For the first three months of 2012, PolitiFact labored to produce 516 Truth-o-Meter rulings. This brings the grand total number of rulings, since PolitiFact began, up to 5,223 as of March 31 (with the milestone 5,000 passed in the latter half of February). Since I started tracking the Truth-o-Meter ruling by ruling beginning in 2011, this is the highest number of PolitiFact rulings done in one quarter. The last time 500 was exceeded was in the second quarter of 2011. The addition of PolitiFact Tennessee and the work of PolitiFact New Hampshire supplementing PolitiFact National helped put them over 500.
The Truth Index for all the rulings has changed very little from the overall Truth Index rating at the end of 2011, of negative 13.3; it's gone up microscopically to a negative 13.2, and indicates a very flat trend line up (sort of like the downward trend of national unemployment, ha ha). Here is how the distribution of the rulings by party broke down:
This breakdown has improved somewhat since the end of 2011 when fact-checks on Republicans reached a heady 67 percent while only 24 percent were on Democrats and Liberals in December. Compared to overall, however, there has still been more emphasis on Republican fact-checks (overall for Republicans it's about 53 percent and for Democrats, 39 percent). The obvious explanation, of course, is the coverage of the Republican primary candidates as well as the domination of Republican governors/governments in the states.
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The Truth Index "Report Cards" for the quarter (above) show the Republicans held steady, moving up a point at a negative 22 while the Democrats improved very slightly from about a positive 1 to just over 5. As a point of reference, the Republicans' score shows a very average spread of Truth-o-Meter rulings (one in each category) while the Democrats, at a score close to zero, are slightly better than average, as if they were spread equally across all categories except Pants on Fire.
Next up is a new and improved feature: instead of a month to month Truth Index, it will be week to week for the first quarter...although it doesn't tell you much.