Political Metaphors in U.S. Governor Speeches

42 Pages Posted: 21 Dec 2022

See all articles by Léo Picard

Léo Picard

University of Basel - Faculty of Business and Economics

Dominik Stammbach

ETH Zürich

Date Written: December 9, 2022


How do politicians use metaphors in their speeches? To provide evidence on this question, we apply a deep-learning-based metaphor detection model to a historical corpus of annual State of the State speeches given by U.S. governors, ranging from 1995 to 2022. Across 9 socio-economic topics, we present the following descriptive findings. First, metaphors are most commonly used on fiscal and economic issues. Second, Democratic governors employ more metaphors on environmental issues relative to Republican governors, who in turn express more metaphors on moral values. Third, we confirm that the language used to express political metaphors is emotionally charged, with a degree of heterogeneity. Our emotion scores increase the most in presence of a metaphor on subjects related to the economy, fiscal issues, and moral values.

Suggested Citation

Picard, Léo and Stammbach, Dominik, Political Metaphors in U.S. Governor Speeches (December 9, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4298372 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4298372

Léo Picard (Contact Author)

University of Basel - Faculty of Business and Economics ( email )

Petersplatz 1
Basel, 4001

Dominik Stammbach

ETH Zürich ( email )

Zürichbergstrasse 18
8092 Zurich, CH-1015

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