The Washington Times-Herald

Breaking News

Homepage

April 23, 2014

House Republicans are more active on Twitter than Democrats

WASHINGTON — Your representative in the House is almost certainly on Twitter. Your senator definitely is. But how are they using the social network? Are Democrats more active than Republicans, or vice versa? Who has the most followers on the Hill? I recently scraped together summary Twitter data — follower count, following count and number of tweets — for every member of Congress. Some of the more interesting findings are below.

Keep in mind that simple counts are a blunt instrument for measuring activity on Twitter, and moreover that follower counts in particular should be treated with a certain amount of skepticism. A 2012 study found that nearly 40 percent of congressional Twitter-account followers were either inactive or from bots.

Still, the summary statistics are useful for comparing Twitter activity between congressmen, and between the parties as a whole. And there's a lot more at stake here than simple bragging rights.

1. Republicans have more followers than Democrats.

The median Republican House member has 6,872 Twitter followers, compared with 6,015 followers for the median Democratic member. Republican senators enjoy an even wider advantage: 23,252 followers vs. 19,429 for Democrats. Considering that Democrats hold a technological advantage over Republicans in other realms of voter outreach, these gaps are fairly surprising.

Democrats' efforts to maintain control of the Senate and continue treading water in the House will hinge largely on their ability to get out the vote, particularly among young and minority voters. The Pew Research Center notes that Twitter adoption levels "are particularly high among younger adults and African-Americans," so the fact that Republicans have the larger Twitter follower base represents a potentially serious deficit for the Democrats this fall.

All told, Democratic House and Senate members have a 5.5 million Twitter followers, compared with 7.2 million for the Republicans — a deficit of 1.7 million followers. In an era when razor-thin electoral victory margins are becoming increasingly common, this gap matters.

2. Republicans also follow more people on Twitter.

The median Republican in Congress — House and Senate — follows about 100 more Twitter users than the median Democrat — 613 vs. 517. Following more people might mean that Republicans have a better sense not only of the national conversation on Twitter but also of what their constituents are saying. This would give them an edge in crafting messages that their constituents care about.

3. House Republicans tweet more than House Democrats, but Senate Democrats tweet the most.

The median House Republican has tweeted 1,282 times, while the median House Democrat has made only 986 tweets. But it's a different story in the Senate, where the median Democrat's tweet count is 1,792 compared with the Republican's 1,605.

4. Seven of the 10 most-followed legislators are Republicans.

With 1.9 million followers, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., is Twitter's reigning king of the Hill. He has about 400,000 more followers than the No. 2 legislator, Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, comes in third with 640,000, followed by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., at 595,000. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., fill slots 5 through 7. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., and Eric Cantor, R-Va., round out the top 10.

5. Seven of the 10 most frequent Tweeters are also Republican.

Having tweeted nearly 38,000 times, Booker is twice as active as the next most-frequent tweeter, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif. Boehner, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., round out the top five.

6. Only eight House members do not have individual Twitter accounts.

Four Democrats — Reps. Alcee Hastings, Fla., Ed Pastor, Ariz., Collin Peterson, Minn., and Nick Rahall, W.Va. — are Twitterless, as are four Republicans — Reps. Sam Graves, Mo., John Mica, Fla., Tom Petri, Wis., and Rob Woodall, Ga. Every senator is on Twitter.

A note on the data: I scraped the data from legislators' Twitter profiles on Saturday. To determine Twitter user names, I started from a list maintained by GovTrack.us and added/amended user names based on my own research. Many members maintain multiple accounts — for instance, an individual account and a campaign account. In these cases, I used the account that appeared to be most active, as determined by number and recency of tweets.

1
Text Only
Local News
Obituaries
  • BurkhartObit Dorothy Burkhart

    Dorothy Jean Burkhart, 88, of Washington, passed away at 7:40 a.m. Tuesday at Emerald Place. Born Oct. 1, 1925, in Plainville, she was the daughter of Claude and Violet (Garner) Killion. A 1944 graduate of Plainville High School, she was a homemaker

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lisa Phillips-Baker
  • Dorothy Burkhart
  • Paul Henderson
Local Sports
Community News
Must Read
Entertainment
Opinions
Clicker Ticker
Times Herald Video
You Need To Know Now!
Featured Ads
Times Herald Photo


2014 Washington Catholic High School Prom

Facebook
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide