By Jack Linshi
August 2, 2015

Donald Trump continues to lead the Republican primary field for the 2016 presidential nomination just days before the leading candidates debate for the first time, according to results from a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released on Sunday.

The poll found that Trump was the first choice for 19% of Republican primary voters, surging ahead of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker with 15% and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush with 14%. Trump’s lead, according to the Journal, is a “significant” jump from the previous WSJ/NBC poll conducted in June, when only 1% of surveyed Republicans had picked him as their first choice — a triumph many have attributed to the buzz surrounding Trump’s flurry of controversies.

Only the 10 candidates with the highest averages across the last five national polls will be eligible to participate on Thursday’s inaugural GOP debate on Fox News. Although the precise averaging method is not yet known, NBC estimated that the top ten candidates as of Sunday — in addition to Trump, Walker and Bush — are Sen. Rand Paul, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, Sen. Marco Rubio, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sen. Ted Cruz, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

Firmly atop the national polls, the real state mogul also took the opportunity on Sunday morning to take a jab at some of his fellow GOP candidates, who attended an event on Saturday hosted by a group affiliated with multibillionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch:

The WSJ/NBC poll, whose full results will be released on Monday, was conducted between July 26 and July 30. The margin of error for 252 surveyed GOP primary voters is ±6.17%.

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