Posted by Dan on Nov 15th, 2008
Nov 15

Speech Grade level
Kennedy Inaugural Address 10.8
Reagan “Tear Down This Wall” 9.8
Lincoln “Gettysburg Address” 9.1
Martin Luther King “I Have a Dream” 8.8
Obama 2004 Democrat Convention 8.3
Obama Victory Speech “Yes, We Can” 7.4

Global Language Monitor analyzed the words in several speeches and assigned grade levels, or reading levels, to each.  There are a number of readability metrics and they pretty much agree on specific texts.  GLM gives Obama a 9.3 in the last Presidential Debate, and McCain a 7.3.

For comparison, another source gives George W. Bush a 6.7 and Al Gore a 7.6 in the 2000 debates.

To carry on the school analogy, my impression during the campaign was that Obama was speaking to the students who were headed for community college or university, while McCain was speaking to those headed for vocational training.  This made Obama an elitist who looked down on the regular folks bitterly clinging to their guns and Bibles.  I don’t know who Sarah Palin was speaking to, maybe the special education kids.

Critics Rant has an online readability analyzer.  How readable is Regruntled?

blog readability test

OK, I think that’s fair.  In comparison, the most difficult blog I read is Overcoming Bias.  It’s also one of the most rewarding, but it’s not for everyone.  Their readability is:

blog readability test