(WASHINGTON) -- The first Republican Presidential debate is just 10 days away, but the question remains: who will be on stage and who will be watching from home?
Fox News, which is hosting the first debate next Thursday in Cleveland, says that they will include the top 10 candidates from an average of the five most recent national polls. But Fox News isn’t saying which polls they will use to calculate their average, leaving the rest of us to play a guessing game.
We expect several more national polls to come out in the next week and a half — and we will watch as GOP candidates jockey for every last percentage point they can earn.
Getting onto the debate stage in Cleveland is a major first hurdle in the GOP race that will create a stark division between candidates who are in the running and candidates who have minimal support.
WHAT TO KNOW
Getting onto the debate stage in Cleveland is a major first hurdle in the GOP race.
According to an ABC News analysis of five recent major national polls on July 27, eight candidates can likely already book their tickets to the debate. Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and Ben Carson.
Another three candidates are almost certainly going to miss the mark. Carly Fiorina, George Pataki and Lindsey Graham have less than 1 percent support. The six candidates who don’t make the debate will instead participate in a one-hour forum during the afternoon before the debate.
Who's on the Bubble:
But that leaves five candidates who are on the bubble: less than 1 percentage point separates the four candidates between 10th place and 13th place.
Chris Christie and Rick Perry currently hold the last two spots on the debate stage. John Kasich, who just announced his candidacy last week, misses the debate stage by just two-tenths of a percentage point. Rick Santorum and Bobby Jindal are close behind, but still watching from home on Aug. 6. These numbers will move slightly with each new poll that comes out in the next 10 days.
FULL STANDINGS (as of July 27):
1. Trump – 18 percent
2. Bush – 14 percent
3. Walker – 11 percent
4. Rubio – 6 percent
T5. Paul – 6 percent
T5. Cruz – 6 percent
7. Huckabee – 6 percent
8. Carson – 5 percent
9. Christie – 3.0 percent
10. Perry – 2.2 percent
11. Kasich – 2.0 percent
12. Santorum – 1.6 percent
13. Jindal – 1.4 percent
14. Fiorina – 0.8 percent
15. Pataki – 0.6 percent
16. Graham – 0.2 percent
This analysis includes five recent polls: CNN/ORC on July 26; ABC/Post on July 20, Fox News on July 17, Monmouth University on July 13 and USA Today/Suffolk University on July 13. This analysis excludes a poll from PPP, a Democratic polling company, on July 21.
What We Don't Know
There’s still a lot we don’t know. Fox News says that it gets to decide which national polls it will recognize, saying only that they “must be conducted by major, nationally recognized organizations that use standard methodological techniques.”
But there’s more. Will it try to get more precise numbers from polling companies or just use the whole number reported? There’s a big difference between 4.4 percent and 3.5 percent, but both round to 4 percent. Will Fox News round averages to the nearest whole number? To the nearest tenth of a percent? What qualifies as a tie?
What About Ties?
Fox News has also said that, if there is an apparent tie, the news agency will look at more detailed data to determine who is ahead, according to Politico. And if there is an exact tie, they will add an 11th podium to the stage.
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.