The relative truthfulness of politicians

A Facebook post today comparing the truthfulness of Trump and Clinton by PolitiFact inspired me to broaden the comparison.

Here it is in graphical form. All the data was pulled today, September 20, 2016 from each respective candidate’s page. (Please note that Jill Stein is absent because there is no page for her at PolitiFact’s site)

Figure 1. Truthfulness of Statements by Candidate as a Percentage of All Rated Statements

truthfulness-of-all-candidates

 

Figure 2. Combining all the True versus all the False

truthfulness-of-all-candidates-combined

 

Different people will very likely see this data and come to different conclusions.

Here are mine.

  1. Trump is truly a pathological liar.
    (There’s a layup if ever there was one.)
  2. Clinton and Sanders are essentially equally truthful.
    (Before you Clinton detractors point out Hillary’s two Pants on Fire, you may want to take note that 23% of her statements were rated as True while only 13% of Bernie’s were. He beat her handily in Mostly True, but she beat him in Half True. Finally, Bernie was Mostly False 17% of the time while Clinton was only 15% of the time. We can split these hairs all day. The net result is that they are essentially the same when we separate and aggregate the True and False ratings, respectively.)
  3. Johnson takes more liberties with the truth than either Clinton or Sanders

So, maybe in the final-final analysis, we can all agree that politicians never tell us the truth all of the time. To what degree the facts show their relative truthfulness is, in my opinion, relevant and worth understanding.

Sources:

http://www.politifact.com/personalities/donald-trump/
http://www.politifact.com/personalities/hillary-clinton/
http://www.politifact.com/personalities/bernie-s/
http://www.politifact.com/personalities/gary-johnson/

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