Mitt Romney has enjoyed far more face time than his GOP 2012 competitors in recent nationally televised debates.
Eric Ostermeier, the political numbers wiz who writes the University of Minnesota's Smart Politics blog, tabulated the above data from the last three GOP debates, held Sept. 12 in Tampa, Fla.; Sept. 22 in Orlando, Fla.; and Oct. 11 in Hanover, N.H.
Oddly, Romney was not considered the front-runner during the first two debates. Texas Gov. Rick Perry led him by 12 percentage points in a CNN poll released on the day of the Tampa debate. Perry led by 7 percentage points in the last Gallup poll released before the Orlando debate.
Romney has, however, held the steadiest position in the upper echelon of GOP candidates, so it makes sense that he's averaged more time than the other candidates. Even as Perry rose above Romney in polls, the cameras in Florida focused on back-and-forth between the two top contenders at the time.
Romney's big face-time advantage came on Tuesday in New Hampshire. He entered that debate rated as a two-percentage-point favorite by Gallup.
Chart credit: Eric Ostermeier/Smart Politics
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