At 8:00 pm Eastern tonight, Bloomberg and the Washington Post will host the next GOP Presidential Debate.  Historically, debates have not made much of an impact on the polls, but this year is different.  Pawlenty’s campaign floundered and eventually gave up after he backed off his “ObamneyCare” statement when he was face to face with Romney.  His bickering with Bachmann like a catty little school girl didn’t help him either.  Then we had Bachmann who completely disappeared in the debate after her big win in Iowa’s Ames Straw Poll… so much so that she was handed an embarrassing defeat by Cain in a straw poll in her own home state over the weekend.  Perry’s train lost steam and close to 50% of his polling numbers when he couldn’t defend his stance on illegal immigration and stay awake during the last two debate.  Cain seems to be the only one who has gained momentum as a result of the debates, going from barely staying out of the bottom tier to a frontrunner.

There’s a lot at stake tonight.  Perry needs to prove that he can stay awake and intelligently defend his more liberal positions.  Cain has a newly minted target on his back so much of the focus will be on his as he takes center stage between Perry and Romney.  Romney will likely take quite a few punches as well since he is the clear frontrunner in New Hampshire and the focus is expected to be on the economy, which is supposed to be his strength.

What do you think will happen in the debate tonight?  Who will come out on top, who will get beat up and who should pack it up?