It will take into account polls conducted between Oct. 29 and Dec. 13. Each candidate must reach an average of at least 3.5% support in national polls, 4% in Iowa, or 4% in New Hampshire. Based on those criteria, nine candidates out of the 14 still in the race currently qualify: Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, John Kasich, Rand Paul, Carly Fiorina, and Chris Christie.
CNN will host another debate earlier in the evening for those who don’t qualify for the main stage. The criteria for the first debate will be less stringent, requiring candidates to receive just 1% support in four separate national, Iowa, or New Hampshire polls recognized by the network.
The CNN Republican debate will be moderated by Wolf Blitzer with guest questioners Dana Bash, a chief political correspondent for CNN, and Hugh Hewitt, a Salem Radio Network talk show host.