Number Crunching the DNC Keynote Speeches
Just to give a refresh of our methodology: We used cloud-based linguistic analysis software to deconstruct the speech transcripts into easily manageable data points. For example, we were separated the most utilized phrases of varying lengths (Chris Christie’s top three-word phrases were “the American People” and “second American century”) as well as the most used “rare English” words—so, no “it’s,” “the”’s or “and”s (Mitt Romney’s top five being “America,” “Americans,” “jobs,” “Obama,” and “mom”).
We can even quantify the speeches’ educational level by utilizing the Gunning Fog index (GFi). The GFi is a linguistic algorithm that assigns text with a score that corresponds to the number of years of formal education one would need to comprehend it on a first read (or first listen in the case of highly choreographed speeches, the likes of which you can find at national political events).
Among the GOPers, Ann Romney scored the lowest GFi with 8.43, while Condoleezza Rice scored the highest with a 13.80. This means, to be easily comprehended, Mrs. Romney’s speech would necessitate someone having successfully made it halfway through their freshman year in high school, while Secretary Rice’s was geared towards college sophomores.
We can even compare these numbers to the great political addresses of the past: The Gettysburg Address, for example, had a GFi of 13.38, Reagan’s “tear down this wall” speech garnered a 12.02, while Kennedy’s “we will go to the moon” speech came in with a 13.53.
So, take a walk with us as we take a cold, detached, mathematical look at our nation’s political process. Here we stretch, pummle, and breakdown the convention speeches of Julian Castro, Michelle Obama, Bill Clinton, Joe Biden, and of course Barack Obama.