For a political candidate, even the slightest misstep can cause public uproar or, worse, lost votes. Science Now reports that in addition to a politician’s credentials, policy ideas, and overall likability, a candidate is judged by his or her use of language.
The study indicates that subtle changes in sentence structure and word usage can make the difference between whether voters view a politician as capable or unelectable.
As people hit the polls today to cast their ballots, here are some memorable language blunders from U.S. presidents, a presidential nominee, and one vice presidential candidate. In some cases it comes down to parsing—even nitpicking—but hey, those are our tax dollars committing those errors. The least they can give us is some Schadenfreude.
President Barack Obama
Unlike his predecessor, President Obama rarely, if ever, stumbles over the names of political heads of state or more common phrases or words (such as “nuclear”).