Ever wondered what words our political leaders tend to use? Or how their diction is broken down by political party? Well, you can find the answers to those questions and many more at Capitol Words, an online website that digs up data on the words that legislators use.

How does it work, you ask? Easy. You can search by individual word or phrase, compare two words, or even search by legislator or state. The data is beautifully represented and easy to decipher, and even displayed in multiple graphical formats. For example, when I searched the word abortion, I received the occurrences over time, popularity of the word by state, popularity of the word by party, and even a list of legislators who used it most.

Check out some of the charts below:

This website provides a fantastic opportunity to engage with students in data analysis and discussion about what keywords and phrases are being used in legislation. Questions to prompt discussion might include:

  • Why might Republican legislators be using the word abortion more often than Democratic legislators?
  • What might you be able to infer by knowing what words certain legislators use the most?
  • By looking at key terms, what can you ascertain about the different parties? The different states?

This could lead to some powerful discussions about the power of diction and the inferences the public might be making about legislators.

Happy discussing, y’all!


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