Unsurprisingly, these are also the candidates leading the polls — and they essentially treated the CNN/Facebook debate as one all about them.
Look at how long each of the candidates spoke. Cruz, Rubio, and Trump all clock in above 13 minutes. After that, there's a drop-off down to Chris Christie, who spoke for 10 minutes and 47 seconds.
If you splice the numbers by when they spoke, you can see that all three were a major presence throughout the debate. There aren't large chunks of time when they remain silent. Then look at someone like Ben Carson, who spoke three times during the debate's first hour.
Trump, Cruz, and Rubio also were the dominant candidates whom other candidates wanted to talk about — although former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush joins them in this group. He had a heated exchange with Donald Trump, while Rubio faced off with Ted Cruz over immigration.
The two confrontations dominated the interchanges, while the rest of the candidates concentrated their attacks on President Obama and Hillary Clinton.
Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich arguably played the smallest role in the debate; he spoke the fewest minutes and wasn't once mentioned by any of the other candidates.