Remarkably, when the GOP Presidential Debate deletes two candidates as well as switching from being televised to streamed online only there's a far more even balance in the distribution of talking time with each Republican in the race. Imagine that, only when it's all but guaranteed that there will not be a major audience does everyone have a voice.
Statistically, everyone spoke evenly with the exception of Rick Santorum whose numbers were inflated from a seven minute response he gave about the touching story of his daughter's difficult arrival to this world. Removing those seven minutes brings him perfectly in range of everyone else. In fact, the one person who talked the least, Herman Cain, was actually the contender with the most turns at talking so it was not from a lack of opportunity.
The roundtable open-discussion style moderated by Frank Luntz was conducted extremely well and impartially while giving anyone who wished to speak up ample opportunity and without limiting response times. Perhaps to some surprise, there did not seem to be any misuse and a high degree of respect to this process with candidates often speaking several minutes at a turn and without any cross-talk or bickering. Also of note was that there was far more time spent listening to the candidates than to the moderator, where this roughly two hour event managed to use nearly all of the time actually listening to the candidates for an hour and 45 minutes. Most of the televised debates end up using only a little over half the allotment in actual responses.
I'm sure adding in Jon Huntsman and Mitt Romney will leave less time on the table for everyone, but hopefully the moderators will take notice of how you can let everyone have tons of time to address a subject allowing for a full civil and varied discussion about the GOP candidates.
Topically, the event surrounded the family and morality, which frequently turned into which candidate could out-Christian the others. The format was a fantastic change of direction, but it is anyone's guess if this brings any clarity to voters, though my gut instinct is that this was a very relevant and helpful discussion to the conservative Iowans that it was aimed towards.
GOP Debate Statistics:
|Avg b/w Talks||(Longest Wait)|