U.S. Presidential Campaign '08:
A Semantic Matrix Analysis
Analysis #2: McCain's Buzzwords
An Agenda of Conservative Statemanship
The following data is the result of an analysis of John McCain and Barack Obama's campaign speeches given from February 10, 2007 until August 19, 2008.

When comparing the language of John McCain since February 10, 2007 to Barack Obama's rhetoric, the following semantic features are significant:

Nouns:

In direct comparison with Barack Obama, McCain language is dominated by significantly more nouns related to the economic sphere, such as the following (in order of relative frequency):
  • Market
  • Property
  • Business
  • Percent
  • Spending
  • Owner
  • Rate
  • Growth
  • Subsidy
  • Export
  • Insurance
  • Dollar
  • Trade
  • Producer
  • Account
  • Value
  • Cost
  • Price
  • Prosperity
  • Competition
He also employs, relative to Obama, a significantly higher number of technical terms referring to the political system such as:
  • Government
  • President
  • Judge
  • Court
  • Democracy
  • System
  • Citizen
  • Citizenship
  • State
  • Nation
  • Administration
Striking is also the relative frequency of McCain's nouns denoting security and military relations:
  • Officer
  • Ally
  • Surge
  • Defense
  • Security
  • Veteran
  • Gun
McCain also uses, to a much larger degree than Obama, nouns describing positively connotated character features and values:
  • Honor
  • Cause
  • Freedom
  • Respect
  • Virtue
  • Valor
  • Principle
  • Character
  • Strength
  • Conviction
  • Duty
  • Glory
  • Humility
  • Decency
Particularly noteworthy is McCain's higher frequency of nouns relating the energy sector:
  • Energy
  • Coal
  • Emission
  • Energy
  • Gasoline
  • Reactor
  • Warming


Adjectives:

In line with his usage of nouns, McCain's most used adjectives (in relative frequency to Barack Obama) refer to the economic sphere:
  • Economic
  • Prosperous
  • Corporate
  • Expensive
McCain also employs a significantly higher usage of adjectives relating to international relations such as:
  • Cuban
  • International
  • Russian
  • Global
  • Foreign
  • Iraqi
  • European
Relative to Obama, McCain's significantly higher usage of positively connotated adjectives is also noteworthy. Examples are
  • Great
  • Good
  • Clean
  • Free
  • Safe
Similarly, adjectives stressing judgment and leadership such as
  • Proper
  • Proven
  • Judicial
  • Necessary
  • Appropriate
  • Predictable
  • Consistent
can be found in high statistical frequency in John McCain's rhetoric when compared to Barack Obama.



author(s): js/mk/nb   date: 09/06/2008   title: "McCain's Buzzwords"   textid/texts: 2/18
© by semtracks