More than 70 percent of voters approve of the first GOP primary debate set up, where the top 10 candidates are on a separate debate stage as the other seven candidates, according to a new poll.
In roughly 30 hours, seven GOP presidential candidates will participate in Fox News’ candidate forum at 5 PM Thursday evening, followed by the top ten candidates taking to the prime time debate stage at 9 PM.
Some conservatives have opposed not having all candidates on one stage. Conservative radio host Bill Bennett previously told Breitbart News, “I would say that most of my audience would prefer to have all the GOP candidates on one stage, at least for the first debate. They don’t think we should be excluding certain candidates this early in the primary.”
“I agree with them,” Bennett told Breitbart News. “At least for the first debate or two, we should give all the candidates a chance to make their case before a national audience. If we do, I think the debate should be at least two hours long.”
However, a new Bloomberg Politics poll shows that 71 percent of people support the debate format chosen by Fox News and the Republican National Committee, while only 24 percent disapprove of the separate debate stages.
The top ten candidates announced using the average of five national polls are:
- Donald Trump
- Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush
- Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker
- Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee
- Ben Carson
- Ted Cruz (R-TX)
- Marco Rubio (R-FL)
- Rand Paul (R-KY)
- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie
- Ohio Gov. John Kasich
The following candidates have the opportunity to participate in the earlier debate forum at 5 PM eastern Thursday.
- Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry
- Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum
- Carly Fiorina
- Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal
- Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
- Former New York Gov. George Pataki
- Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore
Former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina posted on Facebook her reaction to the announcement by Fox News — including a shout out to Breitbart readers who have supported Fiorina’s campaign.
“I look forward to answering questions on Thursday in Cleveland,” she wrote. “I continue to be encouraged by the support of conservative activists and grassroots Republicans across the country–even just today from the readers of PJMedia and Breitbart. They know we need someone from outside the political class if we want America back in the leadership business.”
Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry posted on Twitter following the announcement:
I look forward to being @FoxNews 5pm debate for what will be a serious exchange of ideas & positive solutions to get America back on track.
— Rick Perry (@GovernorPerry) August 4, 2015
Sen. Lindsey Graham posted on Twitter, calling the 5 PM forum the “Happy Hour” debate and taking a dig at Donald Trump, who he has sparred with in recent weeks: