Tag Archives: poltifact

Honesty in Politics? Honestly. Ranking the Candidates.

We all know that politicians like to make stuff up. As the 2016 presidential race heats up (go Trump, just kidding) I was curious to see who the most honest politicians currently running are. Lucky for me, Politifact, the nonpartisan, Pulitzer Prize winning website, dissects all that these hopefuls say, and determines whether it’s true or pants-on-fire false.

Politifact Scorecard
My methodology is this:  I assigned a weighted point value to each category. True – 3 Points / Mostly True – 2 Points / Half True – 1 Point // Mostly False – 1 Point / False – 2 Points / Pants on Fire – 3 Points. The points are multiplied by the number of statements in each category. In this case – Trues 48, 52, 21 and Falses 24, 28, 6. Then, I added up the “Trues” and the “Falses”, and subtracted the Falses from the Trues to get the baseline score.  In this example, 121 – 58 = 63. I then standardized the score by dividing the baseline score by the total number of statements. Here, it’s 63/103 = .611. I multiplied by 100 to get the final score 61.1.

The scores can range from -300 (total liar) to 300 (always true). I repeated this methodology for all of the candidates to find who is most honest (or at least makes the most true statements).

As it turns out, Jim Webb is the most “honest” candidate with a score of 188.8. Donald Trump, believe it or not, is the least “honest” candidate with a score of -134.8. In fact, Trump doesn’t have a single completely true statement on file at Poltifact. Here’s how everyone did. Those whose lines go to the right of the centerline tend to tell the truth more in public statements.


Just for fun, I also calculated Sarah Palin, who was pretty center at -0.80, President Obama, with a solid 101.2, and my favorite politician Michele Bachmann with a whopping -115.0.

Update: I forgot Rand Paul. He scores a 73.8. There are too many Republican candidates to keep track of.

So, next time you hear a candidate say anything, you’ll know who to believe.