Carly Fiorina was the undisputed star of the “happy hour” Republican debate last Thursday. It gave her a boost, as well as some much-needed name recognition, prompting speculation and conservative hope about her inclusion in the next primetime debate.
However, polling has not reflected this bump — at least, not the polling that counts. CNN uses different criteria than the Fox News Channel in assigning the candidates to the two debates; CNN takes the average of significantly more polls than Fox uses. In Fiorina’s case, this results in a far lower average, sending her directly to the kid’s table.
To counteract this low score, she’d have to increase her polling numbers across the board, garnering much more public approval and lengthening her post-debate boost. However, her recent statements on vaccinating children seem to indicate both a lack of a game plan, as well as a concerning scarcity of political savvy.
In Iowa, Fiorina made comments supporting parents’ rights to choose whether to vaccinate their children, while also contending that public schools can ban non-vaccinated children from attending.
First of all, Fiorina’s wishy-washy answer to a hot-button (and very predictable) question displays a lack of political agility on her part, as well as poor planning and preparation from her staff. She doesn’t really seem to come down anywhere, sort of supporting parents’ choice (which she knows Iowans want to hear), but also standing by public schools’ rights to deny access to potentially infectious children. Her stance is unclear.
Her decision to go down the parents’ choice path is a confusing one anyway. As evidenced in this poll, two-thirds of the American public say that children should be required to be vaccinated. In addition, even a majority of Republicans (64%) support mandatory vaccinations.
Fiorina’s stance on this issue is vague, confusing and dreadfully out of touch with majority opinion, both in general and in her own party. This amateurish fumble does not bode well for her future debate (or presidential) prospects.
Kate Riga is a junior in the College. Panem et Circenses appears every other Saturday