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

WordFrequencyPercentage of Speech
Best30.051733057
Big20.034488705
Great280.482841869
Highest10.017244352
Many90.155199172
Most60.103466115
Really10.017244352
Very240.413864459

Barack Obama

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

WordFrequencyPercentage of Speech
Best30.041073384
Big90.123220153
Great60.082146769
Large60.082146769
Many130.177984666
Most100.136911281
Very20.027382256

George W. Bush

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

WordFrequencyPercentage of Speech
Best60.154718927
Big10.025786488
Great100.257864879
Highest10.025786488
Large40.103145952
Magnificently10.025786488
Many50.128932439
Most50.128932439
Very10.025786488

Bill Clinton

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

WordFrequencyPercentage of Speech
Best90.121097955
Big20.026910657
Great30.040365985
Highest10.013455328
Many140.188374596
Most120.16146394
Large20.026910657
Really30.040365985
Very40.053821313

George Bush Sr.

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

WordFrequencyPercentage of Speech
Best10.026476039
Great90.238284353
Many40.105904157
Most50.132380196
Really10.026476039
Very70.185332274

Ronald Reagan

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

WordFrequencyPercentage of Speech
Best20.038804812
Big20.038804812
Great10.019402406
Large70.135816841
Many50.097012029
Most20.038804812
Really10.019402406
Very20.038804812

James Carter, Jr.

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

WordFrequencyPercentage of Speech
Best100.218340611
Great120.262008734
Highest10.021834061
Many20.043668122
Most30.065502183
Really10.021834061
Large10.021834061
Very60.131004367

Gerald Ford

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

WordFrequencyPercentage of Speech
Best20.048473097
Great70.169655841
Huge10.024236549
Large10.024236549
Many80.19389239
Most80.19389239
Very50.121182744

Richard Nixon

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

WordFrequencyPercentage of Speech
Best50.112183083
Big10.022436617
Great250.560915414
Highest10.022436617
Many50.112183083
Large1
Most70.157056316
Very10.022436617

Lyndon B. Johnson

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

WordFrequencyPercentage of Speech
Best20.063131313
Great20.063131313
Highest10.031565657
Large10.031565657
Many30.09469697
Most40.126262626
Really10.031565657
Very10.031565657

John F. Kennedy

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

WordFrequencyPercentage of Speech
Best20.037921881
Great110.208570345
Huge20.037921881
Large40.075843762
Many50.094804702
Most80.151687524
Really10.01896094

Dwight D. Eisenhower

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

WordFrequencyPercentage of Speech
Best80.114728237
Big10.01434103
Great200.286820594
Huge10.01434103
Large50.071705148
Many60.086046178
Most50.071705148
Very10.01434103

Harry S. Truman

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

WordFrequencyPercentage of Speech
Best120.043691972
Big20.007281995
Great540.196613872
Huge10.003640998
Large430.156562898
Many390.141998908
Most220.080101948
Very120.043691972

Franklin D. Roosevelt

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

WordFrequencyPercentage of Speech
Great90.403587444
Large20.089686099
Many90.403587444
Most10.044843049

Herbert Hoover

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

WordFrequencyPercentage of Speech
Best10.00909587
Great180.163725669
Highest10.00909587
Huge10.00909587
Large160.145533928
Many150.136438057
Most260.236492632
Very50.045479352

Calvin Coolidge

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

WordFrequencyPercentage of Speech
Best60.089472115
Great280.417536534
Highest10.014912019
Large160.238592305
Many50.074560095
Most90.134208172
Very50.074560095

Warren Harding

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

WordFrequencyPercentage of Speech
Best20.035676061
Big10.017838031
Great130.231894399
Large150.26757046
Many70.124866215
Most80.142704245
Really20.035676061
Very140.24973243

Woodrow Wilson

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

WordFrequencyPercentage of Speech
Best20.056290459
Great60.168871376
Many60.168871376
Large20.056290459
Most20.056290459

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