Regional News: Boston | D.C.| New York | Silicon ValleyMore Tech News:Newslinx
BusinessDeveloperEcommerceenterpriseNetworkingSecurity
StorageWirelessxspspecialstatsCommentary
you are in:
internetnews.comsiliconvalley.internet.comNews
7 day summary

internet.com

internet.commerce
Be a Commerce Partner
Auto Insurance Quote
Air Conditioners AC
Domain Registration
Phone Systems
Mp3 Player Reviews
Online Booking Hotels
Online Education
Affiliate Programs
Business Lists
KVM Switches
Economy Server Racks
Rackmount LCD Monitor
Corporate Awards
Register Domain

Newsletter Signup
Internet Daily
Boston News DC News NY News SiliconValley News

select a newsletter above, type your email and click the arrow to sign up!

Newsletter Signup
DJ 309650.94-145.86
NASDAQ1564.74-30.52
S&P 5001032.70-17.20
02:41 PM
Market data delayed a minimum of 15 minutes

get quote

internet.com
Developer
International
Internet Lists
Internet News
Internet Resources
IT
Linux/Open Source
Personal Technology
Small Business
Windows Technology
xSP Resources
Search internet.com
Advertise
Corporate Info
Newsletters
Tech Jobs
E-mail Offers

special reports
Internet Gambling: Bad U.S. Bet?
Internet gamblingThe U.S. government is convinced Internet gambling is a bad thing, even though there are no laws against individuals placing an online bet. It's the laws that do exist that are causing chaos in the gambling world.
[ more ]
stats
HP Elbows Past IBM In Servers
Why Is Networking Growing So Fast?
Report: Click Fraud on Sophisticated Rise
Handheld Devices Losing Market Grip
Software Piracy Rates Fall in China, Russia
The State of Open Source Business
Linux Still a Hit in China
Report: Most Aren't Rushing Into Web 2.0
A Bigger Slump For Graphics Vendors
Processor Vendors Chip Away in March, Q1
most popular
Xandros Takes Microsoft's Linux Patent Protection
Palm Coughs Up 25% Stake in Recapitalization
Vendors Buy in For Consumer, Corporate Protection
Open Solutions Alliance Takes Aim at IP Risk
Sun Updates Studio For Multi-Core Development
MS Wins Right to Challenge Patent's Ownership
It's Official, Google Buys FeedBurner
Oracle Throws More Charges at SAP
Court Rules VoIP Providers Must Pay USF Fees
Webcasters Sing the Internet Radio Blues…Again
Whitepaper: HP Virtual Server Environment for HP Integrity and 9000 Servers. Virtualize your IT resources and make more effective use of them by pooling & sharing IT resources to meet business demand.
siliconvalley.internet.com

October 12, 2000
Presidential Debates Rank at Grade School Level
By Jayson Matthews

Stop talking to me like a child, Mr. President!

Researchers at yourDictionary.com (YDC), a language portal originally developed by University of Pennsylvania Professor Robert Beard as a research tool for the linguistic community, released a study this week analyzing the current series of Presidential debates and the major-party convention acceptance speeches. After looking at patterns of word usage choices, grade reading-level appropriateness, and the use of such grammatical constructions as passive voice, the study concluded that both the Republican and Democratic candidates talk to the American public like a bunch of 14-year-olds.

Paul JJ Payack, President and CEO of the Danville-based company, says YDC analyzed the length of words and sentences, the number of paragraphs, and other parameters of language to gauge the complexity in both the presidential and vice-presidential candidates' speeches.

"The results of our analysis indicate that the grade level of the language of political debates, from the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858 to current series of presidential debates, has declined from a 12th grade level to a high 7th-grade reading level," says Payack. "The research by Dr. Robert Beard's team shows that the decline of political rhetoric since the advent of televised debates in 1960 is particularly dramatic."

In current terms, YDC ranked Stephen Douglas' seven speeches during the Lincoln-Douglas debates at a 12th-grade level (11.9), while Lincoln's averaged 11.2. George Washington's Farewell Address also came in at a 12th grade reading level, as did President Franklin Roosevelt's declaration of war in December 1941.

Enter TV.

John Kennedy's readability grade level during the first nationally televised debates was 9.6, according to YDC, while Richard Nixon's was 9. Presidents Carter and Ford brought the bar up slightly to a tenth grade level during their debates, but were quickly followed by the 9th grade stylings of Reagan and Mondale in 1984.

Strangely, the study showed no correlation between reading level and electoral success. While Michael Dukakis linguistically outpaced George Bush Sr.'s 6.7 average by nearly two grades, Bush resoundingly trounced the Democratic candidate in the 1988 election. Yet nearly the exact reverse occurred between President Clinton and Bush during the following election, with Clinton's speech ranking up near Dukasis's 8.85 grade level. Clinton continued the trend when he defeated Bob Dole the following term, registering 8.3 to 6.3 respectively.

"This brings us to the first Bush-Gore debate of 2000," says Payack. "In the first presidential debate, Gore's readability score was 8.4 (identical with Clinton's average over his two debates), while Bush scored 7.1, actually half a grade-level higher than his father."

Going as far as to count specific words in the candidates' speeches, YDC also documented that Gore used the word "America" only twice in his speeches, while Bush used it 17 times.

"One thing is for sure," says Payack, "the 'federal government' was on Bush's mind much more than Gore's; Bush used the term a total of 35 times to Gore's 10. Apparently, it worries Bush more than Gore."

In terms of word usage, taxes also appear a concern to both candidates, with Bush mentioning taxes 33 times to Gore's 25.

In other news, both vice-presidential candidates scored considerably higher than their potential bosses. YDC ranked Democratic candidate Joe Lieberman at 9.9, while Bush's second-in-command Dick Cheney peaked at 9.1.


News Archives


current headlines
Business
Technical Analysis: Retest
Rising Rates Rock Stocks
Republicans Seek Delay in Patent Reform Bill

Developer
Wibree, Bluetooth Groups Merge
The Linux Kernel on a Dual Basis?
Apple Springs Safari Surprise

Ecommerce
EBay Opens Wide With More APIs
New Deal For Online Gambling?
Webcasters Sing the Internet Radio Blues…Again

Enterprise
Symantec's Unified Method Covers Backup Bases
No Data Can Outrun This 'Cheetah'
McAfee Web-enables ePolicy Console

Networking
Is the U.S. Ready For The IPv6 Challenge?
Lawmakers Examine Tech Solutions to Illegal File Sharing
Equity Firms to Buy Avaya For $8.2B

Security
Microsoft Unleashes a Slew of Critical Fixes
McAfee Web-enables ePolicy Console
Loose Lips Help Hit Yahoo's IM

Storage
Startup Makes Disaster Recovery Work
UD Sees Bright Future for Grid Vendors
Symantec's Unified Method Covers Backup Bases

Wireless
LiPs For Mobile Linux
Qualcomm to Seek Bush Veto of ITC Order
M(3) is For More Mobile Measurement

xSP
Google Shortens Hold Time on User Data
Google: Vista Desktop Search Unfair
Apple Springs Safari Surprise



Contact internetnews.com staff


Jupiter Online Media:

internet.comearthweb.comDevx.comGraphics.com

Search:

Jupitermedia Corporation has two divisions: Jupiterimages and Jupiter Online Media

Jupitermedia Corporate Info


Legal Notices, Licensing, Reprints, & Permissions, Privacy Policy.

Web Hosting | Newsletters | Tech Jobs | Shopping | E-mail Offers