study released today by communications firm Burson-Marsteller.Republican congress members may have a big advantage in the run-up to the midterm elections. A full 72% of Congressional Republicans have at least one Twitter account, compared to 55% of Congressional Democrats, according to
Republicans also had 38% more followers on their congressional accounts, where they tweeted about legislation. Even worse news for Democrats: Republicans had almost double the followers for campaign-specific accounts like @foxxforcongress and @VotePerriello.
It's not surprising to see that Republicans are making good use of Twitter, considering the conservative affinity for talk radio. Some 41% of talk radio listeners identify as Republican compared to 27% as Democrats (the reverse is true for NPR). Talk radio is a lot like Twitter - host talks, listeners call in; account tweets, followers retweet and reply.
The most-followed member of Congress is Senator John McCain, who has more than 1.7 million followers and is on 9,658 lists, although his campaign-specific account @teammccain is much smaller. A look at his Twitter page turns up retweets, @ replies, hash tags, photos and updates from Twitter for iPhone, text and HootSuite.
A recent tweet by Republican John McCain, the most-followed member of Congress.
A tweet by Claire McCaskill (D-MO), the third most-followed member of the Senate with 40,000-odd followers.
If social media plays as big a role in the U.S. as it has in other countries, the Republicans' Twitter edge could grab them some Congressional seats. "Data from the 2008 Presidential election suggests that grassroots campaigning via the Internet, including social media, contributed to President Obama's win," Burson-Marsteller concludes. "Future analyses will demonstrate how social media plays a role for congressional seats in the November 2010 election." The study was based on data on data from June.
Do you think Twitter will make a difference in the mid-term elections? Why or why not?