Republican senators more popular on Facebook, Twitter than Democrats

Last Updated: Sun, Aug 22, 2010 09:20 hrs

When it comes to politicians' presence on Facebook and Twitter, Republicans outshine Democrats, according to a study.

Republican senators have sharper social media skills than Democrats, revealed a first of its kind study at George Washington University and New York University Stern School of Business.

George Washington University School of Business Dean Doug Guthrie, and NYU Stern Professor of Marketing Scott Galloway, evaluated and ranked 100 U.S. senators' Digital IQ.

The term Digital IQ refers to an individual's online competence including his or her presence on websites, social media following and sentiment, digital marketing aptitude and search engine optimization skills.

The study reveals that Republican senators are savvier online and are acquiring Facebook "likes" and Twitter "followers," at a greater rate than Democratic senators.

Facebook "likes" are a way of showing approval of posted content on the social networking website and Twitter followers denote people who follow a person's online activity.

"This study underscores the reality that social media is not a toy, and that digital literacy and agility are powerful tools in today's business and political arenas. It appears that U.S. senators are making their comprehension of the social media realm a priority and are using it as a way to engage prospective voters and mobilize grassroots efforts," said Dean Guthrie.

One of the major findings of the study is that republicans boast an average Digital IQ 5.5 points higher than their colleagues across the aisle.

Seven out of 100 senators ranked "genius," the highest level of digital competence. Four of those seven are Republican.

Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC), one of the most conservative senators and a Tea Party advocate, has the greatest digital velocity (acquiring likes and followers) of any senator.

Comparison of Digital IQ by congressional class demonstrates that senators up for re-election lead on every social media platform, highlighting the push (need for votes) and pull (increased recognition and awareness) effect of campaigns.

Funds raised and name recognition gained may no longer be the most accurate predictor of victory, which indicates the impact of Digital IQ.

"Social media gives voice to people's preferences and intentions, demonstrating the affinity for candidates and ideas. As a forward-looking indicator, social media following may be a crystal ball for what will happen in the voting booth this November, and it's looking very red," said Galloway. (ANI)

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