Donald Trump Leads In Latest Pre-Debate Poll, Perry Seems Likely To Miss The Debate

Donald Trump leads in the first of the final polls to be released before Thursday's debate.

Donald Trump Speaking Closeup

With just a few days left until the deadline for invitations to Thursday’s debate, a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal puts Donald Trump at the top and seems likely to winnow several otherwise qualified candidates off of the main debate stage:

Days before the first Republican debate, Donald Trump has surged into the national lead in the GOP primary race, with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush following, a new NBC News/ Wall Street Journal poll shows.

Trump is the first choice of 19 percent of GOP primary voters, while 15 percent back Walker and 14 percent back Bush. Ten percent support retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson.

All other Republican candidates earn single digit backing. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is favored by nine percent of primary voters; former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul are tied with six percent support; Florida Sen. Marco Rubio clocks in at five percent; and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Ohio Gov. John Kasich are tied with three percent apiece. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum each have one percent support, and four candidates – former HP head Carly Fiorina, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, former New York Gov. George Pataki and former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore – register less than one percent support.

(…)

Only the top 10 candidates — calculated by an average of the last five major national polls — will be eligible to participate in Thursday’s FOX News debate in primetime, according to the network’s rules. Incorporating the new NBC/WSJ numbers, NBC estimates that the top ten candidates at this time are:

  • Trump – 19.8 percent
  • Walker – 13.2 percent
  • Bush – 13 percent
  • Paul – 6.4 percent
  • Carson – 6.4 percent
  • Rubio – 6.2 percent
  • Huckabee – 5.8 percent
  • Cruz – 5.8 percent
  • Christie – 3.2 percent
  • Kasich – 3.2 percent

Those missing the cut are:

  • Perry – 2.6 percent
  • Santorum – 1.4 percent
  • Jindal – 1.4 percent
  • Fiorina – 0.6 percent
  • Pataki – 0.6 percent
  • Graham- 0.4 percent
  • Gilmore – 0 percent

Politico’s estimate of the debate standings are about the same:

Chris Christie, John Kasich and Rick Perry are fighting for the last two spots on the debate stage — and after a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll Sunday morning, Perry is still most in danger of failing to qualify.

The three candidates are all at 3 percent in the new poll. But according to a Campaign Pro analysis of the five most recent live-caller surveys, Christie and Kasich are tied for ninth place, at 3.2 percent. Perry is outside of the top 10, in 11th place, at 2.6 percent.

The new poll continues to show Donald Trump leading the field. Trump is at 19 percent, followed by Scott Walker at 15 percent. Jeb Bush (14 percent) and Ben Carson (10 percent) are the other two candidates who earn double-digit support.

Walker has nudged in front of Bush in the average of the five most recent polls, putting him in second place behind Trump. In fourth place, both in the new poll and the average, is Ben Carson.

The NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll was conducted July 26-30 by Democratic polling firm Hart Research Associates and Republican polling firm Public Opinion Strategies. The poll included interviews with 252 Republican primary voters and carries a margin of error of plus or minus 6.2 percentage points.

This won’t be the last poll we get before Tuesday’s 5pm deadline. Monmouth University is releasing a poll tomorrow and Fox News is expected to have their own poll out before the deadline as well as that it can be included in the calculations. Additionally, it’s been some time since we’ve seen a poll from CBS News and The New York Times, so it’s possible that we’ll get one from them as well either tomorrow or Tuesday. Notwithstanding the fact that there are more polls to come, though, it seems pretty clear who will be in the main debate and who will be left out. Specifically, the most high profile candidate who seems likely to be relegated to the earlier debate is former Texas Governor Rick Perrry. At this point, he is so far behind John Kaisch and Chris Christie that it seems unlikely that he would get the boost from additional polls that he would need to move up in the average. As for the other candidates that are out of the top ten, there’s virtually no chance that any of them would be able to poll high enough in the two or three polls yet to be released to get into the main debate. And, of course, it is even more unlikely that Donald Trump will drop enough in the poll average to be denied the coveted center stage position on Thursday night.

As for the debate itself, Fox News has released the format for the debate, and it promises to be as uninformative as all of the multi-candidate debates we saw during the 2012 cycle:

With the Fox News debates only one week away, candidates likely to make it to the main stage are beginning to hear some details.

According to two people familiar with the network’s plans, candidates will get one minute to answer each question addressed to them by moderators Megyn Kelly, Chris Wallace and Bret Baier during the program, which begins at 9 p.m. Eastern time on August 6.

Candidates who are called upon will be given only 30 seconds for rebuttals. If a candidate’s name is invoked during someone else’s answer to a question, that candidate will get a chance to respond for a length of time at the moderator’s discretion.

The campaign of one leading candidate believes after communications with Fox executives that there will not be a rigorous attempt to make sure all ten candidates get equal time to speak. Fox strongly contested that assertion in a statement issued Friday.

“As we have communicated to the all the campaigns, we will work to give candidates equal time during the 5PM/ET and 9PM/ET debates, just as we have done in the past,” FOX Executive Vice President Michael Clemente said. “Any indication otherwise is flat wrong.”

One minute for an answer and thirty seconds for rebuttal is, of course, not a sufficient amount of time for any of these candidates to provide anything other than a sound bite answer to any question that they are asked or any attack on them by another. In reality, of course, it will be the case that many candidates will go over their time and it will be difficult for the moderators to really control the debate or discipline candidates who go over their allotted time. Additionally, because of the nature of the forum it’s likely that most of the time will end up going to the candidates near the top of the field such as Trump, Walker, Bush, Rubio, and the others. While John Kaisch and Chris Christie may make it into the debate, they probably won’t end up getting as much air time as the leading candidates. In the end, the “winner” or “loser” of the debate will be determined by who got off the best one-liners rather than any objective evaluation of the answers they actually gave. It will, in other words, be largely a waste of time except for the entertainment value, which is likely to be enhanced by the presence of a candidate who has a long history of speaking without a filter. Personally, I recommend watching the entire fiasco with your favorite adult beverage.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2016, Public Opinion Polls, US Politics, , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Argon says:

    Perry Seems Likely To Miss The Debate

    Oops.

  2. michael reynolds says:

    Too bad, I had hopes for Perry after he unloaded on Trump. He’s an absolute moron and I’d love to see him bump Kasich. Two people I did not want to see make it to the stage: Kasich and Fiorina. I’m hoping Fox is reading different polls.

  3. Scott F. says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Fox has never said which polls they will use and they’ve got their own poll coming out this week. Fox will choose who they want for the 9 and 10 spots.

  4. Scott F. says:

    From the debate format excerpt:

    If a candidate’s name is invoked during someone else’s answer to a question, that candidate will get a chance to respond for a length of time at the moderator’s discretion.

    Fox has created a disincentive for going after Trump by name. It will be interesting to see if the other candidates will manage to resist the temptation.

  5. Gustopher says:

    At some point, Trump is going to shift from running for President as a publicity stunt to thinking he could actually win this thing. I am so excited.

  6. Tillman says:

    I’m considering shrooms for this. Something to make signal out of the noise. I mean, there’s no “debate” to be had, it’s all signaling at this very early junction like two (or in this case ten) stags circling around each other before the climactic headbutt.

  7. charon says:

    @Gustopher:

    I think he has been in the lead long enough for that to have already happened, so I doubt he plans to go away any time soon.

  8. Trump has started staffing up even more than he already had been, especially in Iowa and New Hampshire. Rumor has it that one of the people advising him behind the scenes is Roger Stone Jr., who has been in and out of Republican politics since the days of Nixon. I think he really does think he can win.

    Also, as I’ve said before, I don’t think hes going to get out any time soon. There’s no sign that his rhetoric is going to start hurting him at any point in the near future and, since he is largely self-funding, he doesn’t have the same financial pressures that usually cause candidates to drop out of a race.

  9. michael reynolds says:

    @Gustopher:

    At some point, Trump is going to shift from running for President as a publicity stunt to thinking he could actually win this thing. I am so excited.

    I know!

    Greatest game ever.

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Perry – 2.6 percent
    Santorum – 1.4 percent
    Jindal – 1.4 percent
    Fiorina – 0.6 percent
    Pataki – 0.6 percent
    Graham- 0.4 percent
    Gilmore – 0 percent

    Pre debate wager: Which of the above will be the first to release an unskewed poll? I’m going with Fiorina. She’s still unskewing the numbers from her time at HP.

  11. Tillman says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    …since he is largely self-funding, he doesn’t have the same financial pressures that usually cause candidates to drop out of a race.

    He’s only too happy to remind the other candidates of this.

  12. Kylopod says:

    @Doug Mataconis: The thing is, though, he’s not likely to stay at the top of the polls forever. Remember all the “surge” candidates in 2011? Heck, Trump himself was one of them. He never actually entered the race, but he did enjoy a period of high-polling numbers, which finally collapsed after the near-simultaneous release of Obama’s long-form birth certificate and the death of Osama Bin Laden–and that’s when Trump announced he wasn’t running.

    Remember, also, that one of the things which killed the candidacies of Gingrich and Santorum was the ads reminding voters that neither of them had exactly been ideologically pure right-wingers (they both had supported an individual mandate, for example). I wonder how long Trump’s support will last after a lot of attention is given to stuff like his having supported “Canadian-style health care” or having donated to more Democrats than Republicans. But it almost feels like a lot of the Republicans don’t want to burst the Trump bubble just yet.

  13. michael reynolds says:

    Trump, Walker, Carson, Cruz, Huckabee and Jindal are the incoherent rage candidates, the favorites of people whose carefully thought-out policy position is: Grrrrr!

    They now have over half the vote. The only one of those even remotely capable of actually holding any sort of office is Walker.

    Or cut it a different way and add up the totals for the candidates absolutely no sane person would ever allow near the levers of power, Trump, Carson, Cruz, Huckabee, Santorum, Jindal and you’ve got 46% of Republicans currently supporting a fraud, a lunatic, an idiot, or all of the above.

    If she weren’t so lazy Palin could jump in at any time. How great would that be?

  14. stonetools says:

    Trump looks like he is going all out. I hope he does the full monty and goes third party. He will certainly be entertaining in the debates. Speaking of frank talk , the Obama Administration seems to be in full DGAF mode:

    White House spokesman Josh Earnest belittled Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas as an “international man of mystery” Thursday following the lawmaker’s claim to have uncovered a secret side deal of the Iranian nuclear accord while on a mission to Europe – information Mr. Earnest contended was readily available on the Internet.

    “I hope that Senator Cotton had a pleasant trip to Vienna, but his travel was not necessary to learn the information he claims to have obtained,” said Mr. Earnest, dubbing the freshman senator “Tom Cotton, international man of mystery” – a reference to the 1997 Austin Powers movie about a goofy, hipster secret agent.
    According to the transcript, Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters, “The documents that Senator Cotton claims to have learned of during his trip to Vienna were actually documents that were previously discussed in material that we put forward some time earlier. So the fact is, Senator Cotton didn’t really learn of anything in Vienna that wasn’t already available to be learned, and this is information that was disclosed on the IAEA website.”

    Obama isn’t even trying to hide his disdain for the Republicans these days. It’s clowns all-around- in the Senate, in the House, and running for President. It would be funny if it weren’t so downright dangerous to have these guys in government.

  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @michael reynolds:

    The only one of those even remotely capable of actually holding any sort of office is Walker.

    Uhhh, Michael? Cruz and Jindal currently hold office. By definition, they are capable.

  16. michael reynolds says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    In Texas and Louisiana. I did specify “sane.”

  17. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @michael reynolds:

    the candidates absolutely no sane person would ever allow near the levers of power, Trump, Carson, Cruz, Huckabee, Santorum, Jindal and you’ve got 46% of Republicans currently supporting a fraud, a lunatic, an idiot, or all of the above.

    Oh and, Cruz, Huckabee, Santorum, and Jindal HAVE been and CONTINUE TO BE allowed near the levers of power, Trump has his hands on (by his accounting) $10 Billion worth of power, and even Carson has had the power of life and death over many of his patients. So it would seem to me that the sane people aren’t in charge of this process.

  18. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @michael reynolds: Seems our “sanity” posts crossed. 😉

  19. xxx says:

    puts Donald Trump at the top and seems likely to winnow several otherwise qualified candidates off of the main debate stage:

    Those missing the cut are:
    ◾Perry – 2.6 percent
    ◾Santorum – 1.4 percent
    ◾Jindal – 1.4 percent
    ◾Fiorina – 0.6 percent
    ◾Pataki – 0.6 percent
    ◾Graham- 0.4 percent
    ◾Gilmore – 0 percent

    So where are those “qualified candidates” that Doug was mourning?

  20. edmondo says:

    Perry Seems Likely To Miss The Debate

    Based on his previous debate performances, won’t that make his polling numbers go up?

  21. C. Clavin says:

    Fox News is running the show…and Trump is the man.
    And everyone is busy auditioning for the Koch Brothers to see which candidate will be the one bought.

  22. HarvardLaw92 says:

    If I had ordered a clown bus from central casting, I’m not sure they could have produced results that would have been any more entertaining than the one above promises to be. Popcorn futures will soon be soaring 😀

    Poor Reince Priebus must be eating Prevacid by the handful at this point. I (almost) feel sorry for him.

  23. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: And your point is…

    (Sorry, I couldn’t resist the snark temptation.)

  24. grumpy realist says:

    It also looks like the Kochs are telling Trump: “no, you can’t have our data” from their grass-roots polling organization.

    I wonder if the Republicans have realized that they now are stuck between Scylla and Charybdis–they either get gobbled up by the Koch machine, or Trump becomes their standard-bearer.

    I’ll root for injuries….

  25. Franklin says:

    @Scott F.: Geez, with that rule, couldn’t two candidates team up and just keep referencing each other? But which two?