Saturday, November 1st, 2014

The Bob-O-Meter is coming

Gov. Bob McDonnell, shown here at his Janaury 2010 inauguration, made 48 campaign promises that we've been tracking.
Gov. Bob McDonnell, shown here at his Janaury 2010 inauguration, made 48 campaign promises that we've been tracking.

We’ve been tinkering away at PolitiFact Virginia, putting the final touches on a new meter. On Friday, we plan to unveil it online.

It will be called the Bob-O-Meter. We’ve calibrated it to monitor campaign promises Gov. Bob McDonnell made during his 2009 campaign and measure how well he is fulfilling them.

The meter is modeled after the Obameter, which was created by PolitiFact national after the 2008 presidential election. The national staff also started the GOP Pledge-O-Meter that measures vows made by Republican congressmen and their leaders during the 2010 elections.

And our PolitiFact colleagues in seven states earlier this year activated meters to track promises made by their governors.

After scouring McDonnell’s campaign documents, we’ve identified 47 statements that are measurable pledges of actions. We passed on general things like changing the tone in Richmond or improving the state’s business climate. Our ears perked at specific things McDonnell said, like increasing the percentage of education money that’s spent in classrooms or conserving 400,000 acres.  

Over time, we’ll score each promise with one of six categories: Promise Kept; Promise Broken; Compromise; Stalled; In the Works; and Not Yet Rated.

Unlike the Truth-O-Meter and Flip-O-Meter, which measure a statement or position at a specific point in time, the ratings on promises can change with circumstances. For example, something initially rated Stalled could later become a Promise Kept or a Promise Broken.

We won’t be casting judgments on whether what happens is good or bad. We simply aim to provide information.

And we’ll continue to publish Truth-O-Meters and Flop-O-Meters.

Check PolitifactVirginia.com Friday for the Bob-O-Meter. We think you’ll like it.