency.
Maybe the candidates assigned to the smaller forum—former Texas Governor Rick Perry, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, and former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore—will be sanguine. And there are grounds for arguments. The idea that a fraction of 1 percentage point could seal the fate of candidates polling near the 10th-place mark—as was the case for Perry or Santorum—will likely lead to second-guessing the method.