Fox Business has announced which candidates have made the cut for its next Republican debate on Tuesday — and the primetime stage will be less crowded.
Only eight candidates will appear in primetime, down from 10 at the last debate. These candidates are Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina, John Kasich, and Rand Paul (who just barely made the cut).
Two candidates will be demoted to the earlier undercard debate — Chris Christie and Mike Huckabee. Both (barely) failed to average 2.5 percent support in the four most recent national polls, which was the cutoff Fox used.
The undercard is getting a shake-up too. Christie and Huckabee will be joined there by just two other candidates — Rick Santorum and Bobby Jindal. Meanwhile, two candidates who were in every undercard debate so far — Lindsey Graham and George Pataki — missed the cut, because they failed to hit 1 percent or above in any one of those four most recent national polls. Jim Gilmore also failed to qualify.
The decision to exclude Graham seems a bit odd, because one of the four polls Fox used — the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll — didn't even offer Graham's name (or Pataki's, Jindal's, Santorum's, or Gilmore's) as an option for every respondent. This is how the question was asked — those names were only mentioned if the respondent said he or she wanted to vote for "one of the other candidates."
Indeed, Fox News deliberately excluded the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll from its average when determining the lineup for its August debate, for this exact reason. If Fox Business had similarly excluded that poll this time around and included the most recent poll before it, Graham would have qualified — and Huckabee would have made the main stage.
The primetime debate will be Tuesday at 8 pm, on the Fox Business Network. The earlier segment will be at 6 pm. This will be the fourth GOP debate so far.