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Christie on track to get bumped from main stage at next GOP debate

<p>It’s looking like Chris Christie may not make the primetime debate stage at next week’s Fox Business Network/Wall Street Journal debate.</p><p>While Fox Business will not officially announce the lineup until Thursday, a new Fox News poll released late Wednesday puts him at 2 percent. That likely means Christie will get bumped to the undercard stage — a big blow for the New Jersey governor, especially because it comes as he appeared to be gaining some traction in the presidential race.</p><p>The latest Fox poll is also potentially bad news for Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and former New York Gov. George Pataki, who look like they might be left out of the event all together.</p><p>The lineup of the debates has been especially fraught — and controversial — for the large GOP field, as the candidates have feared the optics of being relegated to the undercard stage, which has carried various unpleasant monikers, including the &quot;junior varsity debate,&quot; &quot;the happy hour debate,&quot; or the “kids table.&quot;</p><p>And then there’s the prospect of being frozen out completely, as former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore has had to cope with.</p><br><p>Fox Business has not publicly provided the full details of how they’ll determine the lineup for the Nov. 10 event, leaving some uncertainty until the official announcement on Thursday. </p><p>It has set the criteria as follows: Candidates who score 2.5 percent or higher in an average of the four most recent national polls conducted through Nov. 4 will be invited to the main debate stage. To qualify for the undercard debate stage, candidates must score at least 1 percent in one of four most recent national polls conducted through Nov. 4, as recognized by Fox Business.</p><p>Christie is at an average of 2.25 percent in the four most recent national surveys, after earning just 2 percent in Wednesday evening’s Fox poll. The other candidates who were hovering near the cutoff line – Rand Paul, John Kasich and Mike Huckabee – are all at 3 percent or higher, putting them in a safe zone.</p><p>What creates some murkiness is the fact that the network has not specified which polls they will include, though it has said it will use the four most recent, qualifying national polls to determine the debate fields. It has also noted polls &quot;must be conducted by major, nationally-recognized organizations that use standard methodological techniques (i.e., live interviewers, random digit-dial sampling techniques and include both landlines and cell phones).&quot; The four most recent polls are from Fox News, Quinnipiac University, NBC News/Wall Street Journal and CBS News/New York Times.<br /><b> </b><br />Whether the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll is ultimately included, however, is uncertain. But when Fox News hosted the first debate back in August, it excluded poll results from NBC News/Wall Street Journal over concerns about the wording of the horse-race question. If Fox replaces the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, it could instead include one of two surveys conducted over the same time period – Oct. 15-18.</p><br><p>But that would be little consolation for Christie: His 3 percent score in the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll would be swapped out for identical 3-percent showings in one of the other two polls, from ABC News/Washington Post or Monmouth University. That’s not enough to overcome the 2 percent in the new Fox poll or the 1 percent he got in the CBS News/New York Times poll and vault him over the threshold.</p><p>Similarly, Huckabee, Paul and Kasich look safe regardless of what Fox does: They all clear the 3-percent mark with each of the three polls as part of the average.</p><p>But, if Fox decides to exclude the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, which poll they pick instead will matter greatly to Jindal and Pataki. Jindal is at 0 percent in five of the six surveys considered here – except the Monmouth poll, in which he got to 1 percent. Using Monmouth would get Jindal the Louisiana governor into the undercard debate.</p><p>On the other hand, the only poll in which Pataki got to 1 percent was the ABC News/Washington Post survey.</p><p>Both Jindal and Pataki have legitimate claims if the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll is omitted – since the two potential replacement surveys were conducted over the same field dates.</p><p> Fox Business will announce who has made the debate stages Thursday at 7p.m. on Lou Dobbs’ show. </p><br>

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