Only six GOP candidates likely to make next debate stage

According to debate criteria that will be announced Tuesday, host Fox Business Network will consider both early-state and national poll results in deciding which candidates make the primetime forum. That main debate will feature candidates who place in the top six nationally, based on an average of the five most recent national polls recognized by Fox News, or place within the top five based on an average of the five most recent Iowa or New Hampshire state polls recognized by the network.

The polls being considered must be released prior to Monday, Jan. 11 at 6p.m. ET. and be conducted by major nationally and state recognized organizations that use standard methodological techniques, such as live interviewers and random digit-dial sampling techniques using both landlines and cell phones.

There’s no limit on the number of candidates on the main stage. But according to POLITICO calculations based on only the national polling available as of Tuesday, the primetime debate stage would include Donald Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz, Sen. Marco Rubio, Dr. Ben Carson, former Gov. Jeb Bush and Gov. Chris Christie. The early state polling wouldn’t change the lineup as of Tuesday, according to POLITICO calculations of Iowa and New Hampshire polls.