The GOP primary debates, in 4 graphs

The 2016 Republican debate season continues Tuesday in Milwaukee, with eight candidates appearing in the main debate. Here are a few graphs to put the 2016 debate schedule in context. (Click here for the full debate schedule.)

Debate Participation

Some pundits have heavily criticized the hosting TV networks for not allowing all of the major GOP candidates to participate in their primetime debates. Tuesday's CNN debate will have nine candidates on the main stage. That's down from 10 at their September debate, but up from eight at the Nov. 10 debate hosted by Fox Business. Either way, it's well above the average of six candidates per debate from 1980 to 2016.

The 2016 primary cycle limits the number of debates. The 2012 cycle had the most debates, with 20, while 2008 had 19. The 12 debates planned for the 2016 cycle are roughly in line with 2000's 13 debates, while the three cycles preceding that all had fewer than eight debates.

Host States

Tuesday will be the second time Las Vegas has hosted a GOP primary debate. The first time was in October 2011. Las Vegas has hosted Democratic primary debates three times.

Colorado, Ohio and Wisconsin all hosted their first-ever GOP debates this cycle.