The Spin Factor

The Blue Wave Hits High Tide …. on Twitter at Least

While we’re used to congressional Democrats and Republicans operating in two very different Twitter-verses, it’s still surprising that with the midterm elections just three weeks away, Democrats are tweeting about the elections and encouraging their followers to vote more than 2.5 times as often as Republicans

This week, congressional Democrats turned to Twitter with their “Get Out the Vote” messages. Nearly 160 tweets from Dems mentioned either “election” or “vote,” most of them encouraging their followers to head to the polls in November. Interestingly, Democrats tweeted about the midterms more than 2.5 times as often as Republicans.

While it often seems congressional Democrats and Republicans are operating in two very different

Twitter-verses, it’s surprising to see such tweet disparities when it comes to the upcoming elections.

Perhaps less surprising was Republicans’ near silence on the United Nations’ massive climate change report, which was released last Monday. Democrats in Congress had 122 tweets that mentioned the word “climate,” compared with only three tweets from Republicans.

Republicans instead focused their Twitter activity on Hurricane Michael, with twice as many tweets as Democrats, and calls to have Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein testify before the Senate.

The Fourth Branch

Public vs. Peer Popularity

Ezra Klein, founder and editor-at-large of Vox, is responsible for four of the five most popular tweets from D.C. journalists and pundits in the past week. But when we look at who D.C. journalists and pundits are retweeting, Klein is nowhere to be found.

Four out of the five most retweeted tweets from D.C. journalists and pundits in the past week came from Ezra Klein, founder and editor-at-large of Vox. Klein saw a big spike in retweets in the past week. His tweets average about 815 retweets, but that number jumped to 1,595 this week.

Sam Stein, politics editor at The Daily Beast and an MSNBC contributor, was the only other journalist to make the list. All five of the most popular tweets from D.C. journalists and pundits were about the Ford and Kavanaugh Senate hearings.

Interestingly, when we look at the most frequently retweeted accounts by D.C. journalists and pundits, Klein is nowhere to be found. His peers retweeted him just seven times. In comparison, Burgess Everett – a Politico congressional reporter – had 73 retweets from D.C. journalists and pundits.

The Takeaway? Klein’s tweets are resonating with the general public, but not so much with the D.C. media.

Tweeter in Chief

New Week, Same Trump

President Trump had a nearly 29% drop in Twitter activity over the last week. But although the frequency of his tweets declined, his focus on Twitter – himself – remains consistent.

Despite the heavy news coverage last week of the Senate hearings on Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, as well as the United Nations Security Council meeting, the president’s Twitter activity continued to center around himself.

The POTUS’s top two words used on Twitter were “president” and “trump,” tweeted 12 and eight times respectively. While Trump did mention “Kavanaugh” five times on the social media platform, none of his tweets mentioned Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who testified Thursday about an alleged sexual assault by Kavanaugh.

It’s also worth noting that Trump may have been a bit preoccupied last week, as his tweet activity declined significantly. The president tweeted 43 times over the past week, compared to an average of 60.3 tweets per week over the last year.

The Spin Factor

Kavanaugh Got Republicans’ Tongues

While last week’s Senate hearings on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh captured the attention of much of Washington, D.C. … and Twitter, congressional Republicans stayed relatively mum. In fact, they tweeted more about taxes than Kavanaugh or Ford.

It seems Congress is divided even when it comes to tweeting about congressional activity.

Last week’s Senate hearings on Brett Kavanagh’s Supreme Court nomination quickly became the focus of Washington, D.C., the media and even Saturday Night Live.

Congressional Democrats were outspoken on Twitter, mentioning Ford and Kavanaugh in 8.6% and 8.7% of their tweets respectively over the last week.

But Republicans were comparatively quiet, mentioning Ford and Kavanaugh in just 1.5% and 3.9% of their tweets respectively. Perhaps even more telling is that Republicans mentioned their bread-and-butter topic taxes more than either term, with 148 mentions, or 4.2% of all tweets.

All the President's Friends

Making Dad Proud

Donald Trump Jr. has clearly learned a few Twitter lessons from his father. And his followers have noticed.

President Donald Trump’s first-born, Donald Trump Jr., took a page from his father’s Twitter playbook this past week. Among the 47 accounts Trump Sr. follows on Twitter, Trump Jr. had eight of the top 10 most-retweeted tweets. Most of these tweets either defended the president or attacked actions by the Obama Administration and Democrats, just like his dad’s most-popular tweets.

The similarities don’t stop there. Trump Jr. tweeted 114 times in the past week, while Trump Sr. tweeted 117 times. And, Trump Sr. retweeted himself six times, while his son retweeted himself 10 times. Like father, like son…

The Spin Factor

A Partisan Hurricane?

Hurricane Florence was most-tweeted subject among Republicans in Congress this past week. Among Democrats? That title still goes to Trump.

As Hurricane Florence made landfall in the U.S. late last week, it gained the Twitter attention of Republicans in Congress, but Democrats remained focused on a different type of storm.

“Trump” and “president” were two of the most frequently tweeted words by Democrats in Congress over the last week, with 304 and 165 tweets respectively. Meanwhile, they had 156 tweets that mentioned the hurricane.

On the other hand, congressional Republicans’ Twitter activity was focused on Hurricane Florence, with “hurricane” (199 tweets), “#hurricaneflorence” (157 tweets) and “#florence” (157 tweets) leading their Twitter dialogue. Republicans in Congress had only 71 tweets that mentioned “Trump.”

One reason for the congressional Twitter divide this week? Red states were among those most affected by Hurricane Florence.

Tweeter in Chief

Tweeting Up a Storm

This week, Trump’s retweets of other accounts was at an all-time high, as he used the platform to provide hurricane-related updates. But the president’s original – and typical – tweets remain the most popular among his base.

A new Twitter strategy? President Donald Trump retweeted more than usual this past week. Trump’s retweets made up 34%—or 40 of 117 tweets—of his overall Twitter activity over the last seven days.

Most of his retweets were related to Hurricane Florence, with the president retweeting accounts like the U.S. Coast Guard, CDC and the South Carolina National Guard. The account Trump retweeted the most over the past week was FEMA, with six retweets (although he also retweeted himself six times). In addition, Trump had 20 original tweets about Hurricane Florence, and six tweets about the death count from last year’s hurricane in Puerto Rico.

Interestingly, none of Trump’s top tweets by retweet had anything to do with the hurricane. Instead, the president’s most-popular tweets contained the typical political rhetoric against Democrats.

The Fourth Branch

Obsessed With The President

Even in his death, Sen. John McCain can’t take the media spotlight away from the president.

It may have felt like Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) death and funeral services dominated the social conversation and news coverage over the last week, but Twitter tells a different story.

D.C. journalists and pundits had 819 tweets about “Trump” over the last week, plus an additional 205 tweets that mentioned the word “president.” In comparison, this group tweeted 580 times about “McCain” (they also had 278 mentions of “John,” but those were most likely in the same tweets).

Even the death of a 30+ year senator and two-time presidential candidate can’t take journalists’ attention off of the president.

The Spin Factor

Dems Keep Trump Topical on Twitter

With the backdrop of Sen. John McCain’s funeral and just 60 days until the midterm elections, Democrats in Congress are focused on one individual.

During the week of Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) funeral, Democrats in Congress had a different politician on their mind.

Democrats mentioned President Trump in a total of 295 tweets, nearly 10% of all tweets from that group. In comparison, there were only 29 tweets mentioning Trump from congressional Republicans, a little more than 1% of their tweets.

Republicans focused more of their tweets on McCain, out-tweeting Democrats 172 to 117.

With about 60 days until the midterm elections, this raises an important question: Are Republicans in Congress distancing themselves from the president? Or, is this week an outlier given the passing of one of their own?

Tweeter in Chief

His Own #1 Fan

While the country mourned the loss of Sen. John McCain, Trump used Twitter to keep the attention on himself.

Despite the influx of media coverage this week around the late Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) funeral, Trump acted a bit out of character by staying relatively quiet on the subject.

But that doesn’t mean he was quiet. He just turned up the tweet volume on … well, himself. “Trump” was the president’s most-tweeted word this past week, with 13 tweets. He also had eight tweets that included the word “president.” To top it off, three of the five tweets that Trump retweeted this week were his own. Talk about being your own biggest cheerleader.

This doesn’t mean Trump ignored the McCain funeral services though. During her eulogy on Saturday, Meghan McCain said, “The America of John McCain has no need to be made great again, because America was always great.” Later that evening, Trump tweeted: “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!,” likely in response to Meghan’s comments.