Trump’s Speeches Are At A Middle-School Reading Level, Study Says

Donald Trump’s campaign speeches are written at a lower grade level than those of other leading presidential candidates, a new analysis from Carnegie Mellon University suggests.

Using a readability model known as REAP, researchers Elliot Schumacher and Maxine Eskenazi analyzed a selection of speeches from Republican candidates Ted Cruz, Donald Trump and Marco Rubio (who has since dropped out of the race) and Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

The sample size was small: They analyzed five of Cruz’s speeches, six speeches by Rubio and Sanders, seven by Clinton and eight by Trump.

REAP — which isn’t an acronym, according to the researchers — measures how often different words and grammatical structures appear within a given text, then compares them with texts that education experts have determined are at a typical reading level for a particular grade.

In terms of their vocabulary, researchers found that the speeches for Trump — who once bragged he had “the best words” — were, on average, at about a 7th-grade reading level. Cruz’s and Clinton’s speeches were at about an 8th-grade level, while Rubio’s speeches were just under a 10th-grade level and Sanders’ were just above it.

In terms of grammatical structure, nearly all of the candidates’ speeches hovered at around a 7th-grade level, with the exception of Trump, whose speeches are full of short, declarative sentences that placed them just under a 6th-grade level.

Schumacher told The Huffington Post this does not necessarily mean that the candidates sound like middle-schoolers when they speak (though hey, they definitely do sometimes). Instead, the analysis is more about how accessible their speeches are to readers and listeners.

For instance, saying that Sanders’ speeches are at a grade 10th-grade level means he is “speaking in a way that would be reflective of a text —> Read More