A readability analysis of presidential candidate speeches by researchers in Carnegie Mellon University’s Language Technologies Institute
(LTI) finds most candidates using words and grammar typical of students
in grades 6-8, though Donald Trump tends to lag behind the others.
I wasn’t especially surprised to hear this. Aside from the fact that it’s well known that e.g. newspapers aim for a fairly low “readability” score, it seems obvious that the way politics and the 24 hour media cycle work these days, political candidates are going to try to convey even complex policy ideas in simple, concrete terms that are easily digested and easily quoted.
I was a little surprised to hear that presidential candidates’ readability levels top out below the level of TV Guide and Reader’s Digest.