How likely are US Senators and Presidential Candidates to cite their sources?

This page is a list of US Senators (I added Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton) in order of how likely they are to give the source for  figures they use.

The ranking uses the politician’s  Twitter streams. The method is a little bit of a blunt instrument, but it makes some points nicely.

The list works like this:

  • gather recent tweets by the politicians.
  • take those that involve numbers (because we are interested in if they  reference their figures)
  • check if they contain a URL.

So this is good:

Screen Shot 2014-11-23 at 12.42.57

…and this is bad:

Screen Shot 2014-11-23 at 12.42.46

We’re looking at the most important part of information sharing here. If we are to have grown-up conversations we must use information that can be checked. The first step is simply information is saying where your information came from. It makes no claims about the sources that are used – we weight a peer reviewed study as highly as a Yahoo Answers page – the only interest here is if the source is there at all.

You can view the first list here. I checked how good the idea was with humans (and the UK dataset) here and it worked very well. I’m certainly happy that the list is the most simple and visible way of making politicians aware of the information they are putting out.

All of the code is in GitHub, and if you’d like to look at the list a single account you will find it here.

For the first list, someone on reddit said something very important (about the UK version, but it holds):

I think it’s pretty clear that the top 20% of those MPs are doing something right methodologically, compared to the bottom 20%. But I’d be careful of singling out any individual case with such a blunt tool. Especially if all 5 are from the same party

…and you should take that as your general guide. If your representative. is in the bottom half of the table, there is probably something wrong…

 

Ranking Name Twitter Handle Tweets Tweets with Figures Sourced Tweets with Figures/td> Percentage
1 Sen. Jeff Sessions (@SenatorSessions) 1980 111 101 90.99%
2 Senator Thad Cochran (@SenThadCochran) 1649 156 140 89.74%
3 Senator Thom Tillis (@SenThomTillis) 1684 124 109 87.90%
4 Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) 3201 246 216 87.80%
5 Joni Ernst (@SenJoniErnst) 1089 36 31 86.11%
6 Senator Joe Donnelly (@SenDonnelly) 3204 379 316 83.38%
7 Senator Roy Blunt (@RoyBlunt) 3241 295 243 82.37%
8 Dean Heller (@SenDeanHeller) 3232 372 302 81.18%
9 Mike Enzi (@SenatorEnzi) 2893 291 235 80.76%
10 Senator Ron Johnson (@SenRonJohnson) 2898 215 170 79.07%
11 John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) 3235 181 143 79.01%
12 Senator John Hoeven (@SenJohnHoeven) 1593 141 111 78.72%
13 Senator Joe Manchin (@Sen_JoeManchin) 3220 563 443 78.69%
14 Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) 3227 192 151 78.65%
15 Sen. Tammy Baldwin (@SenatorBaldwin) 3224 165 129 78.18%
16 Al Franken (@alfranken) 2762 161 125 77.64%
17 Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) 3224 152 118 77.63%
18 Sen. Lisa Murkowski (@lisamurkowski) 3243 312 241 77.24%
19 Senator Hatch Office (@SenOrrinHatch) 3215 229 176 76.86%
20 Senator Bob Corker (@SenBobCorker) 3045 194 149 76.80%
21 David Perdue (@sendavidperdue) 1867 184 140 76.09%
22 Richard Shelby (@SenShelby) 1055 90 68 75.56%
23 Dr. Rand Paul (@RandPaul) 3237 224 169 75.45%
24 Senator Ben Sasse (@SenSasse) 670 56 42 75.00%
25 Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) 3224 131 98 74.81%
26 Rob Portman (@senrobportman) 3210 341 254 74.49%
27 JohnCornyn (@JohnCornyn) 3212 316 230 72.78%
28 Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) 3231 202 147 72.77%
29 Senator Mike Crapo (@MikeCrapo) 3244 215 156 72.56%
30 Jerry Moran (@JerryMoran) 3233 359 260 72.42%
31 Sen. Debbie Stabenow (@SenStabenow) 1721 131 94 71.76%
32 Ed Markey (@SenMarkey) 3228 287 205 71.43%
33 Pat Roberts (@SenPatRoberts) 3198 257 183 71.21%
34 Sen. Susan Collins (@SenatorCollins) 1852 120 85 70.83%
35 Sen. John Barrasso (@SenJohnBarrasso) 3224 466 330 70.82%
36 Senator John Boozman (@JohnBoozman) 2558 231 163 70.56%
37 Senator Angus King (@SenAngusKing) 2301 190 133 70.00%
38 Johnny Isakson (@SenatorIsakson) 2840 266 185 69.55%
39 Senator Dan Coats (@SenDanCoats) 3224 224 155 69.20%
40 Senator Mike Rounds (@SenatorRounds) 1265 128 88 68.75%
41 Senator Mazie Hirono (@maziehirono) 3203 354 243 68.64%
42 David Vitter (@DavidVitter) 3211 295 202 68.47%
43 Senator John Thune (@SenJohnThune) 3245 262 179 68.32%
44 Michael F. Bennet (@SenBennetCO) 1326 157 107 68.15%
45 Mark Kirk (@SenatorKirk) 3238 426 289 67.84%
46 Sheldon Whitehouse (@SenWhitehouse) 3208 229 155 67.69%
47 Sen Dianne Feinstein (@SenFeinstein) 3248 410 276 67.32%
48 Sen. Lamar Alexander (@SenAlexander) 2872 302 202 66.89%
49 Shelley Moore Capito (@SenCapito) 3239 279 186 66.67%
50 Mark Warner (@MarkWarner) 3219 287 189 65.85%
51 Mike Lee (@SenMikeLee) 3239 231 152 65.80%
52 Richard Burr (@SenatorBurr) 2731 225 148 65.78%
53 Senator Roger Wicker (@SenatorWicker) 2774 283 184 65.02%
54 Inhofe Press Office (@InhofePress) 3221 331 215 64.95%
55 Steve Daines (@SteveDaines) 3198 213 138 64.79%
56 Senator Jack Reed (@SenJackReed) 3225 408 263 64.46%
57 Senator Deb Fischer (@SenatorFischer) 2936 233 150 64.38%
58 Senator Pat Toomey (@SenToomey) 3243 348 223 64.08%
59 Sen. McConnell Press (@McConnellPress) 3237 150 96 64.00%
60 Richard Blumenthal (@SenBlumenthal) 3220 213 134 62.91%
61 Tom Udall (@SenatorTomUdall) 2976 772 485 62.82%
62 Kelly Ayotte (@KellyAyotte) 3239 297 185 62.29%
63 Ron Wyden (@RonWyden) 3222 196 122 62.24%
64 Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) 3236 199 122 61.31%
65 Sherrod Brown (@SenSherrodBrown) 2468 286 175 61.19%
66 Martin Heinrich (@MartinHeinrich) 2487 150 91 60.67%
67 Sen. Maria Cantwell (@SenatorCantwell) 2507 252 152 60.32%
68 Senator Dick Durbin (@SenatorDurbin) 3235 328 197 60.06%
69 Sen. Patrick Leahy (@SenatorLeahy) 3243 302 181 59.93%
70 Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (@SenatorHeitkamp) 3231 1213 726 59.85%
71 Tim Scott (@SenatorTimScott) 3199 273 163 59.71%
72 Senator Patty Murray (@PattyMurray) 3233 315 185 58.73%
73 Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) 1702 87 51 58.62%
74 Senator Gary Peters (@SenGaryPeters) 3196 350 204 58.29%
75 Senator Jon Tester (@SenatorTester) 2210 146 85 58.22%
76 Bill Cassidy (@BillCassidy) 3228 227 132 58.15%
77 Senator Brian Schatz (@SenBrianSchatz) 1106 81 47 58.02%
78 SenDanSullivan (@SenDanSullivan) 1208 288 166 57.64%
79 Senator Tom Carper (@SenatorCarper) 3202 422 243 57.58%
80 Senator Bob Menendez (@SenatorMenendez) 3233 336 191 56.85%
81 Senator Jeff Merkley (@SenJeffMerkley) 3234 214 121 56.54%
82 Sen. James Lankford (@SenatorLankford) 3200 289 162 56.06%
83 Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (@SenatorShaheen) 3242 277 153 55.23%
84 Senator Bob Casey (@SenBobCasey) 3245 296 163 55.07%
85 Cory Gardner (@SenCoryGardner) 3099 284 155 54.58%
86 Senator Chris Coons (@ChrisCoons) 3230 255 138 54.12%
87 Sen. Barbara Boxer (@SenatorBoxer) 2160 291 156 53.61%
88 Senator Ben Cardin (@SenatorCardin) 3209 216 115 53.24%
89 Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) 3208 316 160 50.63%
90 Bill Nelson (@SenBillNelson) 572 52 25 48.08%
91 Senator Jim Risch (@SenatorRisch) 449 47 22 46.81%
92 Senator Tim Kaine (@timkaine) 3223 260 121 46.54%
93 McCaskill Office (@McCaskillOffice) 3221 351 155 44.16%
94 Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) 3202 252 103 40.87%
95 Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) 1247 87 34 39.08%
96 Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) 3199 463 171 36.93%
97 Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) 3228 426 155 36.38%
98 Barbara Mikulski (@SenatorBarb) 3238 348 120 34.48%
99 Senator Harry Reid (@SenatorReid) 3218 414 131 31.64%
100 Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) 3228 304 91 29.93%
101 Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 3221 180 53 29.44%
102 ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) 3221 690 147 21.30%

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