Caitlin Huey-Burns argues in a Real Clear Politics column that Carly Fiorina needs another standout performance in the next GOP presidential debate.

The Republican primary debates have served as fuel for Carly Fiorina’s long-shot presidential bid. The businesswoman’s standout performances in Cleveland and Simi Valley, Calif., have helped transform her from an underdog into a viable contender. Her poll numbers rose significantly in the immediate aftermath of both debates, and sizable cash donations followed.

But as she heads to Round 3 in Boulder, Colo., this week, there is perhaps more pressure on her than ever before.

A handful of recent national polls show Fiorina’s post-debate bump has faded, while candidates like Donald Trump and Ben Carson have maintained, and in some cases, increased, their leads. What’s more, another competitor, Marco Rubio, continues to rise.

The next debate offers the former Hewlett-Package CEO a chance to regain her stride. But her greater challenge is to better capitalize on that performance and prove her campaign is more than a series of bright but ephemeral moments on the grand stage.

The Fiorina campaign argues that the candidate’s upward trajectory from her start is more significant than the short-term ups and downs that have followed. And, as most campaigns believe, hers stresses that activity and standing in the early voting states matter more than national grades. According to the RealClearPolitics polling averages, Fiorina places in the top five contenders in Iowa (where she is tied with Jeb Bush), New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Florida.