A Readability Analysis of Campaign Speeches from the 2016 US Presidential Campaign by the Language Technologies Institute in the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA found that the grammatical usage of Donald Trump scored the lowest of any other candidate.
While Trump’s grammar puts him at the fifth-grade level, the rest of the candidates’ grammar was scored between sixth- and eighth-grade levels.
The study looked at nearly 40 speeches from the 2016 US campaign cycle delivered by Trump, Cruz, Rubio and their Democratic opponents, Clinton and Bernie Sanders.
In terms of vocabulary skills, Bernie Sanders performed better than all of the other presidential hopefuls. His vocabulary was ranked at the 11th-grade level for the speech he made announcing his candidacy.
In contrast, the vocabulary of Cruz’s inaugural speech put him at the 9th-grade level while both Trump and Clinton’s announcement speeches scored at the 8th-grade level for vocabulary.
The author of the study wrote, “[This reflects] their analysis of the level of the audience they want to address.”
Since both Trump and Bernie Sanders are known to make speeches ‘live’ and ‘off the cuff’ without notes or a pre-drafted script, these rankings provide some measure of insight into the level of complexity each candidate’s mental acuity operates within.
For more, check out the study’s report.