Share

Policy: Technology

The 'Twitter gap' is one Democrats don't want to talk about

By |
Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Republican Party,Democratic Party,Ashe Schow,Twitter,Technology,Social Media

Democrats are supposed to be the party that all the young, hip people are crazy about. But when it comes to Twitter, Democrats have actually fallen behind Republicans in several important metrics.

Washington Post reporter Christopher Ingraham analyzed how members of Congress were doing on Twitter, and found some surprising statistics.

“The median Republican House member has 6,872 Twitter followers, while the median Democrat has 6,015, a difference of about 13 percent,” Ingraham said. “Republican senators enjoy an even wider advantage — 23,252 followers versus 19,429 for Democrats, a gap of 17.9 percent.”

That might not be as sexy a “gap” as the debunked wage gap, but for a party that prides itself on being “with it,” the discrepancy is alarming.

Ingraham said that this gap may hurt Democrats in November, when getting the youth out to vote is critical.

But Ingraham also includes the caveat that Twitter followers may not all be legitimate, considering the 2012 study that found about 40 percent of Congress' Twitter followers may be fake.

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., for example, both have an absurdly high number of fake followers, but are among the top 10 most-followed members of Congress. Ingraham also found that seven of the top 10 most-followed members are Republicans.

But other statistics Ingraham found aren’t so easy to dismiss. Republicans follow more people than Democrats, especially Senate Republicans.

“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,” Ingraham said. “This would give them an edge in crafting messages that their constituents care about.”

Also, House Republicans tweet more than House Democrats. The bright spot for Democrats in Ingraham’s analysis would be that Senate Democrats tweet more than any party in either chamber.

With the youth vote playing an ever-important role in elections, expect Battleground Twitter to become a recurring theme.

View article comments Leave a comment