The Narrative Index reveals two modes for Donald Trump’s communications. We know from last spring he scores high when he is speaking off the cuff with his solo unscripted voice. But when he is scripted and less impulsive he scores much lower. Last week he gave an unfunny, unappealing, flat and unclever speech at the Al Smith dinner. If his Narrative Index for it was low, it would suggest it was written by his staff. If high, it was probably written by him. The actual score was 38, suggesting the madman created the whole mess by himself.
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The patterns that emerge from the Narrative Index data are not necessarily causative — just correlative. But they do continue to show a lot of consistency.
First off, we know that debate performances in general, being unscripted, tend to score higher than speeches. This has been consistently true all year. You can see it once again for the three Presidential debates. Both Trump and Clinton score above 20 for all of their debate performances. They also showed no overlap in their scores (Trump: 28, 30, 30; Clinton: 20, 21, 21).
Trump continues to flounder with his speeches. Once upon a time he shot from the hip and always scored above 20. But ever since his victory in the primaries and his decision to go with a teleprompter for his speeches (seeking the advice of “veteran strategists”), his scores have been as low or lower than Hillary.
The implication is that other people put their hands into his prepared speeches, as he tries to speak diplomatically, causing the Narrative Index to plummet. The debates have allowed him to return to old form, producing higher scores.
If this really is a valid pattern, then we can use it to ask the question of who the hell wrote his unfunny, off-putting, crap speech last week at the Al Smith dinner?
Look at his score — a 38. Kinda suggests little old Donald wrote it all by himself, thinking he would unleash his brilliance and charisma on the crowd who eventually booed him. The speech sounded like nobody else had a hand in it.
Just imagine the guy as President. Yikes.