Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Semantic Analysis of the Third Democratic Debate

Semantic Analysis of the Third Democratic Debate
November 18, 2015

Quantified Perception (QPL) has analyzed the Democratic Debate held November 14 and offers the results of that analysis for your consideration.

Using the QPL Text Analysis Profiler (TAP), we find that all three candidates use a similar tone in the debate, the Myers-Briggs ESTP “Inventor” type, which portrays an enthusiastic and innovative language, demonstrating independence while maintaining a “team player” attitude. Sanders uses more spontaneous and less structured language, while Clinton emphasizes leadership with a more theoretical vocabulary. Clinton also uses a more personal vocabulary than her opponents. Sanders offers a slightly more emotional language. O’Malley falls between Clinton and Sanders in each of these areas.

This debate offers substantive discourse on issues over personalities, with the flagship themes of each candidate rising from their repetition and reuses of certain words and phrases. QPL weights the frequency of usage based on the total number of words in the sample and the length of a phrase.

Clinton emphasizes the international climate, with secondary domestic focus on healthcare and the economy. The phrase “ISIS is the leading threat” is used three times, which is quite frequent for such a long string of words (five), with a relative weight of just over nine. This is roughly equivalent to using that phrase as nearly one percent of her overall five-word phrases. “Affordable Care Act” is used five times or a relative weight of six.
O’Malley focuses on domestic economic issues, referring to the “big banks of Wall Street” twice and “Wall Street” eight times (weight = 6.86). “Debt free college” is used six times for the same weighted value.
Sanders is even more focused on economic issues, referring to “Wall Street” 17 times and the “corrupt campaign finance system” four times (weight=9.49). Sanders also emphasizes healthcare in general and family leave specifically as a focal area.

Clinton is tonally inclusive and inclusive and prescriptive, using “We are,” “we have to,” “we should,” and “we need to” as dominate constructions. O’Malley is less reliant on such phrasing, although he repeats “we need to” eight times. Sanders uses construction similar to Clinton’s with “we have to,” “we need to,” and “we should” as frequent phrasing. He also uses the common “I would” about as often as Clinton and O’Malley.
Overall, the candidates used functional language, with economics and international issues raised in their vocabulary. A baker’s dozen of substantive words is given in the chart below, all with a relative weighted index value above 0.5.

Next: A parallel analysis of the last Republican debate.

PhraseFrequency of usage Relative Weight Index
world 32 2.52
Wall [Street] 32 2.52
college 23 1.81
ISIS 17 1.34
work 14 1.10
income 13 1.02
working 13 1.02
money 11 0.87
young 9 0.71
gun 8 0.63
economy 7 0.55
international 7 0.55
Iraq 7 0.55

Copyright 2015 Quantified Perception, LLC