Republican Presidential candidates wanting a podium on the debate main stage will have to first qualify. CNBC set a 3% polling floor for the upcoming October 28th presidential debate.

There will be an undercard debate, but that too has a polling floor. To qualify for the kiddie table, candidates must have received at least 1% in any one national poll — no averages here.

Poll percentages taken from NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox, CNN and Bloomberg released in the five weeks leading up to the debate will be used to determine qualification.

Politico reports:

Candidates who have an average of 3 percent in polls will be on the primetime, 8p.m. EDT debate stage, CNBC announced on Wednesday. A 2.5 percent average will be rounded up to 3 percent. All other candidates with at least a 1 percent in any poll will be invited to the undercard debate.

According to the most recent polling averages, the main debate stage would feature Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee and Rand Paul, whose 2.75 average would be rounded up to 3. According to the most recent polls, the undercard debate stage if held today would feature Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Gov. George Pataki and former Sen. Rick Santorum, but neither Sen. Lindsey Graham nor former Gov. Jim Gilmore have hit 1 percent in one of the recognized polls.

In recent days several campaigns have lashed out at the RNC and expressed concern the RNC was trying to influence the networks to winnow the field through the debate criteria. In a letter sent this week to RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, the Graham campaign complained that the RNC was breaking their own rules by trying to shrink the candidate pool.

The debate will focus on the economy, jobs, and retirements and will be moderated by CNBC anchors John Harwood, Carl Quintanilla and Becky Quick.

Wednesday marked a vital fundraising deadline for many contenders in the bottom rung of the GOP field. Though no one is willing to concede they’re considering dropping out of the heated primary pack, the finally fundraising tallies may very well result in smaller field.

Follow Kemberlee on Twitter @kemberleekaye


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