The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Donald Trump is now essentially guaranteed a spot on the debate stage

Donald Trump shouldn't be excoriating Univision on Twitter. He should be thanking them.

On June 30, Trump was at 4.2 percent in the Real Clear Politics polling average, good enough for eighth place. In our assessment of who would and wouldn't make the stage at the upcoming Fox News debate -- calculated by averaging the five most recent national polls -- Trump was on the bubble. Maybe in, maybe out.

Then Univision called him out for his anti-immigrant comments about Mexicans at his presidential announcement. In the new Fox poll released on Thursday, the Trump surge that resulted continues. His RCP average is now 15 percent -- half a point shy of the leader, Jeb Bush. And given that there have been only three polls taken this month and that the Fox debate is on August 6, there's basically no chance that enough new polls can emerge showing Trump doing badly enough that he won't make the top ten.

Here's our assessment, as it stands right now.

Alert! For the first time since we started doing this in late May, there's a change in the top ten. Rick Perry has dropped out of the top ten, and Rick Santorum has made the cut. (So zero net change on the first names on the stage. (If this is what it looks like in August, with a candidate left out because of a 0.1 percent difference, you can expect a lot of fury from the left-out parties.)

But back to Trump, he said with a sigh.

Since Fox News' June survey, Trump and Scott Walker are the only leading candidates to see an improvement. (On the chart below, anything outside of the gray area is a net plus for the candidate.) Jeb Bush dropped; Ben Carson dropped more.

So where did Trump's gains come from? All over the place. On the graphs below, Trump's is the largest, hugest, classiest, most luxurious dot. He picked up 15 points with people earning under $50,000 a year, 12 points with men, 13 points with evangelicals. No doubt to the massive frustration of Ted Cruz, Trump even gained 8 points with conservatives, despite holding some ... not conservative views.

For Trump to not make the stage at this point, one of the following things would have to happen.

1) Trump drops out.
2) Trump's poll numbers crumple and there are five new polls that reflect it. (Even if Trump loses all support in the next four polls, his average would be 3.6 points -- certainly enough to make the cut.)
3) Fox bars him on a technicality. Given that Fox is in the ratings business, that seems unlikely.

So that's about it. Look forward to Donald Trump on your television next month. Maybe he will say his catchphrase, "I suddenly appear to possibly be a viable candidate for the presidency!" Everyone loves that line.

Since Donald Trump announced his presidential bid, he's drawn plenty of controversy and outrage for his comments. Here are some of the key moments. (Video: The Washington Post)