The Trail

Twitter Feed, Twitter Feed on the Wall, Who’s The Most Popular of Them All?

Over the month of January, former Vice President Joe Biden took the lead for most mentions by journalists. But the candidate mentions in the broader Twitter universe tell a very different story.

As primary season heats up, Democratic candidates are fighting to be heard on all platforms. So The Conversation took a look at which candidates’ handles Twitter users and political journalists were mentioning most.

During the first month of 2020, Washington, D.C. journalists and pundits mentioned the Twitter handles of Former Vice President Joe Biden; former South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg; Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.); Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg the most. Other than Biden’s peak in early January, pushing him to the top of the list, candidates’ Twitter handle mentions all had peaks and troughs, with slight differences in volume.

But candidates’ handle mentions from users across the wider Twitter universe told a very different story. Twitter users at large mentioned Sanders the most, 4.3 million more times than Biden, the most mentioned candidate among journalists. In a surprise twist, entrepreneur Andrew Yang was the third-most mentioned candidate overall, with two million mentions—despite not making it into the journalists’ top five. And Bloomberg, the fifth-most mentioned candidate by D.C. journalists and pundits, couldn’t crack the top five overall.

What does the chasm between D.C. journalists and pundits’ and Twitter users’ mentions say about candidates’ popularity? Tonight, we’ll start to find out.