UPDATED: Who Lies the Most? 2016 U.S. Presidential Election


UPDATE – October 23, 2016


I have updated my data from the latest data on Politifact.com for my interactive version of this chart that is published on Tableau Public.



UPDATE: October 2nd, 2016

Still no data on Jill Stein. What is up with that, Politifact? Just a few more facts added to the counts of President Obama, Secretary Clinton and Mr. Trump, but nothing really Earth shattering. I think there was one new fact for Gary Johnson.

Any candidate that I updated today has a refresh date of 10/02/2016 in their tooltip.

I was sent an e-mail question from Ben in Alaska (not sure he wants his last name mentioned, so I will just call him Ben), He sked me what kind of weighting factor I used in my calculations. Actually, I don’t use any since I felt it might skew the numbers unfairly. So, for example, if a candidate has 10 facts categorized as Pants on Fire, and has 100 facts total, then 10% of their facts were for Pants on Fire. I did not want to inflate perception for any candidate that may make more false leaning statements. I wanted the numbers to speak for themselves.

However, with that said, it begs the question of what kinds of facts are used in the evaluation. For example, if I ask a candidate 5 times if he/she has a dog, and he/she said “Yes” all five times, this will raise their truthful score. But, are these the kinds of “truths” we want to include in the calculations. I mean, these are presidential candidates, so I think the facts should raise questions related to their past activities in government (such as how they voted, what kind of legislation did they support) or running a large business (were your businesses profitable, how do you treat your employees or contractors, do you discriminate by gender or color?). Or, if they are asked if they know what Aleppo is and they reply “What’s Aleppo?” as Gary Johnson did, I find that to be an honest answer although it did not project him having strong knowledge of the war in Syria or the geography of Syria. I am not picking on Mr. Johnson here, but it might be the case that he is steeped in knowledge about Syria and the war itself, why it occurred, and how he thinks we can resolve it. Again, a lot of questions can be raised from his quizzical answer to that question. I give him kudos for his honestly. I think some of the other candidates might have tried to BS their way out of answering the question if they did not know the answer.

Anyway, some food for thought. I admit I need to study Politifact’s methodology deeper to find the answers to the questions I have about how they determine what a fact truly is.

If you find any errors or omissions in any of the charts provided, it was unintentionally and in no way was meant to make a certain candidate look better or worse. Please e-mail me at michael@dataarchaeology.net with your suggested corrections and I will make those that are fair and reasonable.

Thanks to all of you who provided comments on my blog. I am also interested in your thoughts about what constitutes a fact? I hope you drop me a line.



Copyright (c) 2016, Michael S. Sandberg, Data Archaeology, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

One thought on “UPDATED: Who Lies the Most? 2016 U.S. Presidential Election

  1. Hi- thanks for the thorough explanation of your methodology, etc. I appreciate your recent updates as well.. Would you kindly put the date on each chart and/or update so it’s clear to the reader? Thanks again for his useful information!

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