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.

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.

The Spin Factor

Midterms or Bust

The Pittsburgh shooting has shaken the nation, but lawmakers’ most-popular tweets this week are about the midterms.

Despite the recent news of the Pittsburgh shooting and pipe bombs, Congress is continuing to focus its Twitter conversation on next Tuesday’s midterm elections.

Of the five congressional tweets with the most retweets over the past week, three are related to the upcoming election. The top tweet, by a large margin, is from Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) encouraging people to go out and vote. The second most-popular tweet was from Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) responding to President Trump’s Tweet saying that Republicans will protect Americans with pre-existing conditions and encouraging his followers to “vote Republican.” The fifth most-popular tweet was from Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) discussing the midterm election ballot.

Only time will tell how voters respond on Tuesday, but for now, Congress is rallying for a Nov. 6 showdown.

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 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.

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.