What do the country’s most powerful politicians tweet about? What words do they use the most, and what are the most talked-about issues? I’ve been curious for a while, and finally decided to investigate the political rhetoric on one of the largest social media networks.
So here’s what I did:
- I selected ten of the country’s most influential politicians: Barack Obama (President), John Boehner (Speaker of the House of Reps), Harry Reid (Senate Democratic Leader), Mitch McConnell (Senate Republican Leader), Dick Durbin (Senate Democratic Whip), John Cornyn (Senate Republican Whip), Eric Cantor (House Republican Leader), Nancy Pelosi (House Democratic Leader), Kevin McCarthy (House Republican Whip), and Steny Hoyer (House Democratic Whip).
- I chose 25 terms that are commonly a part of political conversation. Some express positive sentiments, some are negative, and others refer to particular people, issues and current events.
- I dug through the last month of tweets from each politician and recorded how many times the terms showed up in their tweets.
I’ve observed certain conditions in my analysis as well. The words counted were present in original tweets, hashtags, mentions and retweets made by the given politician. I also acknowledge the fact that they’re not necessarily tweets straight from the politician, and rather their staff most times. But this is a study of political conversation on social media. It’s a look at how various politicians choose to present themselves to the public eye, as their social media presence is a reflection of each figure’s ideals.
But what I’ve found is interesting, and there are undeniable trends among the language I’ve surveyed. So let’s look at the data and see what conclusions we can reasonably draw.
What do they talk about?
- The most tweeted word among the politicians surveyed was Obama. The next most popular words were shutdown, Republican and health.
- The most popular words tweeted by the Democrats were shutdown, Obama, health and Republican.
- The most popular words tweeted by the Republicans were Obama, shutdown, Democrat and support.
- The most popular issues tweeted about were the government shutdown, healthcare and debt.
- In general, positive terms were used nearly four times more than negative terms.
- President Obama’s favorite words to Tweet are Obama and Obamacare. This is mostly because he signs his name after personal statements, his account tweets quotes by him, and his account uses the #ObamaCare hashtag frequently.
Some other fun facts
- Of those surveyed, the politicians using the analyzed words the most were John Cornyn, Barack Obama and John Boehner. The politician tweeting these words the least is Dick Durbin.
- These politicians rarely solicit retweets, but of those surveyed, Eric Cantor and President Obama did so the most.
- John Boehner frequently uses #FairnessForAll and #4jobs hashtags.
- Eric Cantor uses the hashtag #WorkOpportunity frequently.
- Steny Hoyer frequently wishes his friends happy birthday on Twitter.
What else can we conclude about the tweeting habits of these politicians? Let me know your thoughts in the comments if I missed anything.