The candidates are undoubtedly sharpening their positions and polishing the delivery for Thursday’s debate airing on Fox News live from Ames, Iowa. Here is a last minute look at what is at stake for each candidate and what the outcome could mean in shaping Saturday’s Ames Straw Poll.

Debate Date/Time: Thursday, August 11th, 9pm EST on Fox News

Clearly the ones to watch will be Romney, Pawlenty and Bachmann as they battle for the top spots in Saturday’s non-binding contest. Ron Paul is also nipping at the heels of a top 3 finish also.

Report from the Des Moines Register:

Eight presidential candidates have qualified for the Fox News/Iowa GOP debate Thursday night.

Expected to appear at the nationally televised event in Ames are: Massachusetts’ Mitt Romney, Minnesota’s Michele Bachmann, Minnesota’s Tim Pawlenty, Texas’ Ron Paul, Georgia’s Herman Cain, Utah’s Jon Huntsman, Pennsylvania’s Rick Santorum and Georgia’s Newt Gingrich, according to Michael Clemente, Fox’s vice president of news.

The two-hour debate, with commercial breaks, will start at 8 p.m. CST (9 p.m. EST).

Rules required candidates to have an average of at least 1 percent support in five national polls by 4 p.m. Tuesday to be eligible to participate, Fox officials said.

Some candidates were shut out, including Michigan’s Thaddeus McCotter, the most recent candidate to enter the race, and California’s Fred Karger, an openly gay candidate. McCotter’s name will be on the ballot for the Iowa straw poll on Saturday because his campaign paid the $15,000 necessary to participate in the Republican Party of Iowa fundraiser.

All tickets for the debate, at Iowa State University in Ames, have been issued, Iowa GOP officials said.

Moderators will be Byron York and Susan Ferrechio from the Washington Examiner newspaper, one of the debate co-sponsors, and Fox News anchors Chris Wallace and Bret Baier.

We’ll be covering this all tomorrow (Thursday, August 11th) with more details and the full video once it airs.