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Stats that Stick: January 25, 2012

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January 25, 2012 06:15 pm


In honor of the State of the Union Address, we bring you facts about this year’s speech delivered by President Barack Obama. This was President Obama’s third State of the Union Address (the speech during the first year of the presidency is not considered a State of the Union address). The speech was thirteen pages long and last exactly 65 minutes.

Average estimated grade level of the State of the Union speeches delivered by President Obama: 8.4

According to the University of Minnesota’s Smart Politics, the President’s speech rated at an 8th grade reading level based on the Flesch-Kincaid test. The test measures longer sentences and sentences utilizing words with more syllables to produce high scores. Shorter sentences and sentences with more monosyllabic words have lower scores. The test assesses the level of readability of written text through a formula that translates the score to a U.S. grade level. President Obama’s score from last night’s address was the third lowest score since 1934.

Number of minutes President Obama spoke about education: 7.


Chart Courtesy of The Washington Post

Out of a speech that lasted 65 minutes, including the numerous pauses for applause, the President spent 7 minutes addressing education reform, according to the Washington Post. The president talked about placing more power in state and local governments, making college more affordable and requiring all people under the age of 18 to been in school and earn a high school diploma. The word ‘teachers’ was mentioned 8 times, ‘schools’ was mentioned 5 times, and ‘students’ was mentioned three times. For a full analysis of the President Obama’s State of the Union speech in regards to education, click here.

Percentage of Americans who say education is the single most important thing determining for whom they vote in the next election: 1.

With the state of the economy, it is not surprising that the majority of Americans pinpoint job creation and taxes as the issues important to them in determining whether there will be a change in the presidency in 2012. A Washington Post survey found that 60 percent of respondents determined the economy to be the single most important factor in determining for whom they will vote. Education only received 1 percent.

Percentage of Americans who say education is a top priority for the President and Congress this year: 65.

According to the Pew Research Center, 65 percent of Americans believe education should be a top priority. This is consistent with the increasing number of Americans who believe the focus of government should be on domestic issues and less on foreign policy, defense, and national security. However this is a 1 percent decrease from last year.

Number of tweets during the State of the Union address that used the #education hastag: 35,972.

While education may or may not be a priority to those who still take paper and telephone surveys, it definitely remains a focus for those who are fully engulfed in the digital world. #Education was the number one core topic to trend during President Obama’s speech. According to Twitter, #education beat out other core themes of the President’s speech such as energy, jobs, and taxes.



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Every Child a Graduate. Every Child Prepared for Life.