Thursday, October 6, 2016

Who won the vice-presidential debate?

The NY Times Wednesday Evening Briefing (email) offers this analysis.

Commentators are giving the edge to Mike Pence, the Republican, who stayed calm as Tim Kaine, the Democrat, pressed him to defend Donald Trump. Or, as our television critic said: “Mr. Kaine made the case against Donald Trump. Mr. Pence made the case for Mr. Pence.”

But Mr. Pence’s comment, “You’ve whipped out that Mexican thing again,” didn’t resonate well online.

Check out AZBlueMeanie's commentary on the "Mexican thing." "Mexican-Americans adopted the hashtag to share stories about their relatives." Here is more on Latino reactions from the Daily Star: Pence's 'Mexican thing' remark draws ridicule from Latinos.

The debate was probably the closest thing we’ve seen in 2016 to a traditional Democratic-Republican duel. If you missed it, here’s video of the key moments and a full transcript.

Fact-checking the debate

The magic numbers in the fact-checking universe are 70 and 30. 70% of Trump's statements are false compared to Clinton's 30% false statements. With respect to truth the numbers are almost exactly reversed. Those are the results from Politifact.

The fact-checking numbers from the VP debate are eerily close to the 70/30 split. Here are the numbers from Daily Kos.

PolitiFact evaluated 32 statements made by Kaine and Pence last night during the VP debate. Of 19 Kaine statements checked by PolitiFact, 15 were True or Mostly True (79%); Four of Pence's 13 statements were True or Mostly True (31%) Link to Politifact analysis

There were several rulings for which they didn’t use the precise language of their system (True, Mostly True, etc). Most were obvious. I did my best on the others, though a couple of times, I thought they were too harsh on Kaine and lenient on Pence. They gave Half-True to Obama’s "15M new jobs" and Trump having said women should be punished for having an abortion.

Note: True (in header) includes True plus Mostly True.

So Trump has chosen a running mate who nearly matches him in false statements (70% false vs. 69% false). Clinton selected a running mate who almost exactly matches her in true statements (70% true vs. 79% true).

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