Donald Trump, Scott Walker Lead GOP Field Ahead Of First Debate

| by Ethan Brown

Just three days before the first Republican presidential debate will air on Fox News, the latest poll conducted by NBC News and The Wall Street Journal shows businessman Donald Trump continuing to lead the crowded GOP field with his biggest challengers not far behind.

Trump receives 19 percent of voter support in the latest poll, released on Aug. 3. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker places in second with 15 percent and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush finishes in third with 14 percent. Next in line is Ben Carson, who received 10 percent of the vote.

On Aug. 6, Fox News will present two Republican debates — the first at 5 p.m. and the second at 9 p.m. Candidates have been vying to make it to the 9 p.m. debate, as more attention from the media and the public will be cast on the primetime debate than the evening debate four hours earlier. Moreover, Fox News has limited the top 10 highest-ranking candidates in the latest polls to the nighttime debate, leaving the remaining candidates who do not make the cut to debate in the evening slot.

According to the WSJ/NBC News poll, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio will also make it into the 9 p.m. debate based on their polling numbers. The remaining two slots are still up for grabs, as there is currently a three-way tie among New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, all receiving 3 percent of the vote.

The 5 p.m. debate will see the likes of 2010 California Sen. candidate Carly Fiorina, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, former New York Gov. George Pataki and former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore, who just entered the race last week.

More significantly, Trump leads with Republican-leaning independents and maintains good standings with self-identified conservatives and tea partyers.

Of GOP independents, 19 percent support Trump, while he shares the conservative vote with Walker with both receiving 18 percent of the vote. Among tea party voters, Trump ties again with Walker for second with 20 percent support, just behind Cruz with 22 percent.

Sources: NBC News, Business Insider / Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons