An EffectCheck® Analysis of Jeb Bush’s Announcement of his Candidacy for President of the United States

August 3, 2015

By David B. Fogel, Ph.D.

Jeb Bush announced his candidacy for the presidency on June 15, 2015 at Miami-Dade College. The text of his address can be found here. Bush’s remarks were much more concise than some of his competitors; his address was just shy of 2250 words, about one-third the length of Donald Trump’s announcement, for example. By using EffectCheck®, we’re able to identify some interesting patterns of evoked emotions throughout Bush’s remarks.

Overall Assessment

Figure 1 shows the overall assessment of his speech. For political speech, his remarks evoked lower than average levels of anxiety, hostility, and depression, and simultaneously higher levels of confidence, compassion, and happiness. It’s a testament to word crafting to be able to criticize competitors, as well as the current administration, and do it without raising a lot of anxiety, hostility, and depression. It will be interesting to compare this approach to others’ and see which is ultimately most effective.

Jeb Bush Overall Lexical Evoked Emotions

FIGURE 1: Histogram of lexical evoked emotions in Bush’s announcement



Emotional Flow

Figure 2 shows the lexical effects with respect to anxiety, hostility, and depression within 100-word moving windows through Bush’s speech. The graph shows that Bush used some oscillation in emotion but rarely evoked very high levels of these “negative” emotions. The high points of these emotions occurred while Bush was criticizing President Obama for using the Crusades as a counterpoint to ISIS atrocities and leading the country to what Bush described as “military inferiority.” Of note, Bush concludes his address with low to very low levels of negativity.

Jeb Bush 100-Word Window

FIGURE 2: 100-word moving window analysis with respect to anxiety, hostility, and depression in Bush’s remarks



Figure 3 shows the lexical effects with respect to confidence, compassion, and happiness within 100-word moving windows. There’s clear correlation between this evoked emotions, but no singular dominance of one over the other (compare with Hillary Clinton’s recent economic address, analyzed here). Also, importantly, unlike Donald Trump’s announcement address (analyzed here), Bush starts with high levels of evoked “positive” emotions. He also concludes with a strong emphasis on positive emotions.

Jeb Bush 100-Word Window

FIGURE 2: 100-word moving window analysis with respect to anxiety, hostility, and depression in Bush’s remarks



Point of Interest

Figure 4 shows an interesting use of very high evoked confidence just after very high evoked anxiety (and also hostility and depression). After Bush reached the highest points of emotion in criticizing the current administration, he followed that with very high levels of confidence. This coincided with Bush’s remarks that he would take care of veterans and troops, and “rebuild our vital friendships.” This was a point of important emotional contrast, associating high levels of “negative” emotions with the current administration and contrasting that with high levels of confidence in himself.

Jeb Bush 100-Word Window

FIGURE 4: 100-word moving window analysis with respect to anxiety and confidence in Bush’s remarks. The black oval highlights Bush’s transition from very high evoked anxiety (and hostility and depression) to very high evoked confidence



Summary

Jeb Bush’s announcement speech followed a traditional use of evoking strong positive emotions at the start and finish of the address. Bush managed to offer political criticisms without raising undue anxiety, hostility, or depression. Moreover, in the short period that he did evoke high levels of “negative” emotions, he did this is a way that helped him to contrast those emotions with a high degree of evoked confidence associated with what he offered as his own solutions to the problems he described.