Hillary maintains or slightly loses, not because of her performance per se, but because of the relatively good performances of the other candidates. And the thing is that her performance, since it will only be solid but not spectacular, will be seen as a loss because people will know that, at this point in her campaign, she needs to turn in an impressive performance given the recent free fall of her campaign.
Sen. James Webb gains significantly. James Webb is actually a very impressive person. He is sort of an oddball because he was Secretary of the Navy under Ronald Reagan (and a very good one). What is a former Reagan official doing in the Democratic presidential race? I think a lot of people don't even know he is in the race and will see him and like what they see. The problem is that there will be more non-Democrats who like him than Democrats. He will gain from the sheer exposure, but not enough among Democrats. Still it will be quite a rise for someone that no one has been talking about.
Bernie Sanders wins. Despite all the mentions of Bernie Sanders, who has been rocking the campaign trail with high turnout campaign events, there has been very little actual coverage of Sanders himself and what he has to say. People think of him as a marginal radical. The first problem with this perception is that he is not a crazy person, but a very sober and intelligent candidate who has the kind of anti-establishment message that is playing this year. I think that that when people actually see him, and agree with him about how our economy has been restructured to benefit the wealth and powerful and ignore the middle class, he's going to have people coming to his side who weren't because they were scared off by the "socialist" label. Sanders has the wrong prescription. But he has the right diagnosis and he is articulate when giving it. People are going to see this and his is going to win BIG. Bernie is for real and he will steal the show.
I would mention the other candidates, but they will continue to be irrelevant.
I will be live-Tweeting the debate tonight. Tune in.