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Face Time: Which Republican Candidate Won the Battle for the Camera Lens?

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Romney spoke for 11 minutes and 21 seconds with five other candidates clocking in at less than 9 minutes and 40 seconds

mittromney02.jpgHe was placed at center stage and CNN's cameras (and microphones) continued to find him.

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney was not only viewed by many pundits as having met or exceeded expectations in Monday evening's New Hampshire Republican presidential candidate debate, but he also had the most to say.

Or at least given the opportunity to do so.

With seven candidates on stage, no single Republican could thoroughly dominate the proceedings, but the early 2012 front runner from the Bay State came the closest.

A Smart Politics analysis of the CNN GOP debate finds that Romney was afforded - or seized - the opportunity to talk longer than any other candidate in the debate, and for more than two minutes longer than two of his competitors.

The former Massachusetts governor spoke for 11 minutes and 12 seconds of the 68+ minutes allotted to the Republican field over the course of the debate.

By the end of the evening, Romney had addressed the New Hampshire and nationally televised audience for more than two minutes longer than businessman Herman Cain (9 minutes, 6 seconds) and former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich (9 minutes, 11 seconds).

Romney's closest rival in the battle for the microphone and camera lens was former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, who many analysts believe needs to whittle away support from Romney in order to boost his stature in the Republican field.

Pawlenty was the only other candidate to eclipse the 10 minute mark at 10 minutes and 51 seconds.

The two former governors also lead the pack with the most split screen shots while other GOP debaters were speaking.

The remaining candidates, including newly announced contender Michele Bachmann from Minnesota's 6th Congressional District, received approximately as much time to speak as Cain and Gingrich.

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum spoke for 9 minutes and 38 seconds, followed by Bachmann (9 minutes, 33 seconds), Texas Congressman Ron Paul (9 minutes, 28 seconds), Gingrich, and Cain.

Interestingly, it was Romney and Cain who spoke on the most occasions at 18 times each, but were separated by two minutes and six seconds in airtime.

Cain proved to be more succinct in his answers than Romney - owing in part perhaps to his no-nonsense business background as opposed to his very politically seasoned opponent.

With moderator John King's introductory request to the candidates that they do not eclipse the one minute mark for initial (non follow-up) questions, Cain violated this softly enforced rule the fewest number of times at just once.

By contrast, every other candidate exceeded the one minute mark at least three times in various answers to moderator, reporter, or voter questions throughout the evening.

Gingrich - who came into the 2012 race with a reputation for being the most artful speaker and the fiercest debater - spoke the fewest amount of times Monday evening at just 14.

Length of Republican Presidential Candidates' Speaking Time During CNN's New Hampshire Debate

Rank
Candidate
Minutes
Seconds
#
1
Mitt Romney
11
12
18
2
Tim Pawlenty
10
51
17
3
Rick Santorum
9
38
15
4
Michele Bachmann
9
33
15
5
Ron Paul
9
28
15
6
Newt Gingrich
9
11
14
7
Herman Cain
9
6
18
Total
68
59
112
Data compiled by Smart Politics.

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Remains of the Data

No Free Passes: States With 2 Major Party Candidates in Every US House Race

Indiana has now placed candidates from both major parties on the ballot in a nation-best 189 consecutive U.S. House races, with New Hampshire, Minnesota, Idaho, and Montana also north of 100 in a row.

Political Crumbs

Gubernatorial Highs and Lows

Two sitting governors currently hold the record for the highest gubernatorial vote ever received in their respective states by a non-incumbent: Republican Matt Mead of Wyoming (65.7 percent in 2010) and outgoing GOPer Dave Heineman of Nebraska (73.4 percent in 2006). Republican Gary Herbert of Utah had not previously won a gubernatorial contest when he notched a state record 64.1 percent for his first victory in 2010, but was an incumbent at the time after ascending to the position in 2009 after the early departure of Jon Huntsman. Meanwhile, two sitting governors hold the record in their states for the lowest mark ever recorded by a winning gubernatorial candidate (incumbent or otherwise): independent-turned-Democrat Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island (36.1 percent in 2010) and Democrat Terry McAuliffe of Virginia (47.8 percent in 2013).


An Idaho Six Pack

Two-term Idaho Republican Governor Butch Otter only polled at 39 percent in a recent PPP survey of the state's 2014 race - just four points ahead of Democratic businessman A.J. Balukoff. Otter's low numbers reflect his own struggles as a candidate (witness his weak primary win against State Senator Russ Fulcher) combined with the opportunity for disgruntled Idahoans to cast their votes for one of four third party and independent candidates, who collectively received the support of 12 percent of likely voters: Libertarian John Bujak, the Constitution Party's Steve Pankey, and independents Jill Humble and Pro-Life (aka Marvin Richardson). The six candidate options in a gubernatorial race sets an all-time record in the Gem State across the 46 elections conducted since statehood. The previous high water mark of five candidates was reached in seven previous cycles: 1902, 1904, 1908, 1912, 1914, 1966, and 2010.


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