Dumbing Down Political Speech
Pretty much everyone notices that political speech has become more bitterly partisan in recent years. Now a study finds that speechifying by our leaders in D. C. has also been dumbing down, nearly a full grade level since just seven years ago.
Measured by the Flesch-Kincaid test, congressional oratory has dropped from an 11.5 grade level on average to a 10.6 grade level. This compares to the U. S. Constitution’s ranking of 17.8 and the Declaration of Independence’s ranking of 15.1.
Is there a partisan take on all this? Well, yes and no. All 10 of the lowest ranking orators are Republicans. But, 8 of the top 10 highest ranking orators are also Republicans.
Where does President Obama rank? Go read another article if you’re an Obama fan. The President, regaled by so many for his intelligence, gives State of the Union addresses that barely rise to an 8th grade level, among the lowest rankings in the 70 years of orally delivered State of the Union addresses.
Here are the results found by the Sunlight Foundation in its study.