Ted Cruz: The senator from Texas is hanging around with Rubio and Bush in the mid-to-high single digits. But he has shepherded his resources well and has nearly $14 million in his campaign account. And Cruz has assiduously courted Trump supporters in ways other candidates have not, positioning himself to be a potentially big winner if the billionaire eventually fades and gets out of the race.
Cruz must keep that up in the debate while also use his rhetorical gifts to inspire religious voters. It would also be helpful for him to have a breakout moment or two in the debate that will get people talking and lift him into the double-digit range in early polls.
Carly Fiorina: The former HP CEO's bounce from the last debate evaporated quickly. She is likely to be strong again but can expect Trump broadsides against her corporate record. Her talking points on HP and the Compaq acquisition better be razor-sharp once again.
The rest of the field: Hope for a miracle.
Watch CNBC's "Your Money, Your Vote: The RepublicanPresidential Debate" on Wednesday, October 28. The debate will feature two setsof candidates discussing critical issues facing America today, including jobgrowth, taxes and the health of our economy. Coverage begins at 5pm E.T.