When we’re online putting our thoughts and ideas into writing, grammar can mean the difference between getting our point across and having it misconstrued. If there’s one place where clear communication is a must, it’s the world of politics.
Ready or not, presidential debate season has begun. Armed with our grammar algorithms and research team, we headed to each 2016 presidential candidate’s official Facebook page to take a lighthearted look at how well their supporters write. We began our series by analyzing the Republican candidates and found that Carly Fiorina’s followers had more precise grammar while Donald Trump’s made more mistakes in their passionate discourse.
Now, just in time for the first DNC debate on October 13, we’ve analyzed the Democratic candidates’ supporters to see who manages to keep a cool head and who is more error-prone when the political discussions heat up.
Check out this infographic for a look at how the candidates ranked based on their supporters’ performances. Take a look at the combined results for a fun comparison of the two parties.
We began by taking a large sample of Facebook comments containing at least fifteen words from each Democratic candidate’s official page between May, 2015 and August, 2015. Next, we created a set of guidelines to help limit (as much as possible) the subjectivity of categorizing the comments as positive or negative. Since the point of the study was to analyze the writing of each candidate’s supporters, we considered only obviously positive or neutral comments. Obviously negative or critical comments, as well as ambiguous or borderline negative comments, were disqualified.
We then randomly selected at least 180 of these positive and neutral comments (~6,000 words) to analyze for each candidate. Using Grammarly, we identified the errors in the comments, which were then verified and tallied by a team of live proofreaders. For the purposes of this study, we counted only black-and-white mistakes such as misspellings, wrong and missing punctuation, misused or missing words, and subject-verb disagreement. We ignored stylistic variations such as the use of common slang words, serial comma usage, and the use of numerals instead of spelled-out numbers.