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Tag Clouds for the Republican Debate

Topics: 2008 , Debates , The 2008 Race

Having posted a set of tag clouds last week on the Democrats comments during last weeks' MSNBC debate, we naturally wanted to do the same for last night's Republican debate. So we once again turned to Janet Harris (president of the media analysis firm, Upstream Analysis), who kindly sent over another set created using the free site TagCrowd and the transcript of the debate provided by the Federal News Service.

For those who missed last week's post, each graphic below displays the 50 words used most often by each candidate during his answers to last night's debate, with the type size varying according to its frequency of usage. The larger the type size, the more often each candidate used that word. The clouds omit common words like "and," "of," "the" and (relevant to Giuliani) "new."

BrownbackTag400.png

GilmoreTag400.png

GiulianiTag400.png

HuckabeeTag400.png

HunterTag400.png

McCainTag400.png

PaulTag400.png

RomneyTag400.png

TancredoTag400.png

ThompsonTag400.png

A few minor changes from last week, mostly by popular demand: The clouds now also display the count for each word (in parentheses). As you will see the, size of each displayed word is partly a function of the number of words spoken by each candidate. In other words, the scale is not constant across candidates. Also each Cloud now automatically groups similar words (e.g., learn, learns, learned, learning are all grouped under "learning"), but for some reason it doesn't do this for America/American. Janet also excluded references to the moderator ("Chris").

As she did for the Democratic tag clouds, Janet created a PDF version suitable for printing.

Keep in mind with that each candidate answered different questions, so the words they used varied accordingly. With that huge caveat, here are a few observations, mostly from Janet:

  • You can clearly see areas of emphasis for some candidates: New York for Rudy Giuliani (the program filtered out "New"), the border fence for Duncan Hunter, jobs and faith for Mike Huckabee, and for John McCain, references to president and Iraq, Iran, war, weapons and security.
  • Mitt Romney, like John Edwards last week, shows clear emphasis of simple language and man-of-the-people rhetoric: America(n), values, nation, church, faith.
  • Contrast Romney to the cloud of negativity from Ron Paul: bad, critical, fight, interfere, ought, poor, rid, secrecy, war.
  • Abortion was most prominent for Romney and Giuliani (as well as "pro-choice" for Romney), that is probably a function of those candidates being asked about that issue more than the others.

Last week, your comments, questions and interpretations were as interesting as the clouds themselves. Once again, please, have at it...

Correction: Representative Tom Tancredo originally labeled as Governor Tancredo.

Update: Hotline On Call has posted the number of questions each Republican recieved and the total amount of time for which they spoke.

 

Comments
littlesky:

Brownback is the only one that appears to have any familiarity with Newt-Speak. Interesting.

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Brian D:

I know that tag clouds are not entirely scientific but I feel that it would be a more accurate representation of the debate if the font size were standardized amongst the various candidates - where Sen. McCain with his 2,000 words would likely have a larger font for his most frequently used words than Rep. Hunter would with his 1,000. It may just be overly picky on my part, and I do have personal preference for visual representations that include a relating numerical statistic, but when you contrast and give equal weight to Rep. Paul's "cloud of negativity" as Gov. Romney's "man-of-the-people rhetoric" it affords the possibility of misinterpretation. On a side note, is it not strange that only one candidate has "conservative" is his top 50 most used words at a Republican debate and he is not even amongst the front runners?

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mike:

america is israel's puppet...ron paul will cut the strings...VOTE RON PAUL '08

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