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.

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?

The Spin Factor

No Place Like Home

Four of the eight most-retweeted accounts by Congress this past week favor the Republican side of the aisle. Those accounts include the GOP House and Senate handles, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and conservative media source Fox News. The only Democratic representative (pun intended!) on Congress’ most-retweeted list this week is Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.)

This is surprising because Democrats retweet on Twitter far more than Republicans. In fact, the left posted five times as many retweets this week than the right.

So why does the Spin Factor’s most-retweeted list so heavily favor Republicans? It appears that Republican lawmakers tend to retweet the same core conservative accounts, while Democrats diversify – or are more liberal in – the tweets they share.

The Spin Factor

Trump and Putin Unite Congress

Congress came out in full force on Twitter after the Helsinki Summit featuring the meeting of President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Members from both sides of the aisle took to Twitter to criticize President Trump for his comments regarding Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) had the most shared tweet, calling the President’s comments “disgraceful.” That tweet alone received more than 60,000 retweets. Meanwhile, Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff (Calif.)’s tweet calling out Trump’s “would” vs. “wouldn’t” mea culpa garnered more than 40,000 retweets.

The Spin Factor

A Day of Solidarity… in Tweet Volume

Since we began monitoring Congress’ activity on Twitter several months ago, Democrats’ tweet and retweet volume has consistently been higher than their Republican peers.

However, tweet volume for both parties was nearly the same on one day this past week —the Fourth of July. Throughout much of the rest of the week, tweet volume remained similar, with Democrats tweeting at a slightly higher cadence than Republicans.

The difference in retweets, however, remains. Throughout the week, Democrats had a higher volume of retweets than GOP lawmakers. Though Republicans hold the majority in Congress, Democrats’ tweets appear to resonate more with their core constituents.

The Spin Factor

#FamilyBusiness

With immigration topping this past week’s news cycle, it’s no surprise that Democrats in Congress were vocal on Twitter about how the White House’s policy was affecting children and families. But what issurprising? Republicans stayed relatively quiet on the issue.

Democrats tweeted about children nine times more than Republicans, and about family/families four times more than GOP lawmakers over the last week.

Republicans, on the other hand, continue to tout the economy more than Democrats. They tweeted 63 times on the issue, compared to just 28 tweets from Democrats.

The Spin Factor

For Your Aisle Only

Members of Congress stuck close to their side of the aisle this week when sharing tweets. Looking at the top 10 most-retweeted accounts by Congress, all of the accounts were retweeted exclusively by members of their respective political base. Democrats and left-leaning accounts were retweeted by Democrats, and the same goes for Republicans.

This serves as another reminder that in today’s divisive political environment, everyone is speaking into their own echo chamber.

The Spin Factor

Negative Opinions Get Positive Feedback

The tweet volume of Democrats and Republicans in Congress followed a similar pattern this week, with Dems’ tweet quantity exceeding the GOP’s throughout the week. Interestingly, both parties went relatively dark over the weekend despite the tweet-worthy March for Our Lives.

The retweet popularity of Congress’ Twitter activity, however, tells a very different story.

On March 22, the most-retweeted posts included both Sen. Rand Paul and Rep. Mark Meadows’ opposition to the omnibus spending bill, while the most-retweeted congressional post on March 24 was from Rep. Joe Kennedy, criticizing the White House’s planned transgender military ban.

Haters like to hate? Across the board, tweets criticizing Trump and Congress, even from Republicans, received the most engagement.

The Spin Factor

Congress Finds Common Ground …. on Memorial Day

When looking at the Congress Twitter verse, we often see two very different news streams. But this week, Democrats and Republicans found some common ground… around Memorial Day. Democrats in Congress tweeted about Memorial Day 248 times, while Republicans had 233 tweets on the topic.

Despite that patriotic agreement, the Spin Factor remains alive and well. Democrats remain focused on the president with 396 tweets mentioning Trump, compared with just 68 tweets from Republicans. Meanwhile, Republicans were much more likely to highlight the positive results of last week’s Jobs Report than Democrats (109 tweets vs. 48 tweets).