Flashback! Top Buzzwords of 2008 Presidential Campaign



Bailout falls dramatically

Experience and Gender Rise

in Campaign Buzzword List


‘Change’ and ’Climate Change’ in a statistical tie for top position

Austin, TX, USA October 21, 2008 – In an analysis completed just two weeks before the US Presidential Elections the Global Language Monitor has announced that Change and Climate Change remain in a statistical tie for top spot in its list of Political Buzzwords of the 2008 Presidential Campaign, with Bailout falling dramatically to No. 13.

“In the Change ranking, Obama outdistanced McCain by a 3:2 ratio, while in the No. 2 Experience ranking, McCain held a 3:2 edge over Obama,” said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of the Global Language Monitor. “Joe the Plumber and ACORN voter registration references broke into the Top 25, at No. 19 and No. 22, respectively. 


In a related finding, Gender (No. 10) continued to rise as Race (No. 20) continued to fall, raising the question if gender is the new race?” 


Political buzzwords are terms or phrases that become loaded with emotional freight beyond the normal meaning of the word.  For example, the word surge has been in the English-language vocabulary since time immemorial.  However, in its new context as an Iraq War strategy, it inspires a set of emotions in many people far beyond the norm.


The rank of Top Election Buzzwords, past rank, and commentary follow.


1.        Change (1) — Obama has a 3:2 edge over McCain with Change

2.        Climate Change (2) — Global warming within 1/2 of 1% for the overall lead

3.        Experience (5) — McCain has 3:2 edge over Obama with Experience

4.        Recession (4) — World economy imploding but still not officially a ‘recession’

5.        Gasoline (6) — Up one as the price dropsa1

6.        Obama Muslim Connection (8) — A persistent topic in Cyberspace; up 2

7.        Subprime (7) — How we got into this mess in the first place

8.        Surge (10) — One of the Top Words from ‘07 moving up ‘ 08 chart

9.        “That one” (12) – The remark has spurred the Obama base: ‘I’m for That One’

10.      Gender (9) – Is ‘gender’ the new ‘race’?

11.      Lipstick (13) — Any talk of Lipstick seems to spur McCain-Palin base

12.      Obama smoking (11) – Surprise here; continues to draw interest

13.      Bailout (3) – Bailout, as a word, dramatically slipping as reality of the entire debacle sets in

14.      “Just Words” (20) — Hillary’s comment on Obama still echoes through the media

15.      Washington Talking Heads (21) – Up six this past week alone

16.      Palin Swimsuit (24) – Fueled by Alec Baldwin on SNL:  Balin’s ‘way hotter in person’

17.      Al Qaeda (14) — Always lurking beneath the surface

18.      Price of oil (15) – Weakens as price declines

19.      Joe the Plumber (NR) – Breaks into Top 25 in debut

20.      Race (16) – Continues to drop in media buzz

21.      Jeremiah Wright (19) — Dr. Wright remains on the radar, down from No.2 at start

22.      Acorn Voter Registration (NR) – Debuts in Top 25; dramatic move over last week

23.      Internet fundraising (17) — Loses luster as story; down 6 more spots

24.      Rezko (25) — Obama’s relationship with Tony Rezko breaks into Top 25

25.      Raise taxes (18) Raise Taxes No 25; cut taxes No. 27:  Are you Listening?



26.      Hockey Mom (22) – Loses a bit of steam

27.      Cut taxes (26) Both ‘cut’ and ‘raise’ down this week, again

28.      Nuclear Iran (23) Peaked out at No. 18


The ranking is determined by GLM’s PQI Index, a proprietary algorithm that scours the global print and electronic media, the Internet, and blogosphere for ‘hot’ political buzzwords and then ranks them according to year-over-year change, acceleration and directional momentum.  Using this methodology, GLM was the only media analytics organization that foresaw the ’04 electorate voting with their moral compasses rather than their pocketbooks.  


The Top Political Buzzwords for the 2006 Midterm Elections included:  Throes, Quagmire, Credibility, Global Warming, and Insurgency; the Top Political Buzzwords from the 2004 Campaign included:  Swift Boats, Flip Flop, Quagmire, Fahrenheit 911, Misleader, and Liar!

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