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Donald Trump's Fourth-Grade Level Speeches Might Actually Be Helping Him

Donald Trump's success in the polls may be due to the fact that he speaks to voters as if they were in fourth grade.

The Boston Globe determined the intelligence levels of speeches from all 19 original presidential candidates by applying an algorithm known as the Flesch-Kincaid readability test.

Results are based largely on word choices and sentence structures.

The speech Donald Trump made when he first announced his campaign was found to be easily comprehensible for a fourth grader, a level lower than any other candidate's speech.

His speech featured the smallest words and the shortest sentences of all the candidates' announcement speeches.

Florida-based Republican consultant Rick Wilson told The Boston Globe,

Trump is talking about things that are emotional, simple, and angry. He's not talking about the complexity of international affairs. It's, ‘Let's take their oil!' It doesn't have to be a long, drawn-out exegesis of American foreign policy. It's Trump. It's simple.

Eric Ostermeier, the University of Minnesota political professor in charge of website Smart Politics, said he doesn't believe Trump would be so far ahead in the polls “if he was speaking more like politicians.”

Ben Carson is a renowned brain surgeon yet apparently speaks on a sixth-grade level, roughly the same grade level used by Rick Santorum.

You need to be in at least eighth grade to best understand the speeches of Hillary Clinton and Martin O'Malley. The speeches of Bernie Sanders, however, tested to be most appropriate for 10th graders.

Republican candidate Mike Huckabee surprisingly speaks at a 10th-grade level as well, despite having said if transgender acceptance occurred during his youth, he would have told his gym teacher he “felt like a woman” in order to shower with female students.

The Flesch-Kincaid test additionally found presidential speeches significantly declined in intelligence levels. President Lincoln spoke at an 11th-grade level when he gave his “Gettysburg Address,” and President Kennedy gave a speech in 1961 at a grade level of 13.9.

But, the attention-zapping age of social media managed to relegate even an accomplished speaker like President Obama to an eighth-grade level.

Citations: For presidential hopefuls simpler language resonates (The Boston Globe)

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Sean Levinson

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Sean Levinson is a Senior News Writer for Elite Daily, first joining as an editor in fall 2012. He was born in Long Island and received a Bachelor's in English at SUNY New Paltz. Sean writes about stuff that matters and sometimes politics.
Sean Levinson is a Senior News Writer for Elite Daily, first joining as an editor in fall 2012. He was born in Long Island and received a Bachelor's in English at SUNY New Paltz. Sean writes about stuff that matters and sometimes politics.

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