Skip to: Content
Skip to: Site Navigation
Skip to: Search


Palin speaks at higher grade level than Biden?

By Jimmy Orr / October 4, 2008



Elections are full of surprises.

Skip to next paragraph

Recent posts

Take John McCain's recent suspension of his campaign, for example.  Or the surprise pick of Sarah Palin to be his running mate.  Or the John Edwards affair.  Or Joe Biden criticizing his own campaign for a negative ad on McCain (oh yeah, he took that back).

For some, a study showing Sarah Palin spoke at a higher grade level than Joe Biden in Thursday night's debate, will come as a surprise.

Grade level

CNN is reporting that a language monitoring service concluded that Palin's remarks on Thursday were ranked at a higher grade level than Joe Biden's.  She spoke at between a 9th and 10th grade level while Joe Biden spoke at about an eighth grade level.

The only real reason this makes any news, of course, is because of the trouncing Palin received following her disastrous interview with Katie Couric.  Following the series of interviews, questions about Palin's intelligence were raised throughout the media free world.

With her performance on Thursday night widely reviewed as positive and if she continues to have more favorable outings with the press, the story will be less on her abilities and more on the top of the ticket.

Palin VS Biden

The study also shows that both candidates spoke around the same number of words.  Palin spoke 5,235 words - of which the word "maverick" was roughly 5,000 of those.

While Biden uttered some 5,492 words, which is impressive considering that in prior debates that's the length of one sentence.

Other results of the study show that they scored evenly on the numbers of letters per word used (4.4 letters each) and they drew a statistical tie on the amount of sentences per paragraph - 2.7  for Biden and 2.6 for Palin.

In terms of ease of reading, the remarks matched up closely as well with Biden scoring a 66.7 and Palin scoring a 62.4.  The study says a 100 is the easiest to read.

Easier to understand

But a higher grade level doesn't mean what you're saying is understandable.  CNN brings up a Palin sentence toward the end of the debate.

"What I would do, also, if that were ever to happen, though, is to continue the good work he is so committed to of putting government back on the side of the people and get rid of the greed and corruption on Wall Street and in Washington," Palin said.

The firm grades that sentence at a super doctorate level giving it an 18.3 grade.

Read Comments

View reader comments | Comment on this story