Viewers can watch the first Republican primary presidential debate live online and see if surprise frontrunner Donald Trump holds up under the pressure of other seasoned politicians.
Trump is headlining a slate of Republican hopefuls assembled by Fox News for the first debate of the 2016 presidential cycle. The network looked at polls to come up with a roster of 10 candidates, with Trump, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker leading the way.
Other debate participants include: former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee; retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson; Texas Sen. Ted Cruz; Florida Sen. Marco Rubio; Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul; New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie; and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
The debate starts at 9 p.m. ET on Thursday, with a separate debate at 5 p.m. for candidates ranking lower on national polls.
But those who watch the Republican primary presidential debate live online will be missing a couple of other big names. Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum did not rank high enough on polls to make the cut, and will instead join the second tier of candidates at the earlier debate.
Though there are a number of established politicians, all eyes appear to be on Donald Trump leading up to the Republican presidential debate. The real estate magnate has again jumped into the presidential election, though this time instead of being a minor player he has surged to the top of many polls.
Though some see his candidacy as something of a joke, Republicans appear to be taking Trump very seriously. A poll from Reuters/Ipsos showed that most Republicans believe Trump will have a positive influence on Thursday’s presidential debate.
Many rank-and-file Republicans see Trump’s blunt and unpredictable style as an asset. More than two-thirds agreed that his debate appearance would challenge the establishment, while 62 percent said it would lead to more honesty, and 61 percent said it would open the party to new ideas.
The poll found about half of Republicans thought Trump’s presence meant something offensive would be said, while 42 percent believed he would add comedy to an otherwise boring event. Thirty-two percent thought he would make a mockery of the political process.
The inclusion of Donald Trump could also be good for Fox News. The poll found that 37 percent of all voters were more likely to watch the debate simply because he is in it.
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