February 1, 2008


Presidential poetry: What the candidates' words reveal (Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs • Press Release, 01/30/08)

[Owen Zidar, a Dartmouth senior who is majoring in economics] and Economics Professor Bruce Sacerdote learned that both Huckabee and Obama frequently use the words 'children,' 'commitment,' 'poverty,' and 'revolutionary,' which points to a resemblance to the speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr. John McCain and Mitt Romney are the most like Ronald Reagan, all using the words 'economic,' 'free,' and 'nuclear' frequently. The words in Hillary Clinton's speeches strongly resemble those of her husband, Bill.

"Lots of pundits have compared the candidates to historical figures," says Sacerdote, "but we set out to quantify the comparisons using their actual words. A candidate's choice of words can sometimes reveal something hidden or deep about beliefs that aren't obvious unless you really pick it apart mathematically. We can study many years of speeches to maybe determine if a candidate's position has shifted or how much a candidate resembles JFK." [...]

Similar patterns emerge in a Bill Clinton-George W. Bush comparison. Hillary still closely resembles Bill, and McCain and Romney sound like Bush. McCain frequently uses the words 'Iraqi' and 'disarm,' while 'cold-blooded' is used by Romney; all words favored by Bush.

...it only sounds like Reagan and W.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 1, 2008 9:08 AM
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