Report: GOP Debate Expectations, High Ratings, and More Donald Trump

Las Vegas, Nevada

LAS VEGAS, Nevada — The Media Research Center (MRC) analyzed data from the first four GOP presidential primary debates to predict what the audience should expect for Tuesday’s fifth GOP primary debate, predicting the moderators will try to get candidates to fight with each other, and GOP frontrunner Donald Trump will have the most talking time.

MRC researcher Mike Ciandella suggests that based on prior debates, Trump will have the most airtime.

“Donald Trump spoke for nearly 53 minutes, about 20 percent more than his next-closest rival, Jeb Bush, and 36 percent more than seventh-place Paul,” reported MRC’s Rich Noyes.

With Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims from migrating to the United States to protect Americans from possible terrorist infiltration dominating the news last week, Noyes speculates, “If Trump’s Muslim proposal does indeed dominate the discussion Tuesday night, expect this debate to resemble the first two — more scrutiny of Trump, which means more airtime for Trump.”

It’s also predicted that the moderators will try to get the GOP contenders to fight with one another based on a review of the previous CNN GOP primary debate in September.

An analysis by MRC’s Geoffrey Dickens showed a whopping 55 of the 74 questions posed by moderator Jake Tapper and questioners Dana Bash and Hugh Hewitt were framed to get Republican candidates to criticize each other’s positions and even personal traits.

Ratings are also expected to be high. The first GOP primary debate had the highest rating with 24 million viewers. The second debate, hosted by CNN, had nearly 23 million viewers. Noyes noted, “These audiences were higher than any primary debate in any previous election cycle. Previously, the most-watched debate was 7.6 million, for an ABC debate in December 2011.”

The MRC analysis also predicts the moderators will eat up 20 percent of the airtime with their questioning, while advertisements will take up about 11 percent.