The Trail

The Gift of Gab: The Debate’s Top Talkers

For the second debate in a row, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Former Vice President Joe Biden and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg were the most talkative. Could this indicate some stability in their frontrunner status?

Over the last two debates, the three most loquacious candidates have been Sen. Warren (D-Mass.), former Vice President Joe Biden and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Buttigieg in first, second, and third places, respectively.

Despite maintaining her top speaker status, Warren’s total word count dropped from 3,627 words in the October debate to 2,402 words last night. One possible contributor? The other candidates on the stage backed off their questioning of her proposed policies, such as Medicare for All.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, entrepreneur Andrew Yang spoke the fewest words last night – only 1,267 words, 47% less than frontrunner Warren. This did not go unnoticed by his supporters on Twitter, prompting negative reactions and the trending hashtag #LetYangSpeak.

One notable absence from the top three top speakers during the last five debates: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), whom pundits have regularly called out as one of the frontrunners.