Saturday, July 25, 2015

Which 2016 Candidates Are The Biggest Liars According to Politifact?

Politifact from the Tampa Bay Times checks statements of candidates, politicians and advocacy groups for accuracy. It keeps a running breakdown of the results, which gives you a good, rough indicator of how often a person or group is lying to you.

I've listed the top presidential candidates in the polls in order of how often their statements are rated "Mostly False," "False," or "Pants on Fire!" In parenthesis I gave you the "Pants on Fire!" rating, which describes a particularly ridiculous claim, along with the total number of statements Politifact checked. Smart stats people are going to realize immediately that the way Politifact picks the claims is going to be subjective, and that can skew the results. So this blog post won't get me my doctorate. Still, some of these candidates clearly have a problem with honesty.

Ben Carson - Lying Frequency 100% (Pants on Fire 0%; 3 statements)
Donald Trump - Lying Frequency 83% (Pants on Fire 21%; 29 statements)
Ted Cruz - Lying Frequency 70% (Pants on Fire 8%; 49 statements)
Mike Huckabee - Lying Frequency 50% (Pants on Fire 12%; 34 statements)
Scott Walker - Lying Frequency 49% (Pants on Fire 7%; 146 statements)
Marco Rubio - Lying Frequency 39% (Pants on Fire 2%; 95 statements)
Rand Paul - Lying Frequency 35% (Pants on Fire 5%; 40 statements)
Jeb Bush - Lying Frequency 32% (Pants on Fire 2%; 46 statements)
Hillary Clinton - Lying Frequency 29% (Pants on Fire 2%; 114 statements)
Bernie Sanders - Lying Frequency 26% (Pants on Fire 0%; 23 statements)

It's obvious that Carson's high rating is a product of the low number of times Politifact has checked him. Still, he made the claim that "a lot of people who go into prison straight, and when they come out they’re gay." A researcher called it "insane."

Also, note that Hillary Clinton and Scott Walker have been checked out more than anyone. She's got a comparatively low rating, which is surprising when you think of how many people believe she's the actual Antichrist. And Walker's reputation as a straight-shooter ought to take a hit, considering he lies almost half of the time.

Ted Cruz is a solid liar with a great work ethic. He will mislead you with energy and reliability. Lying is clearly a craft to him, and he takes it seriously.

But the big, important news is simple: Donald Trump not only has the second highest rate of statements that are untrue, he has the highest - by far - rate of statements that are ridiculously, disturbingly false. Even accounting for the limits of this kind of comparison, Donald Trump is clearly a guy who will tell you things no reasonable person could believe. Which is why he's doing so well. And why, as a nation, we're ready to sell everything and close up shop.

One other thing: Do you notice the partisan breakdown here? How the top liars seem to be all from one party, and the other party seems to be clustered at the bottom?

Huh. That's funny.

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1 comment:

  1. "Ted Cruz is a solid liar with a great work ethic. He will mislead you with energy and reliability. Lying is clearly a craft to him, and he takes it seriously."

    (Snorts coffee up nose) Y'killin' me here!

    On the other hand, there's something to be said at being good at what you love: "Copper for the craftsman, cunning at his trade.."


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