This week, as I watched the GOP debate, I was curious about the (un)fairness of floor time allocated to the candidates. There has been discussion of Ron Paul being ignored by the media, even to the point of ridiculousness (for example, with Ron Paul winning 3rd place in a USA gallop poll in August, a headline mentioned 1st, 2nd, and 4th place winners). Jon Stewart at the Daily Show did a hilarious piece (a must see!) on this.
Since the GOP debate was on at 2am where I live, I had to catch it the following day on YouTube. I'm not 100% sure of the completeness of the videos I've seen, but the links, as well as my notes, are provided at the end of the article so you can see the basis of my analysis.
Calculating floor time
For a given question asked to a candidate, I did not include the time of the initial question asked by the host. I included the time the candidate took to answer, as well as any dialogue between the candidate and the host during the answer.
Using the above calculation, each candidate had the following floor time, to convince the public that he or she should be president:
A disparity of floor time is evident, as Rick Perry enjoyed over 16 minutes to provide his arguments, while Cain was granted less than 6 minutes during the evening to present his case.
Ron Paul was not, in fact, the most ignored candidate. He, Bachmann, and Hunstman essentially tied for third place with about 9 minutes floor time. Mitt Romney, in second place, had over 12 minutes of debate time, almost twice as much as the second-to-last-place Santorum.
I did not do a full analysis of the applauses, though I did note a few of them. While Gingrich was among the candidates with less floor time, he seemed to make every minute count, evoking enthusiastic applause.
Here are the notes I took from the debate. If there are any inaccuracies, please do let me know :)
Intro: 1 minute to answer, 30s for followup or rebuttal.
Cain: 10:35-11:39 (Applause)
Huntsman: 12:05-13:30 (small applause)
Paul: 15:30-17:24 (Applause)
Gingrich: 17:49-19:12 (Applause)
Romney: 20:34-21:49 (Applause)
Bachmann: 25:14-26:16 (Applause)
Gingrich: 26:33-27:40 (Big Applause)
Cain: 28:08-29:17 (Applause)
Santorum: 0:41-2:10 (Applause)
Perry: 2:30-3:27 (Applause)
Huntsman: 6:16-7:19 (small applause)
Minimum wage, medicare, gas:
Perry: 18:23-18:55 (Applause)
Cain: 19:00-19:50 (Applause)
Perry's exec orders:
Romney: 24:47-25:40 (applause)
Perry: 5:00-6:03 (applause)
Romney: 6:16-7:24 (applause)
Gingrich: 7:34-8:44 (applause)
Tea Party/Debt ceiling:
Huntsman: 18:38-20:16 (applause)
Bachmann: 24:00-26:09 (applause)
Gingrich: 3:40-5:04 (applause)
Perry: 7:40-9:12 (applause)
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.