Study: Obama Won Interruption Debate

October 19, 2012

Press Release
October 19, 2012
Contact: Katy Davis

Over One Interruption Per Minute in Pres. Debate #2, Romney Got Cut Off 37% More Often Than Obama

Mitt Romney was interrupted by both his opponent and the moderator more often than Barack Obama was during the second presidential debate, according to a new study by the George Mason University Center for Media and Public Affairs (CMPA) and Chapman University. The study also recorded 122 interruptions overall, or 1.4 interruptions per minute during the 90 minute debate.

According to CMPA President Dr. Robert Lichter, “President Obama may have benefited in the short run by adopting a much more aggressive style. But so many interruptions push the boundaries of civility in political debate.”

Major Findings:

President Obama cut off Mr. Romney in mid-sentence 36 times, while Romney cut off Obama 28 times. Moderator Candy Crowley cut off Romney 23 times, compared to the 15 times she cut off Obama.

Combining these figures, Romney was interrupted while speaking 59 times, or 37% more often than the 43 times Obama was interrupted.

Ms. Crowley interrupted the two candidates a total of 38 times, nearly twice as often as the 20 times they interrupted her (11 times by Romney and 9 times by Obama). By contrast, the candidates interrupted moderator Jim Lehrer 30 times during the first presidential debate, as an earlier CMPA/Chapman study reported.

There was a total of 122 interruptions by the three participants, an average of 1.4 per minute in the 90 minute debate.

The Center for Media and Public Affairs is a non-profit, non-partisan research organization, which is affiliated with George Mason University. It has monitored every presidential election and every new administration since 1988 using the same methodology. For CMPA findings on the Obama administration see:

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