Politicians lie a lot -- and people are becoming less trusting

Politicians aren’t known for being the most honest of people.

But with the rise of digital media, they can now more easily get away with fudging the truth.

“Innovations that have occurred in social media … have had a negative effect upon public trust,” observes a Citi Research team led by Tina Fordham.

“While digital media can be a great source of information, there are numerous sites with false information, conspiracy theories and invented statistics. This allows for politicians to make claims that are not factually correct but are circulated by Twitter.”

PolitiFact’s team found that the percentage of politicians’ statements that were “true or mostly true” ranged from 4% (Ben Carson) to 53% (Bernie Sanders) — which can be seen in the chart above. On the flip side, the percentage of politicians’ statements that were “mostly face to ‘pants on fire'” ranged from 84% (Ben Carson) to 24% (Martin O’Malley.)

And for what it’s worth, the team found that only 7% of Trump’s statements were factually correct, 21% of Ted Cruz’s were, and 51% of Hillary Clintons’ were.

But more importantly, the Citi team argues that this proliferation of digital media and the ease with which one can spread incorrect information is further pushing people to be less trusting of “the elites.”

Nowadays, people increasingly likely to consider their friends, families, and inner circles as their “most trusted sources” of information.

In fact, regular folks are more likely to trust “a person like themselves” over an NGO rep, a financial or industry analyst, or a CEOs and government officials, according to the 2015 Edelman Trust Barometer.

The big takeaway here is that these two charts reflect regular people’s frustrations with and distrust of “the elites” and large institutions — whether it be a big bank or a political party.

And that has (and could continue to) lead to a rise in anti-establishment sentiment and non-mainstream political parties, which could eventually effect business and investment environments, according to Citi.

However, it will also be interesting to see any side effects of people only listening to “people like themselves” — and if that, in turn, will lead to even more wrong information being spread.

Especially considering that the the biggest anti-establishment stars in the GOP race (Trump and Carson) — who are arguably supported because people are frustrated with “the elites” — allegedly tell less true statements than the in-house candidates.

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