State of the Superlatives

datascience@berkeley looked at each president's first State of the Union address — from Woodrow Wilson to Donald J. Trump — to find out how often they mentioned these words.

Donald J. Trump

Party: Republican
Year: 2018
Total Word Count: 5,799

Trump Superlative mentions
Word Frequency Percentage of Speech
Best 3 0.051733057
Big 2 0.034488705
Great 28 0.482841869
Highest 1 0.017244352
Many 9 0.155199172
Most 6 0.103466115
Really 1 0.017244352
Very 24 0.413864459

Barack Obama

Party: Democrat
Year: 2010
Total Word Count: 7,304

Obama Superlative mentions
Word Frequency Percentage of Speech
Best 3 0.041073384
Big 9 0.123220153
Great 6 0.082146769
Large 6 0.082146769
Many 13 0.177984666
Most 10 0.136911281
Very 2 0.027382256

George W. Bush

Party: Republican
Year: 2002
Total Word Count: 3,878

George W. Bush Superlative mentions
Word Frequency Percentage of Speech
Best 6 0.154718927
Big 1 0.025786488
Great 10 0.257864879
Highest 1 0.025786488
Large 4 0.103145952
Magnificently 1 0.025786488
Many 5 0.128932439
Most 5 0.128932439
Very 1 0.025786488

Bill Clinton

Party: Democrat
Year: 1994
Total Word Count: 7,432

Clinton Superlative mentions
Word Frequency Percentage of Speech
Best 9 0.121097955
Big 2 0.026910657
Great 3 0.040365985
Highest 1 0.013455328
Many 14 0.188374596
Most 12 0.16146394
Large 2 0.026910657
Really 3 0.040365985
Very 4 0.053821313

George Bush Sr.

Party: Republican
Year: 1990
Total Word Count: 3,777

George Bush Sr. Superlative mentions
Word Frequency Percentage of Speech
Best 1 0.026476039
Great 9 0.238284353
Many 4 0.105904157
Most 5 0.132380196
Really 1 0.026476039
Very 7 0.185332274

Ronald Reagan

Party: Republican
Year: 1982
Total Word Count: 5,154

Reagan Superlative mentions
Word Frequency Percentage of Speech
Best 2 0.038804812
Big 2 0.038804812
Great 1 0.019402406
Large 7 0.135816841
Many 5 0.097012029
Most 2 0.038804812
Really 1 0.019402406
Very 2 0.038804812

James Carter, Jr.

Party: Democrat
Year: 1978
Total Word Count: 4,580

Carter Superlative mentions
Word Frequency Percentage of Speech
Best 10 0.218340611
Great 12 0.262008734
Highest 1 0.021834061
Many 2 0.043668122
Most 3 0.065502183
Really 1 0.021834061
Large 1 0.021834061
Very 6 0.131004367

Gerald Ford

Party: Republican
Year: 1975
Total Word Count: 4,126

Ford Superlative mentions
Word Frequency Percentage of Speech
Best 2 0.048473097
Great 7 0.169655841
Huge 1 0.024236549
Large 1 0.024236549
Many 8 0.19389239
Most 8 0.19389239
Very 5 0.121182744

Richard Nixon

Party: Republican
Year: 1970
Total Word Count: 4,457

Nixon Superlative mentions
Word Frequency Percentage of Speech
Best 5 0.112183083
Big 1 0.022436617
Great 25 0.560915414
Highest 1 0.022436617
Many 5 0.112183083
Large 1
Most 7 0.157056316
Very 1 0.022436617

Lyndon B. Johnson

Party: Democrat
Year: 1964
Total Word Count: 3,168

Johnson Superlative mentions
Word Frequency Percentage of Speech
Best 2 0.063131313
Great 2 0.063131313
Highest 1 0.031565657
Large 1 0.031565657
Many 3 0.09469697
Most 4 0.126262626
Really 1 0.031565657
Very 1 0.031565657

John F. Kennedy

Party: Democrat
Year: 1961
Total Word Count: 5,274

Kennedy Superlative mentions
Word Frequency Percentage of Speech
Best 2 0.037921881
Great 11 0.208570345
Huge 2 0.037921881
Large 4 0.075843762
Many 5 0.094804702
Most 8 0.151687524
Really 1 0.01896094

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Party: Republican
Year: 1953
Total Word Count: 6,973

Eisenhower Superlative mentions
Word Frequency Percentage of Speech
Best 8 0.114728237
Big 1 0.01434103
Great 20 0.286820594
Huge 1 0.01434103
Large 5 0.071705148
Many 6 0.086046178
Most 5 0.071705148
Very 1 0.01434103

Harry S. Truman

Party: Democrat
Year: 1946
Total Word Count: 27,465

Truman Superlative mentions
Word Frequency Percentage of Speech
Best 12 0.043691972
Big 2 0.007281995
Great 54 0.196613872
Huge 1 0.003640998
Large 43 0.156562898
Many 39 0.141998908
Most 22 0.080101948
Very 12 0.043691972

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Party: Democrat
Year: 1934
Total Word Count: 2,230

Roosevelt Superlative mentions
Word Frequency Percentage of Speech
Great 9 0.403587444
Large 2 0.089686099
Many 9 0.403587444
Most 1 0.044843049

Herbert Hoover

Party: Republican
Year: 1929
Total Word Count: 10,994

Hoover Superlative mentions
Word Frequency Percentage of Speech
Best 1 0.00909587
Great 18 0.163725669
Highest 1 0.00909587
Huge 1 0.00909587
Large 16 0.145533928
Many 15 0.136438057
Most 26 0.236492632
Very 5 0.045479352

Calvin Coolidge

Party: Republican
Year: 1923
Total Word Count: 6,706

Coolidge Superlative mentions
Word Frequency Percentage of Speech
Best 6 0.089472115
Great 28 0.417536534
Highest 1 0.014912019
Large 16 0.238592305
Many 5 0.074560095
Most 9 0.134208172
Very 5 0.074560095

Warren Harding

Party: Republican
Year: 1921
Total Word Count: 5,606

Harding Superlative mentions
Word Frequency Percentage of Speech
Best 2 0.035676061
Big 1 0.017838031
Great 13 0.231894399
Large 15 0.26757046
Many 7 0.124866215
Most 8 0.142704245
Really 2 0.035676061
Very 14 0.24973243

Woodrow Wilson

Party: Democrat
Year: 1913
Total Word Count: 3,553

Wilson Superlative mentions
Word Frequency Percentage of Speech
Best 2 0.056290459
Great 6 0.168871376
Many 6 0.168871376
Large 2 0.056290459
Most 2 0.056290459

Frequency adjusted for speech length.
Similar variations of words were combined. For example: great, greater, greatly, and greatest are all categorized under “great--.” Largely, larger, and largest are all categorized under “large--.”

Source: The American Presidency Project -- http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/sou.php


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