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The qualifying criteria for the third Republican debate could mean a smaller field for that October 28 GOP gathering, as CNBC says candidates must get at least 3 percent on average in national polls to be eligible for the main stage in Boulder, Colorado.

CNBC will have two segments – a pre-debate forum for the lower-tier candidates, and then a main debate.

“To appear in the 8pm debate a candidate must have an average of 3% among these polls,” CNBC announced in a statement, setting the first debate for 8 pm ET on October 28.

“Candidates who average below that will be invited to the 6 pm debate,” CNBC announced.

What will that do to the field? Here’s the last six national polls tallied by Real Clear Politics:

It’s easy to see that Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz will qualify.

Then things could get interesting.

John Kasich, Mike Huckabee and Chris Christie are just above and at 3 percent, while Rand Paul has fallen below that.

Meanwhile, Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum, George Pataki and Lindsey Graham would qualify for the pre-debate forum, if they get one poll result at one percent or higher.

Here is the CNBC announcement:

National polls will be used to determine a candidate’s eligibility and placement on the stage. To be eligible to appear in either segment, a candidate must have at least 1% in any one of the methodologically sound and recognized national polls conducted by: NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox, CNN and Bloomberg, released between September 17, 2015 and October 21, 2015.

To appear in the 8pm debate a candidate must have an average of 3% among these polls. The polls will be averaged and will be rounded up to 3% for any candidate with a standing of 2.5% or higher. Candidates who average below that will be invited to the 6pm debate.


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