Betcha Didn’t Know — ALMOST 50% is Mostly a Majority!

PolitiFact, on Marco Rubio’s statement that “The Majority of Americans are Conservative”

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Rubio said that the majority of Americans are conservative. A respected ongoing poll from Gallup shows that conservatives are the largest ideological group, but they don’t cross the 50 percent threshold. So we rate his statement Mostly True.


Rachel Maddow responded to this last night:

Even if you want to extrapolate to parties, even if you want to give Marco Rubio the benefit of the doubt and say ‘Republican leaning’ instead of conservative, that still doesn’t get you to a majority either. So according to PolitiFact, Marco Rubio’s literal claim is false. Extrapolating generously from his literal claim? Also false. Therefore PolitiFact’s rating of Marco Rubio’s statement? Mostly true!

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And today PolitiFact Bill Adair Responds:

In this case, we rated it Mostly True because we felt that while the number was short of a majority, it was still a plurality. Forty percent of Americans consider themselves conservative, 35 percent moderate and 21 percent liberal. It wasn’t quite a majority, but was close… In Gallup’s poll, the number has never crossed the 50 percent threshold. Technically, he would be more accurate if he said a plurality of Americans are conservative.

A given number is a majority or it is not. Saying something is a majority when it is not a majority is not “mostly true.” It’s false.

This not a matter of opinion.

It’ s a matter of arithmetic.

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