Presidential Candidate Word Clouds

Posted: January 9, 2012 in Uncategorized

I thought one way to see what values and concepts are most important to each of the presidential candidates is to see what they talk about the most.
I’ve seen this done with individual speeches before, but I wanted to accumulate a collection of speeches across the course of the candidates’ campaigns to see which ideas keep coming up.

For President Obama, has a collection of every public statement he’s made during his years in office. It’s a massive amount of data, but I’d like to compile it all into a single word cloud. So far I’m through about 1 year’s worth.
Other candidates don’t have as complete of a record, so I’m focusing on simply collecting their full speeches off of various websites. Since most candidates have 10 or fewer full speeches available online, I’m avoiding interviews and Q&A for the Republican candidates to avoid biasing the results too much with the opinions of the reporters.

What you see for the Republican candidates then is an illustration of their political platform as shaped by themselves through their major campaign speeches. There are clear differences in the emphasis of the different candidates.

Obama’s word cloud, by contrast is not nearly as controlled, since it amasses every statement he’s made over the vast array of issues a president must deal with. This includes major speeches, welcoming of award winners, meetings with foreign heads of state, townhalls and press briefings. As a result, Obama’s cloud becomes more broad and vague. Individual issues such as Iran are drowned out by the core repeating values and principles of his presidency as well as certain speech mannerisms. It’s interesting to study, and the overall shape of the cloud is something much less easily manipulated than that seen by the other candidates. A cloud of his campaign speeches or state of the union addresses would probably be more similar to those of the Republican candidates, but this shows more where his true core focus lies.

Rick Santorum
Wordle: Rick Santorum Speeches
Newt Gingrich
Wordle: Newt Gingrich Speeches
Mitt Romney
Wordle: Mitt Romney's Speeches
Rick Perry
Wordle: Rick Perry Speeches
Ron Paul
Wordle: Ron Paul Speeches
John Huntsman
Wordle: John Huntsman Speeches
Herman Cain
Wordle: Herman Cain Speeches
Michelle Bachmann
Wordle: Michelle Bachmann Speeches
Wordle: Obama 2011 statements

  1. funnyphuppo says:

    Once again, very cool. Are there certain words you left out, like “the”, “a” and prepositions. I am wondering if a little filtering of “filler words” may help clarify the real focus of these politicians..

    • jimmythehack says:

      Yep I used which has some filtering for extremely common words. There’s also the option to remove certain words, which I did for things like “Laughter” and “Applause”.

      I experimented with removing other filler words, but found the distinction of which ones to keep was pretty hazy so I decided to keep it essentially unedited. Obama’s word cloud especially has a lot of these vague filler words since the sample size of speeches was so large for him.

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