samedi 24 septembre 2011

GOP Debate at Orlando: Romney and Perry steal the stage (yet again)

Just as we saw in the Reagan Library and Tampa GOP debates earlier this month, Rick Perry and Mitt Romney enjoyed far more time to speak than the other candidates at the Orlando debate this Thursday.

Governor Gary Johnson was a new addition to the list of candidates in Orlando, though his presence may have been practically imperceptible,  having less than four and a half minutes to speak throughout the debate.

This time, Romney outspoke Perry, coming in the lead with over 12 minutes, three times the speaking time allocated to Johnson.  Second place winner Perry had over twice as much time to speak as second-to-last place candidate Ron Paul.

Herman Cain and Rick Santorum made progress compared to previous debates, moving from last and second-to-last place up to fifth and fourth place, respectively.

The other candidates in the middle each had between six and eight minutes to speak: Gingrich, Bachmann, and Huntsman.

Distribution of debate time
Following are the floor times I calculated for each candidate.  My notes on which this data is based are found below.  As with the previous debates, for each question asked to a candidate, I counted the time the candidate took to respond, including any dialog with the moderator during follow-up questions.




Candidate Debate time (min)
Romney 12.68
Perry 11.35
Huntsman 7.98
Santorum 7.52
Cain 6.55
Bachmann 6.23
Gingrich 6.07
Paul 4.82
Johnson 4.23



Contrast with the French socialist debate
I caught a glimpse of a French Socialist primary debate which was held on September 15.  While I did not watch the whole debate, I did notice that each candidate had the same amount of time to speak (give or take one minute).  Each of the six candidates had one minute to introduce themselves.  Then, each candidate had a 10 minute dialogue with a panel of reporters.  Finally, all candidates participated in a debate, with a timer in front of each candidate indicating the total time he or she had spoken.  It seems that the political ideologies of these two parties (from different countries) can be seen in the way they organize their debates.

Raw data

These notes are based on the debate video here.


Topic Candidate Start time End time
First half:


Small businesses – hiring new employees Perry 03:24:00 05:08:00
Romney 05:44:00 07:34:00
Tax rate Bachmann 08:19:00 09:21:00
Right to work Santorum 10:17:00 10:58:00
Unemployment benefits Gingrich 11:27:00 12:27:00
Subsidizing alternative energy Huntsman 13:03:00 14:35:00
999 Economic plan Cain 15:15:00 16:22:00
Romney 16:36:00 17:03:00
10th amendment Paul 17:42:00 18:38:00
Johnson 19:00:00 20:07:00
Social Security Perry 26:15:00 27:18:00
Romney 27:22:00 28:14:00
Perry 28:17:00 28:52:00
Romney 29:06:00 29:46:00
Romney 30:24:00 31:28:00
Taxing the wealthy Huntsman 31:59:00 33:15:00
Eliminate one department from the federal government Cain 33:42:00 34:51:00
How to cut spending by 40% Gingrich 35:22:00 36:37:00
Education Johnson 37:28:00 38:07:00
Santorum 38:09:00 38:54:00
Gingrich 38:58:00 39:28:00
Paul 39:31:00 40:13:00
Perry 40:18:00 40:56:00
Romney 41:00:00 42:18:00
Bachmann 42:20:00 42:58:00
Cain 43:02:00 43:27:00
Huntsman 43:30:00 44:15:00
Immigration Bachmann 45:04:00 46:07:00
Gingrich 47:11:00 48:17:00
Education for illegal immigrants Romney 48:47:00 50:03:00
Perry 51:00:00 52:10:00
Santorum 52:39:00 53:48:00
Perry 53:51:00 54:39:00
Border fence with Mexico Paul 55:24:00 56:35:00




Second half:


Israel Romney 03:00:00 04:08:00
Palestinian state Cain 04:23:00 05:32:00
Pakistan Perry 06:03:00 07:01:00
Iraq Santorum 07:14:00 08:43:00
Foreign aid Gingrich 09:18:00 10:26:00
Cuba Johnson 10:38:00 11:34:00
Bachmann 11:40:00 11:58:00
Bringing the troops home Huntsman 12:06:00 13:14:00
Santorum 13:17:00 13:56:00
Huntsman 13:56:00 14:14:00
Education: separation of church and state Bachmann 14:47:00 15:53:00
Gays in the military Santorum 16:22:00 17:54:00
Abortion Paul 18:11:00 19:06:00
Differences with Bush Perry 19:40:00 20:32:00
Obamacare Cain 21:26:00 22:44:00
Huntsman 24:04:00 25:27:00
Perry's vaccine mandate Bachmann 26:09:00 27:12:00
Perry 27:16:00 27:56:00
Texas medical uninsurance Perry 28:39:00 29:49:00
Romneycare Romney 30:07:00 31:11:00
Perry 31:17:00 32:00:00
Romney 32:02:00 33:02:00
How to turn the country around Huntsman 37:54:00 38:37:00
Cain 38:38:00 39:19:00
Bachmann 39:25:00 39:52:00
Romney 39:55:00 40:37:00
Perry 40:41:00 41:12:00
Paul 41:15:00 41:54:00
Gingrich 42:03:00 42:43:00
Santorum 42:51:00 43:44:00
Johnson 43:49:00 44:44:00
Vice president Johnson 46:55:00 47:32:00
Santorum 47:34:00 47:57:00
Gingrich 47:58:00 48:23:00
Paul 48:25:00 48:51:00
Perry 48:56:00 49:25:00
Romney 49:28:00 50:48:00
Bachmann 50:52:00 51:29:00
Cain 51:30:00 52:14:00
Huntsman 52:16:00 53:10:00



Photo credits
The photographers of the heads above obviously do not necessarily support, or even know of the existence of, this blog :) .

Cain/Santorum/Gingrich/Perry: Gage Skidmore. Wikipedia articles for the candidates.
Romney: Brian Rawson-Ketchum (rawmustard)  on Flickr.
Johnson: NSON. Wikipedia article for Gary Johnson.

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