Donald Trump is currently leading the Republican field of candidates.
In a new Washington Post/ABC poll, Trump has 24 percent of support among Republicans.
"These poll numbers seem to reflect not so much supporting him, as it is people recognizing his name and him being in the forefront of their thoughts," said Tim Nokken, associate professor of Political Science at Texas Tech.
Only the top 10 candidates, based on an average of national polls, will be invited to the first debate.
"The first ten who reach the debate will definitely have an advantage, but I wouldn't discount the other candidates who reach a second tier type of debate," said Lubbock County Republican Party Chair Carl Tepper.
"I think it'll create a lot of opportunities for candidates to try to figure out, 'how can I remain in the spotlight even if I'm not invited to the debate?'" Nokken said.
Trump's lead is in jeopardy after comments about Sen. John McCain, a Vietnam prisoner of war. Trump refused to call the senator a war hero.
"Clearly that kind of statement is not going to garner a lot of support, especially among conservative voters," Nokken said.
Trump has received backlash from both sides of the aisle, with other presidential candidates demanding he apologize.
"[McCain] was beaten, he was tortured. He went through a lot of things for this country. Donald Trump has never served a day in uniform," said Stuart Williams with the group Lubbock for Hillary. "He owes the senator an apology, and I don't think he's going to get one."
So will Trump retain his prominence in the polls?
"He's one of these candidates that come on the scene and generate lots of heat and light in the moment, but I don't think he's got staying power," Nokken said.
Other Republican candidates have also dismissed Trump as a legitimate candidate.
"In my view the Democratic process is going to lead to him hearing what he is so fond of saying, 'You're fired,'" said Lindsey Graham (R-SC).
It is still early in the game, with Election Day more than 470 days away.
"We're so early in the process," Nokken said. "All these numbers should be taken with a grain of salt, especially with the number of candidates."