Joe Biden put a national spin on Virginia's Nov. 5 elections for 140 General Assembly seats, saying, "As Virginia goes, so goes the nation." We examined whether Virginia's legislative races are a reliable predictor of presidential elections.
The most recent articles on PolitiFact Virginia
An online smear machine tried to take down Parkland students after mass shooting at school.
Republican Dave Brat says wages are "going through the roof. Democrat Abigail Spanberger says they are "stagnant."
"You think you’re having a hard time, I’ve got $5 million worth of negative ads going at me," Brat told the incarcerated addicts. "How do you think I’m feeling?"
The ad accuses Rep. Dave Brat of selling out seniors for corporate campaign donations. But the evidence put forth by the House Majority PAC is contrived.
WCVE News 88.9FM brings political fact-checking back to Virginia.
As Washington controversies go, the one over the Office of Congressional Ethics went by in the blink of an eye. So what was it really about?
Hillary Clinton announced Friday that Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine is her running mate for the presidency. We've looked at 27 of Kaine’s claims on the Truth-O-Meter, and 78 percent have been rated True, Mostly True, or Half True.
A look at Rep. Rob Wittman's claim that Obama thanked Cuban president for criticizing the U.S.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe says, "In Virginia history, in the last 24 years, there has not been one instance of an individual with a concealed carry (permit) who has come into Virginia and harmed a Virginian." But the statistics don't exist.
A presidential candidate with an unprecedented record on the Truth-O-Meter earns PolitiFact's annual award.
The ad said Janis voted in 2003 to allow illegal immigrants to pay in-state college tuition. But Dunnavant missed a key part of the record.
State Sen. George Barker's statement that uncompsensated care costs went down 30 percent in states that, unlike Virginia, expanded Medicaid. Here's our review of that claim and four others that generated the most interest in 2014.
The emergence of Ebola in the United States sparked a political and media frenzy, but many of the claims made were far from accurate. Collectively, they are PolitiFact's sixth annual Lie of the Year.
Election Day has come. Here's a review of some of the most interesting claims made by Democrat Mark Warner and Republican Ed Gillespie in this year's U.S. Senate race.
Did Ed Gillespie sign Grover Norquist's no-tax pledge? Our quick review of Monday night's U.S. Senate debate provides the answer. Also from PolitiFact Virginia: •Warner and Gillespie have adjusted their views on gay marriage
We'll be live-fact checking tonight's U.S. Senate debate between Mark Warner and Ed Gillespie. Here's how you can tune in. Also from PolitiFact Virginia: •Warner and Gillespie have adjusted their views on gay marriage •A quick look at the jabs from Debate 2
U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, long opposed to same-sex marriage, now supports it. Challenger Ed Gillespie is still against gay marriage, but no longer favors a U.S. constitutional amendment to ban it. Also from PolitiFactVirginia: Solving the mysterious no-tax pledge
U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., and Republican challenger Ed Gillespie attacked each other and defended their own records and proposals during Tuesday night's debate. Here's an initial look at some of their claims.
Republican Ed Gillespie sees himself playing two different roles: A "partisan warrior" in campaigns and a negotiator when it comes to business and holding elective office.
There's plenty of fodder for the Truth-O-Meter after first debate between U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, a Democrat, and GOP challenger Ed Gillespie. Here's our initial take. More fact checks are in the works.
We'll be live fact-checking Saturday morning's U.S. Senate debate between Mark Warner and Ed Gillespie. Here's how you can tune in.
Democrats say Ed Gillespie's description of minimum wage earners enjoying beer and softball with colleagues after work is offensive. Here's a full transcript of the Republican's remarks so you can decide:
Is "Redskin" a term that historically confers respect? Did President Obama order the recent revocation of trademark protection for the Washington Redskins' name? Our collegaues at PunditFact settle these claims and more.
So thorough was Brat's victory that he won 53 percent of the vote in Henrico County -- Cantor's home and an area he has reresented either in the state legislature or Congress since 1992. PolitiFact Virginia looked at a number claims made during the Brat-Cantor primary. Here's what we found:
Incumbent Eric Cantor and challenger Dave Brat traded some tough blows on immigation and Obamacare during their Republican primary campaign for the 7th District congressional seat. Here's a recap of our Truth-O-Meters:
Ed Gillespie, the Republican nominee for the U.S. senate, is no stranger to the Truth-O-Meter. Here's a review of his statements we've examined:
A look at what some say is a silver lining from the reluctance of 24 states to expand Medicaid.
The General Assembly is deadlocked over expanding Medicaid elgibility in Virginia and dubious statements abound. Here's a recap:
House Republicans are insisting Virginia's Medicaid system undergo a two-year audit before they'll consider expanding it. Gov. Terry McAuliffe says the program already has been studied to death and it's time for action. We looked at dozens of Virginia Medicaid audits published in recent years to find out what they say about Virginia's $8 billion-a-year health program.
To see how Virginia’s Freedom of Information Act stacks up, we compared it to similar laws in Florida and Connecticut, two states that are recognized by experts for their strong open government laws.
PolitiFact tagged President Barack Obama with the "Lie of the Year" in 2013 for saying people who like their insurance were assured of keeping it under the Affordable Care Act. Does that validate House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's opposite claim that because of Obamacare, "The people who have health care and like it in this country won't be able to keep what they have?"
The Macker-Meter will monitor what progress, if any, Gov. Terry McAuliffe makes on 17 of his campaign promises last year.
PolitiFact Virginia takes quick look at Gov. Bob McDonnell's last address to the General Assembly.
PolitiFact Virginia’s Bob-O-Meter has tracked the progress of 48 promises Bob McDonnell made when he ran for governor in 2009. McDonnell, with less than two weeks remaining in office, has fulfilled 24 of them.
Here's a review of some of the most interesting claims Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Ken Cuccinelli made during the gubernatorial campaign.
Of the 14 Cuccinelli claims PolitiFact Virginia fact checked over the last year, 10 were rated Mostly False or worse. Of the 13 McAuliffe statements we checked, 11 were Mostly False or worse.
As attorney general in 2010, Republican Ken Cuccinelli issued an opinion that Virginia colleges could not protect gay employees and students from discrimination. That action, Democrats say, almost caused Northrop Grumman cancel plans to move its corporate headquarters to Virginia. PolitiFact Virginia took a look at the story, which has become an issue in this fall's gubernatorial election.
The gubernatorial candidates threw a few familiar punches. Here's a review of some of their claims:
Confused about what the debt ceiling is? As the government hurtles toward a possible default, here is an FAQ by PolitiFact's national staff about the debt ceiling and why it's important to every American.
Here's a look at some of the candidates' recurrent claims:
GreenTech Automotive, an electric car company, is under federal investigation and has not lived up to the promises of its founder -- Democratic gubernatorial nominee Terry McAuliffe. Virginia officials raised concerns about the venture in 2009.
As the scandal involving gifts and loans to Gov. Bob McDonnell and his family swirls, here's a look at how Virginia's political disclosure laws compare to other states: PolitiFact Charts: Rules for Governors Accepting Gifts By State Loan Disclosure Rules for Governors and Legislators By State
Despite projections that Obamacare will reduce most premiums -- and predictions to the contrary -- the law is very complicated and the result will vary depending on what type of health insurance you have.
The Commonwealth Institute takes issue with a recent Bob-O-Meter, telling us the improved health of Medicaid newborns happened "despite McDonnell, not because of him."
As gubernatorial candidates Ken Cuccinelli and Terry McAuliffe start to unveil their agendas, each is accusing the other of lacking substance. Here's a review of their key proposals so far.
"Black pastors are also going to have to answer whether they serve Jesus or the Democrat Party," said E.W. Jackson, the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor. "The black community will never prosper by betraying God and following leadership that curries the favor of the Democrat Party."
Based on erroneous statistics from the state, conservative groups are saying that teachers comprise only 35 percent of the employees in Virginia's public schools -- the lowest percentage in the nation.
The governor estimates that a pilot TV drama set at the Norfolk Naval Station could generate $50 million for Hampton Roads should the show go into serial production. We can't verify that number.
In listening to audios of the interview that have been posted to YouTube and the blog Not Larry Sabato, it becomes apparent that Stimpson's comments have been edited.
Many readers agreed with our Pants on Fire rating to Majority Leader Eric Cantor's claim that the U.S. "spent $1.2 million paying seniors to play World of Warcraft to study the impact it had on their brain." But some felt we were too tough on him, saying Cantor simply cited the wrong fantasy game and that the $1.2 million federal grant was still funding research involving seniors playing a video game.
Virginia polls open at 6 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. The Old Dominion is among 20 states with a 13-hour voting window. Only seven state have a longer voting day.
So far, we’ve assessed the governor’s follow through on 39 campaign pledges and have rated 18 of them as a Promise Kept. One reason for good marks is that McDonnell often qualified his promises that required cooperation from the General Assembly.
The Bob-O-Meter tracks 48 promises that Gov. Bob McDonnell made during his 2009 gubernatorial campaign. Of the 38 that so far have been rated, we've found that nearly half -- 17 -- have been fulfilled and earned a Promise Kept. Three were judged to be a Promise Broken. The rest of the pledges have either resulted in Compromise, been Stalled by events or are rated In the Works as McDonnell begins his last year in office.
Mitt Romney's claim about Jeep moving production to China at the expense of American jobs was last-ditch effort to win the election, but it hit a roadblock: the facts. People often say that politicians don’t pay a price for deception, but this time was different: A flood of negative press coverage rained down on the Romney campaign, and he failed to turn the tide in Ohio, the most important state in the presidential election.
Critics harrumph that fact-checking doesn't work because politicians keep lying. But politicians aren't our audience. Voters are.
President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are filling in the blanks on each other's policies with some far-fetched claims.
Allen has signed a pledge not to vote for any tax increases and relies on spending cuts to slash deficits. Kaine says there must be a combination of tax hikes and spending cuts.
Kaine, in his final budget, unsuccessfully proposed a 1 percent income tax increase. Many, but not all, individual earners at the $17,000 level would have seen their tax bill rise.
Allen’s campaign did not respond to a PolitiFact inquiry on whether he’s interested in overturning Roe v. Wade.
Tim Kaine and George Allen squared off for the fifth time Thursday night, reinforcing their positions on jobs, health care and the budget. Here's a review of some of their claims:
Sometimes we look into the statements and find that they don’t prove or disprove anything. So rather than put them to the Truth-O-Meter, we feel a quick explanation of our findings will suffice. Here are a few examples:
Tim Kaine and George Allen made a number of statements in Monday night's debate that were familiar to PolitiFact Virginia. Here's a recap:
Claims that Obamacare is the greatest tax increase in history or would charge $1 trillion in new taxes have been rated Pants on Fire.
The latest Crossroads GPS ad recycles some claims George Allen has been making about Tim Kaine’s record on taxes and defense spending.
Republican Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama, a Democrat, are running new ads in Virginia that contain claims that aren't completely true. Here is a summary of the ratings they've received.
A Democratic super PAC says, in a TV ad, that George Allen "called programs like Medicare and Social Security a `waste.'" Is that an fair assessment of Allen's comments, or taking advantage of a few garbled words?
George Allen and Tim Kaine made a number of statements in their debate that were familiar to PolitiFact Virginia. Here's our review. Look for more on the debate in the days ahead.
The sticking point is that Romney hasn’t specified what exemptions, deductions and loopholes he wants to get rid of. So it’s impossible to tell if the math in Romney’s tax plan adds up.
Gov. Bob McDonnell's mathematical proof doesn't always hold up.
U.S. Senate candidate and former Gov. Tim Kaine talked about the economic successes that his term in Virginia and Barack Obama's term as president brought. We took at look at the familiar talking points.
An Americans for Prosperity ad shows President Barack Obama promising to cut the national deficit during his first term and saying, "If I don't have this done in three years, then there's going to be a one-term proposition." Did President Obama really give himself a three-year deadline to accomplish that goal?
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell made many jobs claims during his speech at the Republican National Convention in Tampa on Tuesday night. Some were familiar to PolitiFact Virginia.
"In the real world, an 8.8 percent reduction in after-tax income is a significant blow," said Daniel Mitchell, a senior fellow at the libertarian Cato Institute.
"Today I'm pledging to cut the deficit we inherited by half by the end of my first term in office," President Barack Obama said on Feb. 23, 2009.
"Looking at all the evidence made public so far, we do not think Romney was actively involved in the day-to-day management of Bain after 1999," PolitiFact National wrote on July 13.
George Allen and Tim Kaine made a number of statements in their Senate debate that were familiar to PolitiFact Virginia. Here's our review. Look for more on the debate here in the days ahead.
The 30-second spot shows Democrat nominee Tim Kaine endorsing President Barack Obama’s $821 billion stimulus package. The moderator says the stimulus "actually wasted money studying ants in Africa," and paying for "office upgrades for politicians."
PolitiFact is not about mathematical balance between the parties in our ratings. We’re about making calls on the accuracy of political claims.
Was keeping Virginia's unemployment rate below the national average really a major accomplishment for Tim Kaine when he was governor? We checked.
Mitt Romney didn’t instigate a policy of sending jobs overseas when he was governor of Massachusetts, but he allowed such a policy to continue.
PolitiFact has often noted that economists say governors have a small effect their state's economy. For better or worse, the same thing was true when Mitt Romney was governor of Massachusetts.
The four candidates in the June 12 primary squared off in Falls Church on Friday night. We checked a few of their claims.
President Obama pledged to cut the deficit in half in February 2009, when it stood at $1.3 trillion. Today, the deficit is estimated at almost $1.2 trillion.
President Barack Obama held his first official campaign rallies in Columbus, Ohio, and Richmond, Va., on Saturday. He repeated several claims that PolitiFact has rated before and made new ones that PolitiFact will rate in the coming weeks.
The four Republican candidates squared off for the first time in Roanoke. We put some of their claims to the Truth-O-Meter. More from PolitiFact Virginia: *In Context: McDonnell denies his impending ad campaign *Ad Watch: Obama lauds his energy record *Ad Watch: American Energy Alliance blames Obama for gas prices
"Well, you know you can't believe everything you read in the papers," McDonnell said on MSNBC when asked about a report in The Washington Post that he planned to run TV ads in Virginia lauding his economic record.
Domestic oil production has increased during President Obama's term. But much of the gain comes from drilling on private lands that the president does not control. More from PolitiFact Virginia: *Ad Watch: American Energy Alliance blames Obama for high gas prices *On health care reform: What does the public want?
Steven Chu did call for boosting U.S. gas prices to "the levels in Europe." But this happened before he became energy secretary, when Barack Obama was campaigning for president. Chu had no ties to Obama at the time.
Polls show heavy majorities want the U.S. Supreme Court to strike all or part of the health care reform law. But the same surveys also show most of the public hopes the court will either uphold the law or everything in it except the mandate that Americans have health insurance coverage.
Politicians won't let you forget that you're paying more for gasoline. Voters are feeling the pinch, and leaders at the top are eager to point the finger. PolitiFact explores a few of their claims.
PolitiFact looked into the numbers and concluded that those who have used them should not be subjected to our Truth-O-Meter. They were relying on data that had been incorrectly reported to the federal government by the state education department, according to Charles Pyle, a department spokesman.
Crockett-Stark said a constituent, who is 82, awoke at 2 a.m. to the sound of someone breaking of a window at the funeral home where she lived. The woman, a sharpshooter, pulled a pistol and confronted the intruder as he was coming in the window. "So she grabs him up. She puts the pistol under his chin. She said ‘do you want to eat breakfast with the devil?’" Crockett-Stark said.
We do not dispute that precautions should be taken when mercury is released. But there’s a big difference between mercury beads spilling from a broken glass thermometer and the amount released from a shattered CFL light bulb. Marshall, in his statements, glosses over this key distinction.
PolitiFact Virginia has been closely following the debate over the ailing state pension. We thought this would be a good time to review our findings.
Several readers asked how it is possible that small businesses consistently create 70 percent of the nation's private sector jobs but employ only half of the workers. Here's our answer.
The 90-minute debate gave us just what we wanted for the holidays: a new list of political claims to fact check.
"At least 8,000 American servicemen are still listed as POW/MIA on North Korean soil," Wolf said in a November 1 news release. The Defense Department’s estimates a similar number of missing soldiers from the Korean War, but believes almost one-third of them are not in North Korea.
If you're interested in the Solyndra story, take a look at these fact checks.
"For you to give an overall `score’ based on your own selectivity about which quotes to analyze, and which to ignore, simply says more about you than about the featured politicians or their political parties."
We hope you usually agree with our ratings and understand when you don’t. During an age of blaring rhetoric from all political sides, our goal is present facts to help you reach your own judgements. That’s what makes this work important.
Elections are coming Nov. 8. If you come across a political claim that raises your eyebrows, or sounds too good or too bad to be true, let us know. We’d be interested in researching it for you and putting it to the Truth-O-Meter.
We’re introducing the Bob-O-Meter, a service aimed at monitoring some 50 campaign promises by McDonnell. The Bob-O-Meter will report what progress, if any, has been made on each pledge and rate whether it’s been kept, broken, altered in a compromise, or in the works. Those ratings will be tallied on PolitiFactVirginia.com, creating an up-to-the-minute and evolving report card on McDonnell’s administration.
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 radio ad says: "Congressman Scott Rigell voted to end Medicare, forcing seniors to pay more to protect tax breaks for Big Oil and millionaires."
We received more than 120 comments about our False rating on Cantor's recent claim that a Democratic plan to lift the debt ceiling would give the president a "blank check." Most of the comments took issue with Cantor, but a few were directed angrily at us. We thought we’d share a sampling of the response.
After an overwhelming response from readers, we're changing the Truth-O-Meter. Barely True will now be called Mostly False.
PolitiFact has been watching the debt-limit debate closely. As the deadline nears and the partisan impasse over tax increases and spending cuts remains, we thought we’d review a few major claims that have been weighed on the Truth-O-Meter.
What caught our attention was Kaine’s assertion that 23,000 people die each year due to lack of health insurance. When we checked, we found credible reports supporting and undercutting that claim, so we’re taking a pass on submitting his statement to the Truth-O-Meter. But we still want to summarize what we found.
Scott’s argument ignores a few details that drove up debt like, say, two wars overseas and the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression which resulted in stimulus spending that the congressman supported.
Politicians like to repeat juicy lines made by party leaders or campaign committees. But as a claim works its way through Congress, the truth doesn't always travel so well.
The report found sufficient evidence for EPA to conclude that formaldehyde exposure is a cause of cancers of the nose, nasal cavity, and upper throat.
We cited a widely-referenced investigation by USA Today. It showed average total compensation for federal employees was $123,049 -- $81,258 in salary and $41,791 in benefits. Average total compensation for private workers was $61,051 -- $50,462 in pay and $10,589 in benefits.
Did Obama really break with U.S. policy and call on Israel to return to its 1967 borders? No.
We found that none of the last seven Virginia governors has created jobs fast enough to keep up with working-age population growth. Of the nine governors dating back to 1978, only Democrat Chuck Robb met the standard set forth by McAuliffe. Robb led the state from 1982 to 1986.
Congress has raised the debt limit nine times since 2002 when the cap was $5.7 trillion. We thought it would be interesting to look at the voting records of Virginia’s congressional delegation on the measures.
"Not often am I ashamed to live in Virginia," the email said. "Between you, Gov. McDonnell and Eric Cantor, I am ready to move out."
But Axelrod was wrong when he said McDonnell balanced Virginia's budget by borrowing $3 billion against future federal transportation receipts. And McDonnell erred when he said "30 years after World War II, we cut the deficit every year."
Contrary to Rogers' sentiment, truth and politics are not always polar concepts. Four of the last five statements we’ve fact checked out have been rated True.
"Enough of the Truth-o-Meter!!!" one reader emailed. "We get it already. If it's a bad thing said by or about a Republican, then it's the truth. If it's a bad thing said about a Democrat then it's a lie. We get it already." Conversely, a liberal blog accused us of going easy on Republicans,
The Truth-O-Meter and the Flop-O-Meter went into late-October mode last week when former Gov. Tim Kaine announced he would run for the seat being vacated by fellow Democrat Jim Webb. Republican George Allen did not take it lightly.
McDonnell pledged to establish a bipartisan citizens’ commission to draw election maps. He appointed the 11-member panel in January and it has drawn electoral maps with an eye toward compact districts, not partisan concerns. But Tucker Martin, McDonnell’s director of communications, last week distanced the administration from from the panel. He said "the recommendations of the commission are theirs alone; they are not recommendations of the governor."
We couldn't find ample data to render judgments on a statement by Gov. Bob McDonnell on tourism and a tweet by U.S. Rep. Randy Forbes on regulations. But they're interesting topics so we thought we'd share a bit of our work.
We do want to draw your attention to the March 13 comments of two ESPN basketball analysts upon learning Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond was among 68 men’s basketball teams chosen to compete for the NCAA national championship. Basketball mavens Dick Vitale and Jay Bilas were outraged by VCU’s inclusion. They said some bigger-name schools -- specifically Virginia Tech and the University of Colorado -- were more deserving of the berth.
We always call the person who made the claim and ask where he or she got the information that his or her statement was based on. Sometimes the answers are a little surprising.
We figured that claim was made in an error. That number would mean an almost 18 percent drop in the number of workers in Virginia -- estimated at 3.9 million in January by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
We have revisited a claim by Gov. Bob McDonnell that education spending grew six times faster than student enrollment. The statement now is rated Half True after we re-calculated our figures to include the impact of inflation.
Politicians claim way too much credit for good jobs news and heap way too much blame on opponents when the news is bad. Economists keep telling us that the policies of presidents and governors have only a minor effect on economic cycles.
Our reader raised an interesting point: how does the increase in road costs compare to the rise in overall inflation?
"The statistics are staggering," PETA wrote in a sample letter posted on its web site Feb. 1 that members were urged to send to their governor. "In the U.S. alone, animals shelters must spend an estimated $2 billion in taxpayer money to take in, house, euthanize, and dispose of unwanted animals."
Warner, a Democrat, is planning on introducing a bill that would lower the national debt by cutting spending and reining in tax breaks. Warner acknowledges his legislation will be unpopular and, judging by the reaction we got, he’s right.
PolitiFact Virginia spared two politicians the rigors of facing the Truth-O-Meter even though their statements were obviously false. They were House Minority Leader Ward Armstrong and Gov. Bob McDonnell.
Gov. Bob McDonnell's staff says he misspoke when he said only 38 percent of Virginian's could attend one of the state's public colleges or universities.
After inquiries by PolitiFact Virginia on Thursday, the SCC acknowledged that it had given Armstrong incorrect data. Rates actually had climbed about 33 percent from 2007 to 2009, not 90 percent.
While our primary goal is to hold political figures in this state accountable for the factual statements they make, our secondary mission is to inform our readers about important issues. We know everyone won’t agree with all of our rulings, but we think reading our stories will better prepare you to discuss and make decisions about those issues.
The Truth-O-Meter is based on the concept that truth in politics often is not black and white, but shades of gray. We have three different shades of gray: Mostly True, Half True, and Barely True.