Red Flag: Palin’s Math Inflation Problem

Opinions are one thing. You and I can disagree, and neither one of us is right or wrong necessarily. Or maybe there’s some truth in both of our stances.

But when it comes to two plus two equaling anything other than four, that’s where we should draw the line. Through my Go Figure: Making Numbers Count training, I am a major advocate of clarity and accuracy in using statistics responsibly. It’s a song I sing every chance I get.

So it got my attention when Andrew Sullivan of The Atlantic pointed to GOP VP candidate Sarah Palin’s inflated claim about Alaska’s contribution to the nation’s oil and gas production (she stated “nearly 20 percent” when it’s actually 7.4 percent, says the Energy Information Administration.)

As Sullivan goes on to note:

“According to authoritative EIA data, Alaska accounted for 7.4 percent of total U.S. oil and gas production in 2005. It is not even correct for Palin to claim that her state is responsible for “nearly 20 percent” of U.S. oil production. Oil production has fallen sharply in Alaska during her governorship. The state’s share of total U.S. oil production fell from 18 percent in 2005 to 13 percent this year, according to the EIA.”


Sullivan spells out 11 other discrepancies between what Palin has said on other matters, and other, credible accounts.

Some are more substantive than others, but taken in total, it adds up to serious questions–and doubts–about Palin’s qualification to lead with integrity.

And don’t even get me started on how she has been “keeping an eye” on Russia from her bedroom window.

Related Posts:
A Dangerous Duo on the Numeracy Front: ‘Too Tidy’ & ‘The Trouble With Double’
My Percentage / Percentage Point Primer & Plea For Apolitical Math

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