According to a study by language strategy firm maslansky + partners and UK-based Reputation Leaders, the single word or phrase that has impacted Americans the most in 2019 is “IMPEACHMENT.” The survey polled 1,000 people, asking them to identify the word that had the biggest influence on them, their relationships, and their view of the world last year.
Overall, politics dominated with “Impeachment,” “Obstruction of Justice,” “Whistleblower,” “Quid Pro Quo” and “Democracy at Risk” all ranking at the top of the list.
Nearly half (48 percent) said “Impeachment” was the most impactful word of the year
This word may have caused two-thirds of those surveyed to lose trust in U.S. politicians and parties, and nearly half of Americans to lose confidence in the media. “Impeachment” has caused 41 percent of respondents to avoid certain topics, 20 percent are less engaged on social media and 20 percent say the word has caused them to change their voting intentions in 2020.
“Language defines so much of our experience. And this year, we were surrounded by a lot of words that sadly divided us and impacted our trust in government and the media,” said Lee Hartley Carter, president of maslansky + partners, in a news release. “Politicians better take note—this will influence the way Americans vote next November.”
It’s not all about the White House though
“Medicare for All” was the most impactful phrase according to 36 percent of respondents, and “Climate Crisis,” was chosen by 34 percent. And we saw this even more so with younger people who placed a higher importance on social issues (Medicare for All) and the planet (Climate Crisis) than their boomer counterparts.
“We’ve seen some dramatic and important reframing of issues this year. Climate change to climate crisis is a major one before there are so many others across politics and culture,” said Michael Maslansky, CEO of maslansky + partners, in the release. “These kinds of shifts in language can have a big impact in perceptions and engagement.”