Tweeter in Chief

The Wall is Coming. According to Trump.

President Trump continues to use Twitter to push for a border wall, but he’s been relatively quiet on the government shutdown. The president had more than three times as many tweets that mentioned “wall” or “border” than he did that mentioned the “shutdown.”

Over the past week, President Donald Trump continued to use his massive Twitter following to try to build support for funding construction of a border wall. About 25% of the president’s 74 tweets last week mentioned “wall” or “border.” In fact, three of his five most-used words on Twitter were “wall,” “border,” and “security.”

The president’s Twitter followers seem to be backing him. His most-popular tweet of the week, which garnered more than 67,000 retweets, was a Game of Thrones-themed graphic, with the text, “The Wall Is Coming.”

But perhaps more surprising is how little, comparatively, the president discussed the government shutdown. Today marks the 17th day of the government being partially shutdown because Trump and Democratic leaders remain at odds over funding for the wall. However, the president has only mentioned the shutdown five times in the last week.

The Spin Factor

New Congress, Who Dis?

The freshman class of the 116th Congress is coming out strong on Twitter. Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) were responsible for Congress’ five most-popular tweets this week. In fact, Ocasio-Cortez’s top tweet had more than twice as many retweets as President Trump’s most-popular tweet.

The 116th Congress convened last week, with a new freshmen class and plenty of tweets. All five of the most-popular tweets this week were penned by freshmen Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.)

Ocasio-Cortez was responsible for four of the five top tweets, which focused heavily on rebutting the GOP. Her top tweet had 158,415 retweets, more than twice as many retweets as President Trump’s most-popular tweet of the week, which nabbed 67,641 retweets.

Another indication that the freshman class was among the most active on Twitter this week? Topics like being “sworn in” topped issues like the government shutdown and funding for a border wall.

All the President's Friends

New Year, Same Allegiance

Even in a new year consumed by the government shutdown and other political woes, Trump’s “friends” remain steadfastly loyal to the president. Trump is by far their top focus on Twitter, followed by criticism of Democrats and support for a border wall.

The select 45 accounts that President Trump follows on Twitter continue to be his biggest allies in 2019. Their top three most-tweeted words in the past week were Trump’s Twitter handle “@realdonaldtrump,” “Trump” and “president.”

The group’s top tweets discussed job creation and the stock market, the government’s ability to function during the partial shutdown, and Trump’s work to help the Coast Guard during the shutdown.

All the President’s Friends also used the social media platform to take aim at the president’s critics, as their fourth most-used word was “Democrats.” Meanwhile, “border” and “wall” were their sixth and eighth most-used words, respectively, which highlights the group’s efforts to drum up support for Trump’s pet issue.

The Spin Factor

Shifting From Politics to Policy

Congress found common ground this week, as members on both sides of the aisle used Twitter to focus on legislative issues. But a closer look reveals that the party divide is still alive and well.

As the 115th Session of Congress nears an end, lawmakers appear to have a renewed focus on their jobs. Over the last few months, we’ve seen The Spin Factor use Twitter to activate their bases and discuss news of the day. But this week, we saw a clear shift from politics to policy.

The top 20 words used by congressional lawmakers over the last week include “bill,” “health,” “act,” “farmbill,” “support,” “bipartisan,” and “passed”, as well as words like “Trump,” “House,” “Senate” and “Congress.”

But despite a common legislative focus among Democrats and Republicans, drilling down further into the top terms shows that the party divide is still alive and well.

Republicans were focused on the Farm Bill (HR 2), which was approved by Congress last week and is headed to the President for his signature. Republicans in Congress tweeted about the Farm Bill 377 times, compared with 223 tweets from Democrats.

Meanwhile, congressional Democrats used Twitter to focus on health care and renew their vows to protect Obamacare. Democrats’ tweets over the last week included 475 “health” mentions, compared with just 60 from Republicans.

All the President's Friends

Twitter Shows Who Your Real Friends Are

We’ve long known that the 46 accounts President Trump follows on Twitter are some of his biggest cheerleaders. But this week’s analysis shows that some are better Twitter friends than others.

This week, the president’s Twitter handle @realDonaldTrump was retweeted 56 times by accounts that he follows. That marks a 30% increase from this group’s average retweet rate – 43.3 retweets – of @realDonaldTrump over the past three months.

But a closer look at the data shows that the group’s 56 retweets of President Trump came from just five accounts. In fact, two accounts — @KatrinaPierson and @DiamondandSilk – were responsible for 86% of the group’s retweets of the president this week, with 24 each.


Harris Breaks Away From the 2020 Pack … on Twitter

Sen. Kamala Harris may be setting the groundwork for a 2020 presidential campaign. She had eight of the 10 top tweets by retweet among the rumored 2020 Democratic Presidential candidates last week.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) has found her Twitter stride, dominating the potential 2020 Democratic Presidential hopefuls in tweet engagement over the last week. Harris had eight of the top 10 tweets by retweet among this group.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) still had the No. 1 tweet by retweet count, but it’s worth noting the difference in their follower base – Sanders has 7.99 million followers vs. Harris’ 1.96 million.

Harris’ top tweets focused on today’s most salient issues, including immigration, health care and decriminalizing marijuana. She also reminded her followers of her top priorities.

It appears Harris’ 2020 campaigning is beginning … on Twitter at least.

The Spin Factor

Post-Election Blues (and Reds)

With the midterm elections behind them, Republican members of Congress appeared to distance themselves from Trump. But they weren’t shy about using Twitter to honor late President George H.W. Bush.

As we’ve discussed in past issues of The Conversation, Democrats in Congress tweet about President Trump far more than their Republican counterparts. But with the midterm elections behind them, the partisan divide has increased even further. Democrats tweeted about Trump a whopping 7.8 times more than Republicans during this period, with 490 tweets vs. 63 tweets about Trump.

However, in light President George H.W. Bush’s death over the weekend, Republican lawmakers took to Twitter to voice their condolences and highlight his legacy. When looking at the percentage of each party’s tweets about Bush, 10 percent of all Republican Congress members’ tweets discussed Bush, compared to five percent of Democratic lawmakers’ tweets.

Tweeter in Chief

D.C. the New Salem?

With several hot news topics this week, President Trump chose to focus on the Mueller investigation.

The news this past week gave the Tweeter in Chief plenty of topics for Twitter, but President Trump’s social media was focused heavily on special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. Seven of Trump’s 67 tweets this week mentioned “Mueller” specifically, and he continued to call the investigation a witch hunt. “Witch” and “hunt” had six and five mentions respectively on the Tweeter in Chief’s Twitter feed.

The passing of former President George H.W. Bush only garnered three Twitter mentions from Trump – the same number of times he mentioned his former presidential rival Hillary Clinton.


Points for Originality… but Does It Add Up to Votes?

Potential 2020 Democratic presidential candidates are quite original when it comes to their tweets. But they’ll have to increase their volume on Twitter to compete with Trump in 2020.

The majority of the rumored 2020 Democratic presidential candidates have one thing in common when it comes to their Twitter strategy: they tweet original content far more often than they retweet.

The one exception among these presidential hopefuls? Former HUD secretary Julian Castro, whose retweets account for 72.23% of his total Twitter activity this past week.

But when it comes to tweet volume, the Democratic presidential hopefuls have a long way to go to catch up with President Trump. The group tweeted an average of 22.6 times this week, compared to 67 tweets from the Tweeter in Chief.

While the potential Democratic candidates may get points for their originality, they’ll need to increase their volume to compete with Trump in 2020.

The Spin Factor

Dems Out-Tweet GOP on Midterm Elections … With One Exception

Over the last week, Democrats were tweeting significantly more than Republicans about the recent midterm elections. The one exception? Florida.

It’s been almost two weeks since the Nov. 6 midterm elections, but the process of tallying results and post-election analysis has continued. In fact, the Mississippi Senate race will go to a runoff election on Nov. 27.

Therefore, it may not be surprising that Congress members continue to discuss the election on Twitter, but we’re seeing some interesting party divides.

Democrats in Congress tweeted about the “election” 55 times, compared to Republicans’ 37 tweets. The difference was even more stark when looking at tweets that mentioned the word “vote” – 119 vs. 47.

But Republicans have been more vocal on Twitter about one specific state: Florida. GOP Congress members had 33 tweets on “Florida,” compared with Democrats’ 27 tweets.

With Democrats Sen. Bill Nelson and Andrew Gillum both conceding their respective Florida races, we’ll be watching how the Spin Factor’s attention shifts towards Mississippi this month.