Third-party candidates are running out of time to make the debates

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Third-Party Candidates Are Unlikely to Make the Debates

The nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates has released the list of polls that it will use to choose which presidential candidates make it to the debate stage. And as expected, it's all bad news for the major third-party candidates.

SEE MORE: The Case For (And Against) Voting Third Party

The commission will determine who takes the debate stage by averaging the candidate's support in five polls: ABC-Washington Post, CBS-New York Times, CNN-Opinion Research Corporation, Fox News and NBC-Wall Street Journal. If a candidate gets more than a 15 percent average in those polls, they earn a spot on the debate stage.

Gary Johnson through the years

Gary Johnson through the years
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Gary Johnson through the years
UNITED STATES - MARCH 3: Gov. Gary Johnson, former Governor of NM, speaks at the American Conservative Union's CPAC conference at National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Md., on Thursday, March 3, 2016. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 26: Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson pretends to have a heart attack on stage while arguing in favor of legalization of marijuana during CPAC in National Harbor, Md., on Feb. 26, 2015. Former Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle, R-N.Y., not pictured, had just argued during their debate that marijuana caused an increased risk of heart attacks. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
ORLANDO, FL - SEPTEMBER 22: Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson speaks in the Fox News/Google GOP Debate at the Orange County Convention Center on September 22, 2011 in Orlando, Florida. The debate featured the nine Republican candidates two days before the Florida straw poll. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
File-This Nov. 3, 2011 file photo shows former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson addressing the 2011 Drug Policy Alliance conference in Los Angeles. On Tuesday, July 1, 2014 it was announced that Johnson had been named the CEO of a Nevada-based company that hopes to make medical and recreational marijuana products. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party candidate for president, addresses an audience of students and the public at Macalester College, Friday, Sept. 21, 2012 in St. Paul, Minn. Johnson, a former two-term New Mexico governor, is on a nationwide college tour as part of his campaign for president. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Republican presidential candidates, from left, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, prepare prior to a debate Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
FILE - In this Sept 23, 2011 file-pool photo, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson speaks in Orlando, Fla. The Libertarian Johnson is running for president a second time after winning more than a million votes in 2012. (AP Photo/Joe Burbank, Pool, File)
Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson announces his plans to seek the Republican nomination for president in front of the Statehouse Thursday, April 21, 2011 in Concord, N.H. Gov. Johnson says he has the resume needed to lead the country. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, shown at the Inn of Loretto, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 1999, in Santa Fe, N.M. Insurance companies that back a ``no pay, no play'' proposal, promoted by Gov. Gary Johnson, say they would save money if uninsured drivers were barred from making big claims. Under the legislation, insurance companies would be required to file new rates taking into account their anticipated savings from the new law in August. (AP Photo/Laura Husar)
Texas Gov. George W. Bush, left, makes a joke about the first time he met New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, right, as he addresses a crowd at a barbecue June 19, 1998, in support of Johnson's re-election campaign in Albuquerque, N.M. (AP Photo/Jake Schoellkopf)
New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson enters the Roswell Convention Center Thursday, July 3, 1997 surrounded by aliens. The governor and his family visited Roswell to participate in the 50th anniversary celebration of eth Roswell incident.(AP Photo/Susan Sterner)

Of the five polls the commission has picked, Green Party nominee Jill Stein's name appears on just two — The Washington Post-ABC News poll and the NBC News-Wall Street Journal Poll. She's polling at around 5 percent in both of those surveys.

Things look a bit better for Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson: His name shows up in four of the five selected polls, and he's hitting up to 12 percent in some of them. But that's still below the 15 percent bar set by the commission to get on the debate stage.

Both candidates are understandably steamed about the situation.

"No way that if you're running for president and you're not in the presidential debates — 100 million people watching the debates — there's no way that you could win," Johnson told Newsy.

And Stein told Newsy: "The public is basically flying blind here, clamoring for something else. They need to know what their other options are."

SEE MORE: Is Voting Third Party A Waste Of Your Vote?

But at this point, there's not much they can do to change things. A last-ditch lawsuit against the commission by both parties was thrown out by a judge earlier this month.

And time's running out: The first presidential debate is scheduled for Sept. 26. But the commission reportedly has made arrangements for a third podium in case Johnson clears the 15 percent hurdle in the next few weeks.

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