PEI·PEI Votes

Here are the most common words used in P.E.I. party platforms

We were wondering here at CBC P.E.I. what you could learn by looking closely at the language in each of the four party platforms. Here's what we found out.

Language is important in marketing, and in politics

Language in the platforms is revealing about what some of the parties have to say about their leaders. (CBC)

We were wondering here at CBC P.E.I. what you could learn by looking closely at the language in each of the four party platforms. Here's what we found out.

We analyzed each platform for the number of times each word occurred, and made a list of the most common words. We also produced graphics for a quick view of the words used the most by each party.

We shared that list with Dan Shaw, director of MBA programs at Dalhousie University and a senior instructor in marketing.

Shaw said language analysis is a common tool in marketing, and campaigning is just marketing by another name.

"You market in politics just as much as you market if you're marketing Coca-Cola or diapers," he said.

Here's what we found in each of the platforms. We have excluded the word "will" — as in "the X Party will" — which appeared in the top four for all parties, from the lists.

Liberal

The top 10 words for the Liberals were Islanders, Island (90 times each), new (73), P.E.I. (56), Liberal (51), Prince (45), Edward (40), million, health (37 each), and can (33).

"The word new is what struck me the most," said Shaw of this list.

"They're the incumbent, and to me if they're using the word 'new' 73 times, which is a lot of times, they're saying that they still have fresh ideas, they still have issues they want to tackle, all the new programs and priorities to focus on."

Progressive Conservative

The top 12 words (with a four-way tie at the end of the list) for the Progressive Conservatives were Islanders (52 times), Island (43), government (37), P.E.I. (35), Dennis, King (29 each), health (28), program (22), increase, public, tax, PC (19 each).

"The name of the leader — first name, last name —comes very high," noted Shaw.

"They're probably trying to build awareness for the name and build understanding of who he is and what he stands for."

Green

The top 11 words (two tied at the bottom) for the Green Party were P.E.I., (57 times), Green (46), Islanders (45), Party (38), government (33), services (31), platform, election (30 each), programs (24), health, care (22).

Shaw said the Green list was most interesting to him for what wasn't on it. Neither climate nor environment made the top 40.

"The Green Party, nationally, is looking to diversify and be seen as an all-round party focused on all issues and moving towards wanting to be perceived as not a single-issue party," he said.

It appears the provincial party is taking a page from that book.

New Democrats

The top 10 words for the NDP were P.E.I. (80), NDP (71), services, public (31 each), people (28), Island (27), health, stand (25 each), system and work (24 each).

That the name of Leader Joe Byrne does not appear once in the platform is a significant part of the message, said Shaw.

"You've got services you've got health you've got system, which makes you assume health system, working, which would be people wanting jobs. You've got programs, you've got schools, incomes, housing," he said.

"It's the one party that is very issue focused."

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kevin Yarr is the early morning web journalist at CBC P.E.I. Kevin has a specialty in data journalism, and how statistics relate to the changing lives of Islanders. He has a BSc and a BA from Dalhousie University, and studied journalism at Holland College in Charlottetown. You can reach him at kevin.yarr@cbc.ca.

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