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Statistics on US Party Platforms: 1856-1996

The graph below shows the length, in number of words, for presidential-year platforms of the Democratic and Republican parties since 1856. The tendency is for the platforms to grow longer over time.

Comparative content analysis needs to take into account the length by year and party. Typically, researchers compute how frequently the words for which they are searching appear per 1,000 or 10,000 words in the document being searched.

The graphs below report the length in words for the platforms of each party during 1856-1996, broken into three periods with 12 presidential elections in each. The figures reported provide baselines for computing the words found as a proportion of the total words in the platforms.