While it may not come as news to those who have been following the Republican presidential race, a new study has confirmed that Texas Congressman Ron Paul has, on average, been allotted less time to speak than the other candidates during the last three GOP debates.
A total of 18 minutes and 47 seconds has been apportioned to Paul -- who, despite having a loyal base and a growing number of supporters, has been framed as a longshot candidate by the mainstream media -- in the last three debates, according to a study released by the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School of Public Affairs on Oct. 12.
While each debate typically begins by stating all candidates will be given equal time to speak, the study found that Paul has received less than half the amount of speaking time as former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, as well as less time than any other candidate. Although Paul has been inching up in the polls for weeks -- the most recent Real Clear Politics poll found that about 8 percent of Republicans support Paul, a higher percentage than U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, former Gov. Jon Huntsman and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum -- he has received a fraction of the time as Romney and Gov. Rick Perry, speaking for just 6 minutes and 43 seconds during the Oct. 11 debate.
In comparison, the study found that former Gov. Mitt Romney has been dominating the GOP debates. Romney has received the most air time during the last three events, speaking for just over 41 minutes. Perry, his closest competitor, has received about 34 minutes of face time, while Rep. Michele Bachmann -- who, according to Real Clear Politics, is currently polling at 4.9 percent -- has been allocated almost 24 minutes.
Herman Cain, who has been polling just below or in some cases, higher than Romney, has spoken for approximately 21 minutes during the debate cycle in question. However, the study found he received about 9 minutes of face time during the Oct. 11 debate -- a sharp increase from the Sept. 12 event, where he was allocated 5 minutes and 34 seconds and the Sept. 22 event, where he spoke for 6 minutes and 27 seconds.
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Romney has emerged as the Republican frontrunner is recent weeks, partially due to his strong debating skills and the endorsements he has picked up from leading members of the GOP. Romney's status could clearly be seen at the Oct. 11 debate, where he spoke for a total of 18 minutes and 12 seconds. While most of that time was the result of questions directed to him from Cain, Perry, Huntsman and Newt Gingrich, even before that he still had over 7 minutes of air time -- more than Gingrich, Paul, Huntsman and Santorum recorded for the entire debate.
The next GOP debate, sponsored by CNN and the Western Republican Leadership Conference, is scheduled for Oct. 18 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Huntsman has reportedly opted out of the event because he is boycotting the mid-January date proposed for the Nevada caucuses.