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Republicans and Democrats both debated in August — same state (Iowa), same television program (ABC’s This Week); same time (early Sunday morning); same journalists doing the questioning (ABC’s George Stephanopoulos and The Des Moines Register’s David Yepsen); same 90 minutes of talk.
How do we compare the Rs and Ds? There’s no good way, so the Yonder decided to employ the pseudo-science of tag-clouds.
Here’s how tag clouds (or word clouds) work. We sent the answers given by the candidates through a program that counts how frequently words are used. Common words — and, a, the — are excluded.
We asked the program to list the 100 words most commonly used in the debates. The word clouds are below. The bigger the word appears, the more often it was used in the debate.
What does the tag cloud show? You can see the results below, starting with Republicans and followed by the Ds. Republicans, oddly, mentioned Iraq more times than Democrats (30 to 17). Republicans mentioned “tax” 91 times. In the Democratic debate, tax isn’t among the 100 most used words. “Mistake” was a word often used in the Republican debate; not so for the Democrats. “Farmers” was in the top 100 words used by Democrats. It wasn’t for the Rs.
Okay, you all have fun with this. Remember, the larger the word in the cloud, the more often it popped up. (Notice that the absolute number of times a word was used is in parentheses, for those who have an urge for absolute quantification.)
First, the Republican word cloud:
Now, the 100 words most often used by the Democrats: