One of Andrew Sullivan’s readers compiled the data on Politifact’s findings on most of the leading Republican and Democratic leaders and media pundits, as well as President Obama and Mitt Romney, and found that the Republicans are dishonest — especially highly dishonest — significantly more often than Democrats.
Politifact offers six categories for claims made by politicians and pundits: true, mostly true, half true, mostly false, false and pants on fire. By nearly every measure, Republicans are found to be considerably more likely to be distorting the facts with their statements. Among all party leaders rated (Romney, Boehner, Mitch McConnell, Gingrich, Perry and Santorum for Republicans; Obama, Biden, Reid, Pelosi, and Hillary Clinton for the Democrats), the Republicans are more than 4 times more likely to be rated “pants on fire” (and that isn’t even including Michele Bachmann, who averages about one such statement per day). Democrats are higher on all the true-ish categories and lower on all the false-ish categories.
When it comes to partisan pundits (Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter, Erick Erickson, Sean Hannity, Bill Kristol, Rush Limbaugh, Michelle Malkin, Grover Norquist, Bill O’Reilly, and Michael Savage for the Republicans; Paul Begala, Donna Brazile, James Carville, Rachel Maddow, Bill Maher, Chris Matthews, Michael Moore, Lawrence O’Donnell, Keith Olbermann, Ed Shultz, and Cenk Uyger for the Democrats), the results are largely the same but not quite as divergent — until you get to the “pants on fire” category. Democrats are slightly more likely to have claims rated as true, about 2.5 times more likely to be “mostly true.” Republicans are slightly more likely to get “half true” and slightly more likely to be “mostly false,” while Democrats are slightly more likely to get a “false” rating. But when you get to “pants on fire,” Republicans are almost 6 times more likely to get that rating.
And when comparing Obama to Romney directly, the results are even more extreme. Obama is quite a bit more likely to be rated as true or mostly true, but slightly less likely to be half true. Romney is more likely to get a mostly false rating and they’re about even on the false category, but when it comes to “pants on fire,” Obama gets that rating around 1% of the time and Romney gets it almost 10% of the time.
No politician is entirely honest, of course; deceit just comes with the territory. But when it comes to telling lies, the Republicans tend to tell the real whoppers far more often.