What Your Favorite 2016 Presidential Candidate Might Say About Your Grammar
Social media posts have never been known for their exceptional grammar, but is it really possible that your grammar skills could correlate with your political preferences? That appears to be the implication behind Grammarly's new study. Released Wednesday, the study of more than 3,000 political social media posts reveals the grammar habits of each presidential candidate's supporters — and identifies a few trends that characterize the grammar of voters on each side of the aisle.
Grammarly, a grammar-checking company that promises to seriously outperform Word's spellcheck, analyzed at least 180 positive and neutral Facebook posts for each of the 19 candidates in the race to the White House to evaluate the grammar of the candidates' supporters. It's not necessarily a representative sample — after all, there are way more Republican candidates than Democratic ones, so there's more room for error on the Republican side of the analysis. Still, the results are interesting nonetheless: Republican supporters tended to use fewer words per post — 32.4 to Democrats' 41.8 — yet they made more than twice as many mistakes per 100 words — 8.7 mistakes compared with Democrats' 4.2. Republicans also used fewer unique words per 1,000 words — just 245 as opposed to Democrats' 300. When you break down the results by candidate, things get even more interesting.
Here's what your favorite presidential candidate might say about your grammar... assuming, of course, you're the type of person to comment on his or her Facebook page.
Congrats, Chafee-ians. You get a gold star for good grammar. Grammarly found just 3.1 grammar mistakes per 100 words among posts by Chafee's supporters, the lowest of any candidate's supporters. This is somewhat ironic because Chafee is a bit of a rule-breaker himself, switching from a Republican to a Democrat throughout the course of his political career.
Members of #WebbNation don't come in far behind Chafee's fans. Their posts registered a measly 3.3 mistakes per 100 words. Now if only this success would translate to the polls.
Sanders' whole campaign is built on the use of improper spelling, a là "feel the Bern." Fortunately, that's one of the only words his supporters misspell. They only revealed 3.7 mistakes per 100 words.
O'Malley's supporters seem grammatically accurate and creative. Grammarly counted 4.6 mistakes per 100 words — a big jump from Sanders' supporters' 3.7, but still the fourth highest out of 19. Grammarly also found that O'Malley's supporters used about 322 unique words per 1,000 total words, the highest of any reported candidate.
Rounding out the top five most grammatically accurate fans — and the Democratic Party — are Clinton's supporters, who demonstrated 6.3 mistakes per 100 words. You've got grammar down, but it's email you might have trouble with. (Too soon?)
Fiorina's supporters have more in common with Clinton's than they'd probably care to admit. They also made 6.3 mistakes per 100 words. Unfortunately, they couldn't measure up in terms of unique words. Clinton's supporters used 290 unique words per 1,000 total words, but Fiorina's supporters used just 250 unique words. Still, this was higher than average for the Republican side.
Carson's supporters had the second-highest grammatical accuracy out of the Republican candidates, with 6.6 mistakes per 100 words. However, they were also some of the least creative, using just 215 unique words per 1,000. Don't be discouraged, though! We know Carson is very intelligent — after all, he is a doctor — but even he says things he shouldn't.
Graham's supporters aren't too shabby at Graham-mer. (That's cheesy, I'm sorry.) They came in near the middle of the pack but above average for the Republican Party, with 7.2 mistakes per 100 words. Let's hope some of those mistakes were cheesy Graham-mer puns with his last name.
Pataki's supporters are about as grammatically correct as Graham's, coming in with 7.2 mistakes per 100 words. However, Pataki may have some more creative or unique minds in his court. His supporters posted 270 unique words per 1,000 total words — among the best for the Republican side.
Cruz's supporters are pretty so-so with grammar. According to Grammarly's study, they brought in 7.3 mistakes per 100 words and 240 unique words per 1,000 total words. When it comes to grammar, they're just Cruz-ing along.
Kasich's supporters demonstrated 7.7 mistakes per 100 words. Unfortunately, that's almost double the percentage he holds in the latest Republican polls. Maybe his supporters need to focus more on spreading the word about him regardless of their grammar capabilities.
Bush's supporters give a mediocre performance when it comes to grammar. They made 7.9 mistakes per 100 words, but that's still above average for the Republican candidates. I just hope they're using the exclamation point frequently in honor of Bush's campaign logo.
Huckabee likes to make powerful statements about personal liberty, particularly where Kim Davis is involved. But some of his supporters' statements are weakened by inaccurate grammar. Huckabee's supporters made 8 mistakes per 100 words, which puts him near the middle of the pack on the Republican side.
Although not high on the list overall, Jindal's supporters also came up above average on the Republican side. They made 8.2 mistakes per 100 words, beating out the supporters of some big names who make up the rest of the list.
The polls currently have it the other way around, but Christie falls right behind Jindal in terms of grammatically accurate fans. In the sample taken for this study, Christie's supporters made 8.3 mistakes per 100 words. They've got some work to do, but then again, so does Christie.
The other doctor in the race falls further short when it comes to his supporters' grammar. Paul's fans posted on social media with about 8.4 mistakes per 100 words. That puts them in fourth from the bottom on the list, but remarkably, they're still above average on the Republican side.
The good news is that Rubio's supporters have bolstered him in the polls in recent weeks. The not-so-good news is that his supporters don't have the best grammar. They made 8.8 mistakes per 100 words, slightly worse than average for the Republican candidates. Let's hope Rubio's fans are just too busy answering poll questions and supporting their candidate in other ways to double-check their grammar on Facebook.
Santorum's fans made 11.5 mistakes per 100 words, placing them in second to last for good grammar. Stay encouraged, though! If Santorum can keep campaigning with just 2 percent of the vote in his court, then you can keep brushing up on the grammar notes you've probably forgotten since middle school.
Uh-oh. Trump's supporters came in at the bottom of the pack, making 12.6 mistakes per 100 words. At least they can take comfort in the fact that their candidate remains at the top of the most recent polls.
It's important to remember that Grammarly's study did not necessarily pull from a representative sample of voters. On the other hand, it's also worth noting that none of these grammatical errors can be blamed on sacrificing characters to conform to a 140-character limit, as Grammarly only analyzed Facebook posts.