Thursday, January 21, 2016

Hillary Clinton & PolitiMath

Our PolitiMath series of posts looks for correlations between numerical errors and PolitiFact's ratings.

The "False" rating PolitiFact gave to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Jan. 20, 2015 allows us to further expand our data set. Clinton said nearly all of the bills she presented as a senator from New York had Republican co-sponsors.

PolitiFact said her numbers were off.
We found at least one Republican co-sponsor in 4 of 7 resolutions or continuing resolutions (57 percent) but only 9 of 37 bills (24 percent).

Overall, that's 13 out of 44, or just under 30 percent.

Focusing on the 18 bills that Clinton sponsored and brought to the Senate floor for consideration, four had at least one Republican co-sponsor (22 percent) ...
Note we are dealing with a slightly mushy comparison. What is "nearly all"? We think setting a fairly low bar gives us the most useful comparison to other ratings.

Let's say 80 percent of her bills would count as "nearly all." We think that's a fairly low bar to clear.

Using the best figure PolitiFact produced on Clinton's behalf, she exaggerated her claim by 167 percent. Using the figure reflecting a more literal interpretation of her words (the 22-percent figure), Clinton exaggerated by 264 percent.

PolitiFact said Clinton's claim "isn't even close" to the truth. But we know it wasn't ridiculously far off, otherwise PolitiFact would have awarded Clinton a "Pants on Fire" rating.

Right?

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