The third Republican debate will be aired on CNBC tomorrow at 8pm Eastern Time—and there’s plenty of things the informed voter should be looking for.
But here’s the five biggest questions that will, for better or worse, be answered tomorrow night:
Will Trump put his foot in his mouth again?
One of the most cringeworthy moments of the last debate was Donald Trump’s response to Carly Fiorina’s attacks.
Trump, asked to respond to his previous digs at Fiorina’s looks, said that she was a “beautiful woman”—which, based on the audience’s groans, shows he was the only one in the room that missed the entire point about not judging a candidate for her appearance.
Viewers were also surprised that Trump seemed to languish in the grueling three-hour debate, ceding the floor for more than 40 minutes at one point.
In the weeks after the debate, Trump’s numbers slid dramatically. While he remained in first place, and has seen a rebound in recent weeks, another so-so debate performance could hurt him again.
And with Ben Carson now nipping at his heels, Trump could risk losing his frontrunner status if he dips again.
Will Carson come out swinging?
Carson’s been criticized for being “low-energy” by Donald Trump—but he’s shot past Trump in the must-win first caucus state of Iowa in several recent polls.
As the frontrunner in the first state, he’ll be under more scrutiny—and increased attacks, especially from Donald Trump who will be looking to reclaim some of his lost magic in the Hawkeye State. Carson’s “nice guy” approach has gotten him far—but will he be able to go on the offense in order to stay on top?
Will Fiorina have another breakout performance?
Carly Fiorina was flying high after a tremendous performance during the last debate—with her poll numbers shooting all the way up to 15%, in a close third place.
But she’s plateaued since then, and she needs another post-debate bump to get back on top. Will she be able to deliver a strong enough to win back people who loved her in the last debate, but have drifted away since?
Will Bush deliver?
Jeb Bush has faced a mountain of negative press in recent days—with his campaign apparently laying off 40% of his staff.
The one-time frontrunner, who has been languishing in the polls, needs a jolt of energy if he’s going to get back on top.
His last two debate performances haven’t made much of an impact on voters. Will the two-term governor be able to show the Republican establishment that he’s worth betting on?
Will anyone new break out?
Candidates like Chris Christie, Rand Paul, and John Kasich have been stuck in the low-single digits for months—and are under increased pressure to show that they deserve to be on the stage.
With the first primaries just three months away, their breakout moment needs to be sooner rather than later.
A strong performance could help them surge—but a weak one could be the final nail in their presidential coffins