Case Study: Republican Nominee for Vice President, Mike Pence’s Address at the 2016 Republican National Convention

July 21, 2016

By David B. Fogel, Ph.D.

On July 20, 2016, Gov. Mike Pence accepted the Republican party’s nomination for vice president of the United States. His acceptance speech can be found here. An EffectCheck® analysis of the address shows that it likely met all significant objectives in terms of the evoked lexical emotion.

EffectCheck Details of Pence’s Address

Pence’s speech totaled close to 3000 words. Figure 1 shows the overall lexical emotional impact as compared to other political speeches. The speech evoked high confidence, typical levels of compassion and happiness, and importantly generally low levels of anxiety, hostility, and depression.

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Figure 1. EffectCheck histogram from Pence’s address at the Republican National Convention.

Examining the speech in 100-word moving windows provides a more informative view. In terms of evoked hostility, which was low overall, Figure 2 shows that there were only brief escalations of evoked hostility, with very high levels coming when Pence addressed terrorism, the US military, and confronting “the enemies of our freedom.”

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Figure 2. A 100-word moving window analysis of evoked hostility in Pence’s address.

Figure 3 shows that evoked confidence, compassion, and happiness were highly correlated. Pence did not generally attempt to employ one of these emotions in the absence of the others. In addition, Pence evoked high to very high levels of each of these emotions at the open and close of this address, as is traditional in such speeches.

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Figure 3. A 100-word moving window analysis of evoked confidence, compassion, and happiness in Pence’s address.

Figure 4 shows the evoked levels of anxiety throughout Pence’s address. The EffectCheck results show that Pence did nothing in this address to increase a feeling of anxiety, which was likely one of his primary objectives.

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Figure 4. A 100-word moving window analysis of evoked anxiety in Pence’s address.

In total, EffectCheck analysis shows that Pence’s address evoked typical levels of compassion and happiness, while evoking higher levels of confidence and consistently low levels of anxiety.