July 27, 2015
By David B. Fogel, Ph.D.
Hillary Clinton offered her first major economic speech of the 2016 presidential campaign on Monday, July 13, 2015. The transcript of her remarks can be found here and her address can be viewed here. Her speech lasted about 45 minutes and covered various issues regarding taxation, job creation, education, and loan policy. Here’s an EffectCheck® analysis of her presentation.
The total length of Ms. Clinton’s address was over 5000 words. Figure 1 shows the overall lexical emotional effects, which were stronger in evoked confidence and happiness than is typical in political speeches. Also, while Ms. Clinton at times addressed shortfalls of her opponents’ policies as she sees them, her speech did not evoke abnormally high levels of anxiety, hostility, or depression.
Figure 1: Histogram of Overall Lexical Evoked Emotions
Looking at 100-word moving windows through her address, Figure 2 and Figure 3 show that her evoked emotion bounced from very high to low or very low, without building any consistent lasting emotional theme. In this case, Ms. Clinton’s talk parallels that of Donald Trump’s presidential announcement (see Trump Case Study) with the important exception that Trump did not evoke any lexical confidence for the first quarter of his address; Ms. Clinton moved much more quickly to evoking confidence, as well as happiness and compassion.
Figure 2: 100-Word Moving Window for Evoked Anxiety, Hostility, and Depression
Figure 3: 100-Word Moving Window for Evoked Confidence, Compassion, and Happiness
Note that there was no specific use of any variation between anxiety, hostility, and depression throughout Ms. Clinton’s address. These three emotional scales moved in close concert at almost all times (see Figure 2). Figure 4 and Figure 5 also show considerable correlation between confidence, compassion, and happiness; however, notably evoked compassion was almost always lower than confidence (Figure 4), or happiness (Figure 5).
Figure 2: 100-Word Moving Window for Evoked Confidence and Compassion
Figure 3: 100-Word Moving Window for Evoked Happiness and Compassion
The analysis here suggests that Ms. Clinton took few risks with her average emotional tone in this speech. While very high levels of emotion were evoked at times throughout the address, those high emotions were released rapidly, letting the audience revert from any feeling of overly charged speech. A possible missed opportunity was revealed in the consistently lower evoked levels of compassion as compared to confidence or happiness. Happiness can translate into optimism, but compassion translates into audience engagement, and that could have been stronger in this speech.