The Sunlight Foundation has noticed an interesting and perhaps even troubling trend about the people who make our laws: the grade level that members of Congress speak at has taken a noticeable dip since 2005. The average member of Congress spoke at an 11.5 grade level in 2005, but now speaks at a 10.6 grade level. The Foundation's report even breaks down the speaking level of each individual member of the House and Senate.
So who comes in near the bottom of Florida's delegation? Senator Marco Rubio and the man campaigning to join him in the Senate, Rep. Connie Mack IV.
The reports ranks individual members by two factors: the average grade level of their speeches as members of Congress since 1996, and their speech level for just the 112th Congress. You can browse the individual grade levels here.
Of Florida's 16 Representative and two Senators, Marco Rubio came in dead last on the average rankings. He speaks at just below a 9.4 grade level. Of course, he's at somewhat of a disadvantage because he's only been in Congress for two years.
Connie Mack IV comes in at the bottom of the Florida delegation for the 112th Congress. He's been speaking at just under a 6.7 grade level. Rep. Anders Crensha (R) came in second from the bottom with an 8.2 grade level. Rubio's 9.4 put him at third from the bottom.
What's interesting is that Mack IV's average level since 1996 is a much higher 12th grade level. How does someone go from a high school senior to a first year middle schooler? Perhaps Mack has decided to use smaller words as he runs for Senate.
So, who's the smartest? Miami's own Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen has spoke on average at a 13.1 since 1996, and at a 12.9 in the 112th congress. That's remarkable considering that Republican lawmaker was born in Spanish-speaking Havana.
As in most things, Sen. Bill Nelson comes close to the middle. He spoke at an 11th grade level in the 112th Congress.
So what does this mean? Well, Fox News seems to think it's a bad thing. Once it was pointed out that President Barack Obama's past three State of the Union addresses clocked in at an average 8.4 grade level, they took the opportunity to mock him.
Others see it as a calculated populist shift, since the average American only speak at an 8th or 9th grade level.
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