Fox Business debate: Christie may be bumped from main stage

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Chris Christie is likely to be relegated to the undercard round of the next Republican primary debate, and Bobby Jindal and George Pataki may not qualify for the debate at all, following a new national poll from Fox News.

Fox Business Network, the sponsor of the November 10 debate, has said that candidates must have an average of at least 2.5% in the four most recent national polls conducted through November 4 in order to participate in the prime time debate at 8 p.m., and at least 1% in one of those polls to participate in the 6 p.m. undercard.

Christie garnered just 2% in a Fox News poll released on Wednesday night, which is likely to be the last poll before the window closes at midnight. In the previous three polls -- from Quinnipiac, NBC News/Wall Street Journal, and CBS/New York Times -- he earned just 3%, 3% and 1%, respectively, for an average of 2.25%.

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Meanwhile, Jindal and Pataki failed to garner 1% in the Fox News poll, and failed to garner 1% in the previous three polls from Quinnipiac, NBC News/WSJ and CBS/NYT. By Fox Business' previously stated standards, that would exclude them from participating in either debate on November 10.

Nothing is official until Fox Business Network announces the official lineups, which it has said it will do on Thursday night at 7 p.m. ET during "Lou Dobbs Tonight."

There are some important variables to consider: Fox Business could include a recent International Business Times poll that was conducted more recently than the CBS/NYT poll. That wouldn't change anything for Christie, who also scored just 1% in that poll, or Pataki, who scored 0%. But it could change things for Jindal, who scored 2%.

Fox Business could also choose to discount the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, because it did not include the names of the undercard candidates: Jindal, Pataki, Lindsey Graham and Rick Santorum. That still wouldn't change anything for Christie or Jindal, but it could benefit Pataki, who received 1% in that poll. Fox News did not include a NBC/WSJ poll in choosing the lineup for the first GOP debate in August.

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The other thing that could happen is Fox Business could announce a last-minute change to its criteria, though there is no indication that it plans to do so.

A Christie spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment. Spokespeople for the Jindal and Pataki campaigns declined to comment until the official lineup was released on Thursday night.

Meanwhile, both Rand Paul and Mike Huckabee received 4% support in the Fox News poll, and look set to participate in the main debate, despite being at risk of relegation going into Wednesday night.

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