For those who believe that candidates engage in little better than baby talk or talk down to voters, a new study may support you. Carnegie Mellon University has studies the speeches of all of the presidential candidates and found that they speak at a low of a seventh grade level for Donald Trump to a high of a tenth grade level for Bernie Sanders. For my part, Sanders scores big time whenever he uses the word “oligarchy” and sends millions online in desperate searches.
The study is entitled “A Readability Analysis of Campaign Speeches from the 2016 US Presidential Campaign” by Elliot Schumacher and Maxine Eskenazi. They are with the Language Technologies Institute at the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University
They looked at campaign speeches of five presidential candidates in the 2016 US presidential race and to examined “their evolution over time and according to the type of speech.” They looked at Ted Cruz, Hillary Clinton, Marco Rubio, Bernie Sanders, and Donald Trump.
They noted that speeches by past presidents while on campaign and the Gettysburg Address were at least at the eighth grade level.
Trump scored worst at the seventh grade level while Sanders was the curve breaker at the tenth grade level. No one scored at the college level. On grammar Sanders and Cruz tied for the best at the eighth grade level. On word choice in the announcement of their candidacy, Sanders again was the class favorite and scored above the tenth grade level. Rubio came in second. Trump and Clinton tied for last place on that category.
Notably, on grammar overall Lincoln did the best and Reagan the second best. Of the candidates overall, Rubio came in first.
Here is the report: CMU Report