Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight put together an interesting look at the PolitiFact grades of the various 2012 GOP candidates. PolitiFact is a Pulitzer Prize-winning organization that looks at various statements that politicians make and gives them a “grade” from True or Mostly True to False and even “Pants on Fire”. The report is here:
Michele Bachmann wins the prize for least truthful – only about 19% of her scored statements were in the “true” range. She even managed to get a 25% “Pants on Fire” rating. Jon Hunstman wins the prize for most truthful – only 14% were rated as “mostly false” and he has not garnered a single “false” or “Pants on Fire”.
The thing that strikes me is that there is almost a 1-to-1 correlation between the relative extremity of the candidate’s conservative ideology on social issues and truthfulness of the candidate’s public statements. The more socially moderate the candidate (Huntsman, Romney, and even Paul), the more “true” ratings they tend to get. The more socially conservative candidates (Bachman, Santorum, Cain) get the most “false” statement ratings.
To be fair, Nate also looks at President Obama’s ratings. The President has 28% “false” or “mostly false” with 1% “Pants on Fire.” He’s at least half right on 71% of the statements that PolitiFact scores, with almost half of his statements as either “mostly true” or “true.”