Chris Wilson at Slate has posted an analysis of the speeches delivered by the candidates for president and vice president at the recent Republican and Democratic conventions.
Conventional wisdom holds that Democrats smile while Republicans attack—and that the speeches at the just-ended conventions reflect that. Yet the four major speeches of the last two weeks—those of Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Sarah Palin, and John McCain—paint nearly the opposite picture.
The Democratic ticket mentioned McCain far more often than Republicans mentioned Obama. Obama aimed far more barbs at McCain than McCain did at him. And both Biden and Obama paused for applause less often and spoke for less time (though much faster). Meanwhile, both Palin and McCain were careful not to mention the incumbent president's name—or that of his vice president—a single time.
I'm not sure about the methodology of the study and I’m not convinced that mentioning someone else’s name in itself constitutes an attack. Additionally, the information above ignores the fact that Palin led all speakers in the categories of “Barbs aimed at opponent.”
Anyway, it’s a nice start; hopefully more detailed analyses will start popping up elsewhere soon.