To give more insight into debates and a different sort of view of the arguments people are using in debates, we put together a debate stats page. The statistics reflect the kind of language people are using to debate their points, including word length, readability scoring of the arguments, and a word frequency cloud.
We’ve been putting up the election debates, like tonight’s Vice Presidential Debate Transcript, and the VP debate stats show that Palin used more complicated phrasing than Biden. We’re using a standard formula to rate the grade level of the arguments called the Flesh-Kincaid Readability Grade Level formula. It takes into account the average length of sentences and the average number of syllables in those words to determine the readability of the arguments.
Since the graph of word lengths shows that Biden and Palin used about the same length words, that means her sentences were longer overall. The stats for the Presidential Foreign Policy Debate show that the language level McCain and Obama used was more similar. Both spoke at an 11th grade level of understandability.
As always, let us know what you think about the stats page, and any suggestions about other sorts of info you would want to know about debates you’re participating in.