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Equal Time? Romney Records One Quarter of Face Time at New Hampshire Debate

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Romney received 25 percent of the speaking time at Tuesday's debate - nearly twice the time of most candidates and nearly three times the amount of Huntsman and Santorum

mittromney11.jpgAlthough passing mention is given at the start of most debates that efforts will be made to give all candidates equal time, the disparity in time allotted to the candidates was startling during Tuesday's Republican debate at Dartmouth College.

A Smart Politics content analysis of the New Hampshire debate finds that former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney tallied a full one-quarter of the speaking time given to the GOP field, or precisely double what would be an evenly distributed amount of time between the eight candidates.

Romney spoke for 18 minutes and 12 seconds Tuesday evening, out of the 72 minutes and 49 seconds allotted to the 2012 Republican hopefuls throughout the evening.

Romney was followed by Rick Perry who notched 14.1 percent of the speaking time (10 minutes 16 seconds), Herman Cain at 12.5 percent (9 minutes, 5 seconds), Michele Bachmann at 12.3 percent (8 minutes, 59 seconds), Newt Gingrich at 9.7 percent (7 minutes, 5 seconds), Ron Paul at 9.2 percent (6 minutes, 43 seconds), Jon Huntsman at 8.6 percent (6 minutes, 17 seconds), and Rick Santorum at 8.5 percent (6 minutes, 12 seconds).

While Romney's total was boosted in small part due to four of his seven opponents asking questions of him after halftime (Cain, Gingrich, Huntsman, and Perry), Romney was still outpacing his field in camera time by a large margin even at that point of the debate.

At the midway point, Romney had spoke for 7 minutes and 25 seconds - more than Gingrich, Paul, Huntsman, and Santorum recorded for the entire debate.

The dominating presence of Romney during the debate Tuesday - a combination of his comparatively strong debating skills plus the prominent platform he is receiving from the moderators - is a continuation of a surge in camera time he has enjoyed over the last few debates.

For example, in the Florida CNN/Tea Party debate last month, Romney tallied just 15.8 percent of the floor time (10 minutes, 56 seconds), well behind the 20.0 percent given to Perry (13 minutes, 48 seconds).

Michele Bachmann was third in speaking time at that debate with 12.5 percent (8 minutes 40 seconds), followed by Jon Huntsman at 11.3 percent (7 minutes, 49 seconds).

In the subsequent Florida FOX News/Google debate, Romney received the most air time at 12 minutes and 1 second or 19.9 percent of the the eight candidate field (recalculating percentages after removing Gary Johnson from the data).

Rick Perry fell to 16.8 percent in that debate (10 minutes, 8 seconds), followed by John Huntsman at 12.7 percent (7 minutes, 41 seconds), and Rick Santorum at 12.0 percent (7 minutes, 14 seconds).

Perry's declining face time has been a windfall for both Romney and Herman Cain.

Cain tallied the least amount of speaking time in the first Florida debate (8.1 percent, 5 minutes, 34 seconds), increasing to fifth most in the second Florida debate (10.7 percent, 6 minutes, 27 seconds), and third most in New Hampshire (12.5 percent, 9 minutes, 5 seconds).

The extent of the former Massachusetts governor's face time on Tuesday relative to the other candidates on the stage can also be viewed as follows. Romney recorded:

· 194 percent more camera time than Rick Santorum
· 190 percent more than Jon Huntsman
· 171 percent more than Ron Paul
· 157 percent more than Newt Gingrich
· 103 percent more than Michele Bachmann
· 100 percent more than Herman Cain
· 77 percent more than Rick Perry

Overall, across the last three debates, Romney has tallied 41 minutes and 9 seconds of speaking time, which is nearly seven minutes more than the next closest candidate, Rick Perry (at 34 minutes, 12 seconds).

Michele Bachmann comes in a distant third with 23 minutes and 59 seconds, followed by Huntsman (21 minutes, 47 seconds), Cain (21 minutes, 6 seconds), Gingrich (20 minutes, 41 seconds), Santorum (20 minutes, 38 seconds), and Paul (18 minutes, 47 seconds).

The fact that Congressman Paul has received less than half the amount of speaking time as Romney (and less than any other candidate) is curious considering the libertarian firebrand has run third or fourth in most polls throughout the last several months.

Time Allotted to Republican Presidential Candidates During the Last Three Debates

Candidate
 % FL 1
% FL 2*
% NH 2
Total time
Romney
15.8
19.9
25.0
41 min. 9 sec.
Perry
20.0
16.8
14.1
34 min. 12 sec.
Bachmann
12.5
10.5
12.3
23 min. 59 sec.
Huntsman
11.3
12.7
8.6
21 min. 47 sec.
Cain
8.1
10.7
12.5
21 min. 6 sec.
Gingrich
11.1
9.8
9.7
20 min. 41 sec.
Santorum
10.4
12.0
8.5
20 min. 38 sec.
Paul
10.7
7.7
9.2
18 min. 47 sec.
* Percentages from Florida's FOX/Google debate recalculated after eliminating the time allotted to former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson (who spoke for 4 minutes and 9 seconds) who was not invited to participate in the other debates. Data compiled by Smart Politics.

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10 Comments


  • Good to see that the Ron-Paulers were right (again).

    How is a candidate supposed to get more face time when the media refuses to point and click the camera? The internets?

    (blackthisout)

  • I saw the little tricks Charlie Rose and the Bloomberg and Washington Post moderators were using to give Romney more airtime . Romney was asked a question and had one minute to respond , but at the end of Romneys one minute , another moderator would ask Romney to be more clear or whatever , giving Romney ANOTHER minute of airtime ... at one point there in the debate , Romney was asked if a global meltdown occured , what would Romney do ... Romney spoke to all 3 moderators on that on question for a straight 5 minutes ?

  • thank you Humphrey School of Public Affairs
    from Washington University in Saint Louis 81

    no more Puppet Presidents

  • Black this out

  • Blackthisout.com

  • Marginalizing a 3rd place Ron Paul by giving no time is completely obvious. As others on this thread have said, we will simply click here and BLACK THIS OUT

  • Yet, no one does anything about it. We just sit here and whine on the reviews and comments. The moderators are the ones who need to be challenged by the public. It's time to "Occupy The News" or the "Debate" and make this happen. It will be our fault for not taking action right away and holding the moderators responsible. When you are pushed, push back!

  • ███ ████ is the only unique, presidential candidate and should receive 50% of the airtime of all others combined. If people vote for anyone else, they are bringing doom upon themselves. And they will deserve it for not doing their homework but just being fed what the gov/media are feeding them. ███ ████ in 2012 or G*d help us all.

  • When we let the same media choose the president each year we get the same policies. They don't work.

    You can choose the president by researching the issues and the candidates. When you do you'll find Cain outright lies to the public when Paul asked him a question during the debate, Romney created Romneycare which became Obamacare, and Perry used force to make little girls take drugs that he thought were beneficial, regardless of what they or their parents thought.

    Ron Paul is the only one. If someone offered you a million dollars, you probably wouldn't believe them, and wouldn't get very excited. If they showed it to you, you'd go nuts. Ron Paul supporters are energized because they know he will deliver as he has for the past 40 years.

  • Thank you for this post, very telling as to whom the media favors, and from my state as well :-)

    The Ron Paul Media Black out is about as obvious as the Sun on a cloudless summer day. Just ridiculous, at least the writer gave some time to Ron Paul. Great post. Can't wait to read more.

  • Leave a comment


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