The third Republican debate, hosted by CNBC on Oct. 28, 2015, featured a full two hours dedicated to questions about the economy and domestic issues. The 10 candidates on the stage spoke about a wide range of issues, from taxes to immigration to Social Security to Medicare.
According to counts by the InsideGov team, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina logged the most talk time at 10 minutes and 14 seconds. Second place goes to Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who spoke for nine minutes and 52 seconds. An early-on spat between Rubio and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush — where the two went head to head on Rubio’s tenure in the Senate — marked a departure from their previous interactions in the campaign. Bush has been called a “mentor” to Rubio, although the two have had a more strained relationship since both decided to run for the White House.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich came in third at nine minutes, 42 seconds. In a surprising turn for the bombastic Donald Trump, who has dominated previous debates, the businessman came in fourth for talk time, logging just over nine-and-a-half minutes.
Aside from the word “America,” which was said 58 times by the candidates during the debate, the most often spoken buzzword was Hillary Clinton, the leading Democratic candidate. Republican candidates referred to the leading Democratic candidate 21 times. The word “budget,” which was a main topic of conversation in the economy-focused debate, was said 14 times by the candidates on the stage.
In terms of Twitter engagement, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson was the night’s far and away winner. Carson gained 9,346 followers during the debate, almost two times what the next candidate gained. Rubio, who came in second, collected 4,986 more followers.
Unlike in previous GOP debates, when Trump dominated the conversation or Fiorina had a standout night, the third matchup was more nuanced. Some argue that Rubio and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz came out on top, but Trump and Carson were still strong players. As the data collected by InsideGov shows, different candidates won different metrics, which means the Republican Party still has a ways to go before it determines its top candidate.