AUSTIN, Texas. Nov. 2, 2010 According to its NarrativeTracker Index, the Global Language Monitor has forecast the results of the
Mid-term Elections based on the number of citations received, relating to Liberal/Progressive, Conservative and Independent labels. Election Forecasting by Narrative Tracking has never before been attempted by any party.
Liberal and Progressives were measured together and separately. Based on the analysis concluded on November 1st , the results are projected to largely inversely mirror the results of 2008, where Obama won some 53% of the vote to McCain’s 46% with 1% other.
With the Independents splitting 6/4 in favor of the Republicans, the 2010 results would range from 56-53% Republicans; with 44% to 47% for the Democrats, with 1% other.
The previous analysis was made in September with six weeks remaining before the elections. There was no game-altering ‘October Surprise;’ positions around the various issues only solidified.
The NarrativeTracker Index is based on the national discourse, providing a real-time, accurate picture of what the public is saying about any topic related to healthcare, at any point in time. NarrativeTracker analyzes the Internet, blogosphere, the print and electronic media, as well as new social media sources (such as Twitter). Including social media in the mix of Internet and electronic and print media sources provides a very clear (and accurate) snapshot of what the people are actually thinking.
The predictive element only adds to NarrativeTracker’s power. In addition to the NTI, the NarrativeTracker Arc™ follows the rise and fall of sub-stories within the main narrative to provide a comprehensive overview of the narratives being tracked.
About the Global Language Monitor: Austin, Texas-based Global Language Monitor analyzes and catalogues the latest trends in word usage and word choices, and their impact on the various aspects of culture, with a particular emphasis upon Global English. Since 2003, GLM has launched a number of innovative products and services monitoring the Internet, the Blogosphere, Social Media as well as the Top 25,000 print and electronic media sites,
AUSTIN, Texas, November 1, 2010. The final narrative for President Obama, twenty-four hours before the Mid-term Elections has evolved into a negative mélange of historic proportions. This was reported by the Global Language Monitor (GLM), which has been tracking the narratives that have dominated the perception of the administration and its handling of both its achievements and crises.
In July, the President’s five most prominent narrative arcs included being out-of-touch or aloof; being responsible for the ever-increasing deficit; not responding with enough vigor or authority to the Gulf Oil Spill; the victory of pushing through Healthcare Reform; and gaining a reputation as a Chicago-style pol. The President’s Oval Office Address on the Gulf Oil Spill seems to have been the temporal demarcation point between a positive or negative narrative carrying over into the 2010 Mid-term Election. Since that time there are many who contend that Obama’s narrative has been shaped by forces largely out of his control. And indeed, this may be true.
In the following months no single narrative has risen above the others; on the contrary the five Obama Narratives have largely blended into a largely negative, yet muddled, story line. The result has been an admixture of these five narratives, resulting in an unfortunate amalgam for the president and his party to overcome.
GLM has also been tracking political buzzwords for the last three election cycles. An analysis of the Top Buzzwords of the Mid-Term Elections completed yesterday, and published in a separate release, lend support to these conclusions.
Below is a list of the Obama narratives that have evolved through the last year.
1. Obama as out-of-touch or aloof
This has only grown stronger over time. Professorial has now been added to the mix, which is often considered condescending by certain academic communities.
2. Obama and the deficit
Words linking Obama to deficit have steadily increased as those linking Bush to the deficit have declined.
3. Obama and the Oil Spill
The completion of the relief well apparently did not provide the president with relief from the issue. In fact, the President now has more negative ties to the Katrina inundation of New Orleans than George W. Bush.
4. Obama as HealthCare Reformer
The president’s signature achievement has been largely avoided by members of his party for fear of the overall negative reception to the program adversely affecting their personal chances of (re-)election. The mistake is explain away the frustration with how the bill was passed, where many had a first-hand look at congressional (and presidential) wheeling dealing as it best (or worst).
5. Obama as the Chicago-style pol
This usually conveys the ability to make things happen — though in a stealthy, force-your-hand manner reminiscent of the days of cigar-filled back rooms. Even this has been undone by the ongoing public perception of Obama’s seeming inability to get things done (in spite of the things he actually did).
GLM has been tracking political language for the last three election cycles As we have detailed over the last two years, while in the midst of the positive media frenzy of the election and inauguration, we were already finding the elements of anger and outrage as one of the highest on record. At that time, GLM examined the global print and electronic media for the seven days after the following events: the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the start of the Iraq War, and the week after the Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast, and the awarding of the AIG bonuses.
The ranking of ‘outrage’ found in the media was surprising, even startling.
The AIG Bonuses, 2009
The 9/11 Terrorist Attacks, 2001
Hurricane Katrina and the Inundation of New Orleans, 2005
The start of the Iraq War, 2003
During the last several months our analysis shows that anger and rage largely have been replaced by frustration and disillusionment.In fact, our continuing NarrativeTracker analysis has found what appears to be a major disconnection between what is reported in the media and what is being discussed in Social Media and the rest of Cyberspace. This includes a number of Media Memes that resonant among the media.
These Media Memes include:
1. Outrage in the Electorate
To a large extent, the rise of Outrage in the electorate (accompanying the AIG bonuses) was overlooked while the focus was on the ebullience accompanying the Obama election and Inauguration. Only this year have ‘anger’ and ‘rage’ become a focus — while the citations show that the electorate has moved beyond this Media Meme to ‘disappointment’ and ‘frustration’.
2. The Great Recession
The electorate makes no distinction between Recession and Great Recession. In fact, the Great Recession Media Meme is found to be used only in the elite media, while the electorate seems to believe that something far larger is taking (or has taken) place. The analysis shows the underlying belief to be that that economy has undergone a structural change that will take years to mend, if ever. (They knew this when Bush tried to explain why the US, according to traditional definitions, was not yet in a recession, and again know this as today’s economists try to explain how the Great Recession is now over because we grew 2% in the last fiscal quarter).
3. The Idea of Insurgency
The consensus is that there are now about one hundred, or fewer, congressional seats in play, which means that some 77% of the seats are basically locked in. The idea of insurgency makes great headlines (and ensures a plethora of more great headlines as the future unfolds). But the fact remains that a minimal number of congressional seats are now in play.
4. The Tea Party
Tea Party ‘members’ have turned out to be older, better educated, and far more influential than their originally portrayal. If the war in Afghanistan is fighting the last wars (the Surge in Iraq and the Vietnam ‘quagmire’ then viewing the Tea Party as anything other than a grass roots movement, was a mis-reading of the Obama ‘insurgency’ of ’07 and ’08.
5. The 24-hour News Cycle
The 24-hour news cycle is true only insofar as the headlines constantly shift. But the deeper currents are a much more prevailing force that apparently actually drive and shape events. Focusing on the swirling froth of the ever-changing headlines, allows many to miss the structural changes that are occurring below – much like a tsunami is only apparently when the submerged wave finally hits the shoreline.GLM’s Top Political Buzzwords are based on the Narrative Tracker Index. Narrative Tracker is based on the national discourse, providing a real-time, accurate picture of what the public is saying about any topic, at any point in time. Narrative Tracker analyzes the Internet, blogosphere, the print and electronic media, as well as new social media sources (such as Twitter). In addition to the NTI, the NarrativeTracker Arc™ follows the rise and fall of sub-stories within the main narrative to provide a comprehensive overview of the narratives being tracked.
The next report will discuss the list of the Top Political Buzzwords of the 2010 Mid-term elections.
Media: For more information, please call 1.512.815.8836.
About The Global Language Monitor
Austin-Texas-based Global Language Monitor analyzes and catalogues the latest trends in word usage and word choices, and their impact on the various aspects of culture, with a particular emphasis upon Global English.
For more information, call 1.512.815.8836, email editor@LanguageMonitor.com, or visit www.LanguageMonitor.com
What Political Buzzwords Tell Us about the Vote, Part II
AUSTIN, Texas. October 21, 2010 — Reports of ‘anger’ and ‘rage’ at the economy, incumbents or President Obama himself as the main theme of the 2010 Mid-term elections have been greatly overstated, possibly for political motivations. In an analysis of the Top
Political Buzzwords of the 2010 Mid-terms, Global Language Monitor (GLM), has determined that the words ‘anger’ and ‘rage’ and their various combinations come in a distant second to words associated with ‘disappointment’, ‘frustration’ or being ‘let down’ by the actions of the Administration.
Anger and Rage: 27%
Disappoint and Frustration: 73%
GLM has also found that the top three subjects linked to ‘anger’ and ‘rage’ outside the Administration are Healthcare Reform, the various actions termed Bailouts, and the initial Stimulus package, formally named the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
GLM has found ‘anger’ and ‘rage’ to appear far less in the media on the internet, blogs and social media sites than one might expect from reading the headlines. In the last 30 days, the New York Times used the word ‘rage’ in political contexts some 70 times, a far greater percentage than what was found in the overall media, on the Internet, the Blogosphere and in Social Media.
The phrase ‘incumbent rage’ is highlighted as a major trend of the Mid-term elections. Once again, the use of this phrase and variations is noteworthy only in their dearth of references.
World-wide news searches find that ‘anti-incumbent’ appears about 550 times in the global media in the last 30 days, of which some twenty percent of the references appear in the AP, the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN and the Wall Street Journal, while ‘anti-incumbent rage’ appears twice. In comparison, the word incumbent appears some 19,000 times.
Global Media Percentage of Total
Anti-incumbent Rage: 0.01%
When you add in the Internet, the Blogs and Social Media as well the top 5,000 global media, the total number of citations approach 20,000,000 and reflect a broader dialogue about the topic. However, ‘anti-incumbent rage’ still hovers below 1%.
Internet Percentage of Total
Anti-incumbent Rage: 0.05%
Lack of Competitiveness in Congressional Races
Over the last several decades, the political cognoscenti have bemoaned the lack of competitiveness of congressional elections. Both parties, of course, have done all within their power to keep it that way, primarily through the gerrymandering of districts to their own benefit. The latest trend is to create ‘majority-minority’ districts that virtually ensure the election of a member of a specific demographic group.
In 2010, various news organizations estimate that there are between 35 and 80 competitive congressional districts, or districts ‘in-play’. This is, of course, is attributed to ‘voter’ and/or ‘anti-incumbent rage.’ Even so, this means that a majority of districts, ranging from 92% to 81% are still considered non-competitive. To our way of thinking, this is a very important development – and one that should be further encouraged.
In a related finding, GLM found that overall the Tea Party is viewed more positively than negatively, by a small percentage of the overall number of citations.
Positive Associations: 54%
Negative associations: 46%
We will discuss this further in What the Top Political Buzzwords Tell Us about the Vote, Part III.
GLM’s Top Political Buzzwords are based on the Narrative Tracker Index. Narrative Tracker is based on the national discourse, providing a real-time, accurate picture of what the public is saying about any topic, at any point in time. Narrative Tracker analyzes the Internet, blogosphere, the print and electronic media, as well as new social media sources (such as Twitter). In addition to the NTI, the NarrativeTracker Arc™ follows the rise and fall of sub-stories within the main narrative to provide a comprehensive overview of the narratives being tracked.
Austin-Texas-based Global Language Monitor analyzes and catalogues the latest trends in word usage and word choices, and their impact on the various aspects of culture, with a particular emphasis upon Global English.
For more information, call 1.512.815.8836, email editor@GlobalLanguageMonitor.com, or visit www.LanguageMonitor.com
Paul JJ Payack
What the Top Political Buzzwords Tell Us About the Vote, Part I
AUSTIN, Texas, October 4, 2010 — Recently, the Global Language Monitor (GLM) announced that the Top Buzzwords of the Mid-term Election. GLM found that the buzzwords portrayed a strongly negative narrative that has increasingly entangled the president and his party. The Top Ten Buzzwords included Narrative, Lower Taxes, Obama as a Muslim, Conservative, Climate Change, Liberal, Recession (linked to Obama), Hillary Clinton related to Obama, Tea Partiers, and Obama as Aloof, Detached, or Professorial. In the interim GLM has found that Obama as a Smoker will break into the Top Ten when the list is updated two week hence.
This is the first of a number of reports that will analyze what the top political buzzwords seemingly tells us about the upcoming vote.
The first thing you notice about the Top Political Buzzwords of the Midterm Elections is that many concern President Obama as a person. Two years into his presidency, this tells us something about the president’s relationship to the American people: a good number of citizens are only now beginning to understand the president as a person. And it is interesting to see that many news organizations, apart from the blogs and talk radio shows, are also following these citizens’ lead. Only now is President Obama being ‘vetted’.
According to yourDictionary.com, ‘to vet’ is the process ‘to examine, investigate, or evaluate in a thorough or expert way’. In the throes of Obama-mania, many were apparently willing to take a chance on the engaging, handsome, thoughtful newcomer, especially after many eventful and exhausting years under his predecessor. We read the autobiographies, we joined the explosive rallies, and we watched as the entire world seemed to yearn for a ‘regime change’ in the US. We were, after all, the people we had been waiting for. But in the ‘rush to victory’ we never really got to know the president. not in the same way we knew, say, Hillary.
We’ve known Hillary, her husband, her daughter, her history, her religion, her schooling, her scandals, alleged or otherwise, the rumors, for better or for ill — we know Hillary.
And we knew John McCain’s life since Vietnam, Albert Gore’s roommate at Harvard, GBW’s stint as a cheerleader at Andover, John Kerry testifying before congress in ’69, Bush pere , and Bush pere’s pere, Ronald Reagan since Bedtime for Bonzo, and so on. All of the above have decades of public service and have (or had) been vetted every which way possible, and then some.
An exception, of course, was Jimmy Carter, the peanut farmer from Plains, Georgia (and nuclear engineer) — as he first introduced himself to the nation. Carter was elected to office at least partly as an antidote to what had transpired before him (Watergate), and was thought to be part of a national cleansing, a fresh start, a break with a troubled past. And, like Obama, was relatively new to the political scene, and lightly vetted, when elected to the presidency.
In Barack Obama’s case he is more than a self-made man; Obama is a self-defined man. In this he is not unlike John F. Kennedy with the legend of PT-109 and his Pulitzer-prize best-seller, Profiles in Courage, which was, perhaps, ghost-written. Though JFK was a relative newcomer to the national scene, the stories of Joe Kennedy as a ‘rum-runner’ during Prohibition and his maternal grandfather ‘Honey Fitz’ Fitzgerald, the storied Boston politician, were circulating for decades before JFK stood for the presidency.
As a self-defined man, much of the traditional vetting provided by the media was compressed into a number of months, and much of that was taken directly from his autobiographies, Dreams from My Father and The Audacity of Hope. And so we are back to the self-defined man, to a large extent, vetting himself.
And so it is none too surprising that many of the buzzwords surrounding the Midterms are about Obama as a man, a person, a personality.
Comparing data from just before the 2008 general election, we see much the same patterns as today. Citations about Obama’s religion, his supposed ‘aloofness,’ and even his smoking were much higher than what we had seen for other candidates (Bush, Kerry, Gore, etc.) in the previous two election cycles.
What we are seeing in the data appears to be a continuation of the process that ordinarily would have been ongoing for a decade or more. So the public vetting of the president continues on the Internet, in the Blogs, throughout Social Media, and in the print and electronic media, itself.
Social Media and Internet Analysis Presage Future Directions in Healthcare Reform
DALLAS & AUSTIN, Texas – September 28, 2010 – The Healthcare Reform effort has faltered in the public mind as projected by the Healthcare NarrativeTracker™ Index (HNTI™) over the last several months. The results of the Healthcare NarrativeTracker Index were reported over the previous four months in a series of joint announcements by OpenConnect, the Dallas-based leader in process intelligence and analytics solutions, and Austin-based Global Language Monitor, the media analytics company.
For more information about GLM’s Narrative Tracking and Business Intelligences call 1.512.815.8836 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“It seems that healthcare reform was never really ‘Paid For’ as promised to the American people. The unfortunate reality is one of sharply rising premiums, severely reduced options for coverage and continued out-of-control spending,” said Edward M.L. Peters, CEO of OpenConnect. “The only way to solve this problem is through a comprehensive cost improvement program that focuses on all sectors of the healthcare industry. Saving just $.04 on every healthcare dollar would yield more than enough savings to make this program truly ‘Paid For’ without raising taxes, reducing benefits or cutting reimbursements for services.”
Since being launched earlier this spring, the Healthcare Narrative Tracker Index has found:
Growing concern regarding out-of-control cost increases. Analyses now show that the original cost projections have risen even more steeply as insurance companies race ahead to enact changes in their plans and rises in the price of premiums ahead of implementation.
Increasing national concern about the inability to keep one’s current insurance. This in spite of the president’s oft-stated assertion that “if you like your current health insurance plan, you will be able to keep it.”
Though the President’s statement is technically true, it is now evident that many of those same plans are now being altered, eliminated, or priced out of reach of their current customers. Therefore, according to HNTI, the president’s statement is viewed with deep suspicion.
Sharply rising concern about adding to the deficit. President Barack Obama repeatedly asserted during the healthcare debate that the overhaul legislation would bring down fast-rising health care costs and save money – and not add a penny to the deficit.
At a recent press conference, President Obama offered some caveats when asked about the apparent discrepancy between his promises and the current reality of rising premiums and prices. For example, Medicare’s Office of the Actuary confirmed that healthcare costs would continue to rise, at least through 2019. However, the Congressional Budget Office has recently reaffirmed its earlier finding that the Healthcare Reform effort will reduce the deficit in the long-run. Nevertheless, in contradiction to these statements, the HNTI has been ahead of the curve in tracking public perception as well as the future trajectory of the issue.
In a related development, the US Census Bureau announced earlier this week that the number of uninsured Americans grew to 50.7 million in 2009, now 16.7% of the population, rising from 46.3 million and 15.4% in 2008. Also noted was the decline in number of insured through their employer, falling from 176.3 million to 169.7 million in 2009. If this trend continues through 2010 and into 2011, it will only exacerbate the problem of funding the Healthcare Reform effort, since there will be significantly fewer people to help fund the mandate.
“The value of the Healthcare NarrativeTracker Index clearly extends to its predictive ability,” said Dave Hill, long-time industry observer and principle of Mesabi Associates, the Massachusetts-based technology consulting firm. “Including social media in the mix of Internet and electronic and print media sources provides a very clear (and accurate) snapshot of what the people are actually thinking. The predictive element only adds to the Healthcare NarrativeTracker’s power.”
The Healthcare NTI is based on the national discourse, providing a real-time, accurate picture of what the public is saying about any topic related to healthcare, at any point in time. NarrativeTracker analyzes the Internet, blogosphere, the print and electronic media, as well as new social media sources (such as Twitter). In addition to the NTI, the NarrativeTracker Arc™ follows the rise and fall of sub-stories within the main narrative to provide a comprehensive overview of the narratives being tracked.
AUSTIN, Texas, September 24, 2010. The Global Language Monitor (GLM) today announced that the Top Buzzwords of the Mid-term Elections portray a strongly negative narrative that has increasingly entangled the president and his party with six weeks remaining before the Mid-term elections. The Top Ten Buzzwords include Narrative, Lower Taxes, Obama as a Muslim, Conservative, Climate Change, Liberal, Recession (linked to Obama), Hillary Clinton related to Obama, Tea Partiers, and Obama as Aloof, Detached, or Professorial.
These are a dramatic departure from the top buzzwords immediately preceding the 2008 Presidential election where the Top Buzzword was Change, blame for the recession was clearly assigned to George W. Bush, Raising Taxes was No. 27, and the Surge was still a Top Ten issue as was the price of gasoline. Obamamania was the No. 3 Word of 2008 (after Change and Bailout); Obamamania now stands at No. 63. One consistency: Nuclear Iran was No. 31; now Nuclear Iran is No. 33.
Austin-based Global Language Monitor has been analyzing political buzzwords since the run-up to the Iraq War in 2003.
“The Top Political Buzzwords reflect a strongly negative narrative that the president and his party have six weeks to overcome,” said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of GLM. “Typically an opinion swing of this magnitude can be directly attributable to outside events, not of one’s personal doing.”
Election Forecast: In an additional analysis, the Global Language Monitor has forecast the results of the Mid-term Elections based on the number of citations received, relating to Liberal/Progressive, Conservative and Independent labels. Liberal and Progressives were measured together and separately. Based on the analysis concluded earlier this week, the results are projected to largely inversely mirror the results of 2008, where Obama won some 53% of the vote to McCain’s 46% with 1% other. With the Independents splitting evenly or slightly in favor of the Republicans, the 2010 results would range from 53% to 56% Republicans to 44% to 47% for the Democrats. Of course there are still six weeks before the election with game-altering ‘October Surprises’ a very real possibility.
Some seventy political buzzwords were tracked; the analysis was concluded on September 22, 2010.
The Top Political Buzzwords Six Weeks Out include:
1. Narrative — Idea of the narrative is a strong No. 1
3. Obama Muslim Connection – Two weeks before 2008 Election it was No . 6
4. Conservatives — Stand at 43% of sample citations
5. Climate Change — Always one of Top 5
6. Liberal – Liberal/Progressives stand at 33% of Citations
7. Recession (linked to Obama) — Over 4x the number that link to GWB (No.20)
8. Hillary Clinton — Hillary Ascendant
9. Tea Partiers — Very strong for a recent phenomenon
10. Obama Aloof, detached, Professorial — Reached peak in reaction to his handling the Gulf Oil Spill
11. Raise Taxes — Only 16% of lower taxes (No. 2)
12. Progressive — 74% of Liberal citations; Liberal/Progressives stand at 33% of Citations
13. Deficit Spending — Close to Out-of-Control Spending (No.15)
14. Independents — Independents stand at 20% of citations
15. Out-of-control Spending — Spending is widely viewed as out-of-control
16. Sarah Palin — Apparently, opposition only makes her stronger
17. Healthcare Mandate — Nearly triple the concern for HC Reform (No. 21)
18. Change you can believe in — Not so much, these days
19. Iraq War – Far from top of Mind
20. Recession (linked to Bush) — Warning to Dems, this is fading from view
21. Healthcare reform — Comes in just a bit higher than the Gulf Oil Spill
22. BP Gulf Oil Spill — The BP SpillCam was the No. 1 Television Word (Teleword) of the Year
23. Anti-incumbent — It’s not just a matter of anger; lower than pundits have it
24. Obama “oil spill” response — Major factor in negativity of overall narrative
25. Al Qaeda — Low ranking reflected by several polls, also
26. George Bush — Not much value in running a ‘Not Bush’ Campaign
27. Wall Street Bailout — Bush, Bailout, Pelosi and Limbaugh, Cheney (and Reid) line up closely
28. Grand Zero Mosque — More than 110 times the number of citations for 51 Park Place
29. Nancy Pelosi — Off the radar nowadays
30. Rush Limbaugh — Interesting pairing at Nos, 29 and 30, no?
Other highlights include:
· Afghanistan stands at No. 37
· Obama is now linked to Katrina more often than Bush
· Transparency now stands at No. 43
· Birther seems to receive much more media than deserved (No. 49)
· Sarah Palin’s malapropism Refudiate is No. 55
· Shovel Ready is down to No. 64.
Top Political Buzzwords of Past Elections
The Top Political Buzzwords of the 2008 Elections included: Change, Climate Change, the price of Gasoline, Recession, Experience, and Obama as a Muslim
The Top Political Buzzwords for the 2006 Midterm Elections included: Throes, Quagmire, Credibility, Global Warming, and Insurgency
The Top Political Buzzwords from the 2004 Elections included: Swift Boats, Flip Flop, Quagmire, Fahrenheit 911, Misleader, and Liar!
About Narrative Tracker
The Narrative Tracker is based on the national discourse, providing a real-time, accurate picture of what the public is saying about any topic, at any point in time. NarrativeTracker analyzes the Internet, blogosphere, the print and electronic media, as well as new social media sources (such as Twitter). In addition to the NTI, the NarrativeTracker Arc™ follows the rise and fall of sub-stories within the main narrative to provide a comprehensive overview of the narratives being tracked.
NTI by its very nature is non-biased. When we take a statistical snapshot there is no adjustment for ‘underrepresented’ groups, there are no assumptions about probability of turnout, the proportions of newly registered voters, traditional models, or expanded modularity’s. In other words, it is what it is.
With less than two months to go until the November midterm elections, a clear winner is beginning to emerge in the race to declare the year’s biggest political buzzword.
Hey, buzzwords matter. Who could forget — no matter how much we might like to – such hits from years past as “chad,” “Swift Boat” and “lipstick” as it might be smeared on a pig or a pitbull?
On Tuesday, the website Global Language Monitor, based in Austin, which has been monitoring words on thousands of news, blogs and social network sites since 2003, announced the No. 1 political buzzword so far this year – beating out “climate change,” “Obama Muslim,” “lower taxes” and even “tea partiers” – is (drum roll please) “the narrative.”
The Narrative? “It’s been running strong since last spring,” GLM President Paul J.J. Payack told me in a telephone interview.
That confirmed my suspicion. I don’t even have a computerized algorithm like Payack does, but I, too, had begun to notice in my fanatical surfing of political media that the word “narrative” was popping up with increasing frequency.
For example, Steve and Cokie Roberts observed in a recent column, “For a growing number of Americans, President Barack Obama’s narrative no longer defines who he is.”
Columnist Maureen Dowd similarly wondered back in June how such a gifted storyteller as Obama could “lose control of his own narrative.”
E.J. Dionne, writing in The New Republic, notes Obama has decided to “confront a deeply embedded media narrative that sees a Republican triumph as all but inevitable.”
In fact, “narrative” was popping up so much in reference to Obama as he grappled with crises like the Gulf oil spill that a Washington Post reporter was inspired to lead one feature with, “Sing to me of the Obama narrative, Muse.” [Read More.]
Analysis of Obama’s ‘Turn the Page’ Oval Office address
AUSTIN, TX, September 7, 2010 – President Barack Obama, in his second Oval Office address announced the “American combat mission in Iraq has ended [and] Operation Iraqi Freedom is over”. The seventeen-minute long speech, Obama acknowledged President George W. Bush, but neither thanked him for his role as former Commander-in-Chief nor credited him with the ‘Surge,’ other than as a reference to the current operations in Afghanistan. The Surge, the change in military tactics during the height of the conflict, is widely credited with changing the course of the war. The analysis was performed by the Global Language Monitor. GLM has been analyzing presidential speeches since the turn of the century.
Not surprisingly, the President’s tone was sober, direct, and matter of fact, even workmanlike. There were small rhetorical flourishes, such as referring to “our troops are the steel in our ship of state”. He clearly proclaimed his devotion and admiration for the troops at the same time distancing himself from the war, its causes and execution. His emphasis was on ‘Turning the page’.
His address contained about half the number of passive constructions (7% vs. 13%) as his previous Oval Office address in June. His sentences were some 5% shorter while the length of his paragraphs increased some 20%, which allowed him to more fully express his thinking.
When compared to other presidents’ addresses over the last several decades, this speech compared most closely from a ‘hearability’ or ‘readability’ point of view to President Reagan’s “Tear Down this Wall” speech; however, rhetorically this was not the case.
As for grade-level (using the standard Flesch-Kincaid metrics), this speech was on with Obama’s more recent efforts (between ninth and tenth grades). As noted previously, Obama has moved away from the rhetorical style of his most widely praised oratorical efforts, the ‘Yes We Can’ victory speech in Grant Park and his 2004 Democratic Convention effort in Boston). (The actual numbers are 9.5 and 7.4 and 8.3 respectively.) In doing so, he seems to have abandoned his earlier formula that resulted in the direct emotional impact of his campaign oratory.
[Note: this article clocked in at a 12.3 grade reading level.]
In May 2003, President Bush gave his now infamous ‘Mission Accomplished’ speech declaring an ‘End To Major Combat In Iraq’. However, during the speech, he never actually uttered ‘Mission Accomplished’. Those words were on the ship returning to the San Diego Naval Base, as is the tradition, from overseas duty. Fortunately for President Obama, his backdrop was the Oval Office and pictures of his wife and family.
Social Media and Internet Citations More than Double in 90 Days
DALLAS & AUSTIN, Texas (August 17, 2010) — The Healthcare NarrativeTracker™ has found a sharply rising national concern about keeping one’s insurance and rising healthcare costs in light of the regulations associated with the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The new results of the Healthcare NarrativeTracker Index™ (NTI™) were reported earlier today by OpenConnect, the leader process intelligence and analytics solutions, and The Global Language Monitor, the media analytics company.
The NTI has found that the number of social media and Internet citations are significantly diverging among those who cite healthcare price and premium increases vs. those citing lower costs and premiums decreasing. For example the price and premium percentage increase is now nearly double the percentage (188%) for price and premiums decreasing.
In addition, the analysis indicates that the number of social media and Internet citations regarding ‘keeping one’s insurance’ vs. ‘losing one’s insurance’ have also diverged significantly, especially over the last ninety days, with the citations for ‘losing one’s insurance’ increasing some 1160% over the period.
“The numbers in the Healthcare NarrativeTracker are widely supported by the polls, the surveys, and the media,” said Edward M.L. Peters, CEO of OpenConnect and author of The Paid-for Option, which describes how only through the application of innovation and technology can productivity be achieved in the healthcare industry. “The predictive element of the Healthcare NTI has correctly foreshadowed this shift in public sentiment; it will be interesting to see how this all plays out in the run-up to the mid-term elections.”
On August 3, voters in Missouri overwhelmingly (71%) supported a state measure barring the federal government from penalizing those who do not acquire health insurance – a key measure for funding the Obama Healthcare Reform plan. Other evidence indicates that support for Healthcare reform is flagging. According to the Washington Post, the Kaiser Family Foundation health tracking poll “shows erosion in the intensity of support. Last month, 23 percent of Americans held ‘very favorable’ views of the law. This month, that figure is 14 percent, with most of the falloff coming among Democrats (Republicans and independents already being skeptical).” Other polling reinforces these views.
The Healthcare NTI™ is based on the national discourse, providing a real-time, accurate picture of what the public is saying about any topic related to healthcare, at any point in time. NarrativeTracker analyzes the Internet, blogosphere, the print and electronic media, as well as new social media sources (such as Twitter). In addition to the NTI, the NarrativeTracker Arc™ follows the rise and fall of sub-stories within the main narrative to provide a comprehensive overview of the narratives being tracked.
The Healthcare NTI is released monthly. The first analysis completed in May 2010 detailed the various narratives surrounding Massachusetts Healthcare reform, a healthcare model which has been adopted in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as the national healthcare reform bill.
About OpenConnect: OpenConnect is the leader in process intelligence and analytics solutions that automatically discover workforce, process and customer variations that hinder operational efficiency. Armed with this information, executives can make the quick and incremental improvements that will increase process efficiency, improve employee productivity, reduce cost, and raise profitability. With a rich history of developing innovative technology, OpenConnect products are distributed in more than 60 countries and used by more than 60 percent of Fortune 100 companies. For more information on OpenConnect, visit www.oc.com.
About the Global Language Monitor: Austin, Texas-based Global Language Monitor analyzes and catalogues the latest trends in word usage and word choices, and their impact on the various aspects of culture, with a particular emphasis upon Global English. Since 2003, GLM has launched a number of innovative products and services monitoring the Internet, the Blogosphere, Social Media as well as the Top 25,000 print and electronic media sites
Out-of-touch moves into No. 1 position over Deficit Spending; Oil Spill tops Health Care Reformer
Austin, Texas, July 24, 2010 – As the political calendar inexorably heads toward the Mid-term elections, the focus on President Obama’s competing ‘narratives’ continue to play out in the media.
Since his Oval Address on the Oil Spill, Obama’s personal narrative is being shaped by forces largely out of his control, such as the on-going Gulf drama. These are how the five most prevalent competing narratives compare, according to Austin-based Global Language Monitor (GLM). GLM has been monitoring the language of politics since 2003.
The ranking of the President’s five most prominent narrative arcs include:
Obama as out-of-touch or aloof – This is up 1200% since the beginning of the year; this is the converse of Hope and Change.
Obama and the deficit — Words linking Obama to deficit have increased some 2500% since the beginning of 2010.
Obama and the Oil Spill — A very fast mover now ahead of Obama as Health Care reformer. Could the completion of the relief well turn this around?
Obama as HealthCare Reformer — Losing steam quickly for the president’s signature achievement.
Obama as the Chicago-style pol — A continued, steady rise in linking Obama to old-style Chicago politics.
“At this point, all five narratives in play are problematic for the president,” said Paul JJ Payack, GLM’s president and chief word analyst. “With the Mid-terms some hundred days away, the president needs a series of (possibly unexpected) positive events to stem this tide.”
Obama Narrative 2.0, the underlying storyline that will largely define the president in the run-up to the Mid-term elections and, possibly, for time remaining in his term. The ‘narrative’ refers to the stream of public opinion captured by blogs and other social media outlets on the Internet, as well as the leading print and electronic databases.
The NarrativeTracker Index (NTI), the first product specifically designed to use social media-based monitoring to better understand the issues driving any particular topic. Because the NTI is based on the national discourse, it provides a real-time, accurate picture of what the public is saying about any topic, at any point in time. In addition to the NTI, the Narrative Tracker Arc™ follows the rise and fall of sub-stories within the main narrative to provide a comprehensive overview of the opinions surrounding a single issue.
NTI tracks the ‘narrative’ of a subject, as well as projecting future trajectories for the narrative. The result has several advantages over traditional polls: 1) Immediacy; 2) The lack of any bias that tends to creep into traditional polling, e.g., when individuals answer questions with what they think are the ‘correct’ answers rather than their true opinions; and 3) NTI lets policy and decision makers focus on the true issues driving perceptions and concerns rather than being driven by false and phantom concepts. In addition, the Narrative Tracker Arc™ follows the rise and fall of sub-stories within the main narrative.
NTI is more effective in capturing the true opinion of the public because it tracks unfiltered keywords in Social Media and other sources, rather than how that opinion is interpreted by the news media or by pollsters.
The NTI is based on the GLM’s Predictive Quantities Indicator™ (PQI™). The PQI tracks the frequency of words and phrases in global print and electronic media on the Internet, throughout the Blogosphere and other social media outlets as well as accessing proprietary databases. The PQI is a weighted index that factors in long-term trends, short-term changes, momentum, and velocity.