What to Expect From Tonight's Republican Debate

The third Republican debate airs live tonight on CNBC at 8 pm Eastern at the University of Colorado Boulder. It will also be livestreamed on CNBC.com — but to view the livestream, you will have to log in to with cable account information. You can find all of our debate news and coverage here: http://bit.ly/1Xxpxxi
  1. This is the first debate with a specific name and theme — CNBC is calling it "Your Money, Your Vote," and says the candidates will discuss" job growth, taxes, technology, retirement and the health of our national economy."
  2. There will be 10 candidates featured in the primetime debate: Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, Carly Fiorina, Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, John Kasich, Rand Paul, and Chris Christie. Those are the same candidates as in the most recent Republican debate, except for Scott Walker, who dropped out of the race last month.
  3. As with the other two Republican debates, the network will feature an earlier "JV" debate segment for candidates who aren't polling as well. This will feature Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum, Lindsey Graham, and George Pataki — again, the same lineup as last time.
  4. Expect Donald Trump to go out guns blazing. In the past few days, there have been signs that the poll leader may be losing his position. He's now clearly trailing Ben Carson in Iowa — and a new CBS/New York Times national poll released Tuesday is the first in weeks to show Carson passing Trump nationally, too.
    (All the traditional politicians are still far below both Trump and Carson.)
  5. Jeb Bush, meanwhile, desperately needs a strong debate performance to reassure his campaign donors, who think his campaign is in deep trouble. Yet Bush's declining position in recent polls means he'll be farther away from the center of the stage.
  6. Marco Rubio has risen to third place and will take Bush's old spot next to Trump. He's coming off solid performances in the first two GOP debates, and another one could confirm the burgeoning belief that he's the establishment's best chance to beat Trump.
  7. Ted Cruz is trying to position himself to pick up Trump's supporters if the billionaire mogul should continue to decline. Carly Fiorina recently dropped off in polls after a brief bump from the second debate, in which she put in a stylistically compelling but factually challenged performance.
  8. Filling out the stage are Mike Huckabee, John Kasich, Chris Christie, and Rand Paul. All of them managed to poll a bit above 2.5 percent in an average of national polls, and thus made CNBC's cutoff. But none has done particularly well in the previous debates or the campaign as a whole.