Top Ten U.S. Senators on Twitter

There are 100 of them — two for each state. More than $202 million was spent in 2012 alone in an effort to get politicians elected to a position in the office which they hold. They are our U.S. Senators. 

There’s a good reason behind the often-told joke of how every time a senator looks in the mirror, s/he sees a president staring back. With only 100 available seats — two in each state — these legislative powerhouses typically need to spend a lot of money and build a vast political network to gain admission to the United States Senate. The scarcity of available seats, 6-year terms, and overall prestige associated with holding a seat in the upper house of the bicameral legislature attracts some of America’s most competitive political talent to compete for office. 

Of these 100 elected representatives, 96 of them communicate with their constituencies through Twitter. We’ve found strong correlation between a politician’s ability to effectively communicate through social media and her or his ability to win elections and ultimately be an effective representative. Given this, PoliticIt set out to determine who was the elite of elite on Twitter based on followers, tweets, and total mentions (Our full ranking methodology is outlined below). With out further ado, here are the top 10 U.S. Senators on Twitter. 

Top Ten U.S. Senators on Twitter

1. John McCain (R) – Senior Senator | Arizona


Followers: 1,794,093
Tweets: 4,295
Mentions in 24 hours: 401
Twitter handle: @SenJohnMcCain





2. Bernie Sanders (ID) – Junior Senator | Vermont


Followers: 128,225
Tweets: 5,207
Mentions in 24 hours: 177
Twitter handle: @SenSanders 





3. Claire McCaskill (D) – Senior Senator | Missouri


Followers: 83,023
Tweets: 2,409
Mentions in 24 hours: 143
Twitter handle: @ClaireCMC





4. Chuck Grassley (R) – Senior Senator | Iowa



Followers: 61,616
Tweets: 2,313
Mentions in 24 hours: 406
Twitter handle: @ChuckGrassley





5. John Cornyn (R) – Junior Senator | Texas


Followers: 33,845
Tweets: 7,929
Mentions in 24 hours: 186
Twitter handle: @JohnCornyn





6. Kirsten Gillibrand (D) – Junior Senator | New York


Followers: 53,955
Tweets: 3,572
Mentions in 24 hours: 102
Twitter handle: @SenGillibrand





7. Jim DeMint (R) – Junior Senator | South Carolina

Followers: 147,007
Tweets: 1,403
Mentions in 24 hours: 1,800
Twitter handle: @JimDeMint





8. Orrin Hatch (R) – Senior Senator | Utah 


Followers: 35,170
Tweets: 2,819
Mentions in 24 hours: 70
Twitter handle: @OrrinHatch





9. Lindsey Graham (R) – Senior Senator | South Carolina


Followers: 25,608
Tweets: 2,819
Mentions: 70
Twitter handle: @GrahamBlog





10. Chuck Schumer (D) – Senior Senator | New York


Followers: 41,887
Tweets: 1,636
Mentions: 85
Twitter handle: @ChuckSchumer





Perhaps you have noticed that many of the top 10 Senators on Twitter preside over states with large populations. We’ve also created a top ten ranking that levels the playing field by comparing each Senator’s metrics adjusted for the population (based on 2010 U.S. census data) s/he presides over with her or his competitors’ metrics.

Top Ten U.S. Senators on Twitter (adjusted for state population)


1. Bernie Sanders (ID) – Junior Senator | Vermont


State population: 625,741
Followers: 128,225
Tweets: 5,207
Mentions in 24 hours: 177
Twitter handle: @SenSanders




2. John McCain (R) – Senior Senator | Arizona


State population: 6,392,017
Followers: 1,794,093
Tweets: 4,295
Mentions in 24 hours: 401
Twitter handle: @SenJohnMcCain




3. Chuck Grassley (R) – Senior Senator | Iowa


State population: 3,046,355
Followers: 61,616
Tweets: 2,313
Mentions in 24 hours: 406
Twitter handle: @ChuckGrassley





4. Jim DeMint (R) – Junior Senator | South Carolina


State population: 4,625,364
Followers: 147,007
Tweets: 1,403
Mentions in 24 hours: 1,800
Twitter handle: @JimDeMint





5. Mark Begich (D) – Junior Senator | Alaska


State population: 710,231
Followers: 9,201
Tweets: 2,296
Mentions in 24 hours: 27
Twitter handle: @SenatorBegich




6. Claire McCaskill (D) – Senior Senator | Missouri


State population: 5,988,927
Followers: 83,023
Tweets: 2,409
Mentions in 24 hours: 143
Twitter handle: @ClaireCMC


7. Orrin Hatch (R) – Senior Senator | Utah 


State population: 2,763,885
Followers: 35,170
Tweets: 2,819
Mentions in 24 hours: 70
Twitter handle: @OrrinHatch




8. Chris Coons (D) – Junior Senator | Delaware


State population: 897,934
Followers: 9,104
Tweets: 2,950
Mentions in 24 hours: 22
Twitter handle: @ChrisCoons




9. Lindsey Graham (R) – Senior Senator | South Carolina


State population: 4,625,364
Followers: 25,608
Tweets: 2,819
Mentions: 70
Twitter handle: @GrahamBlog





10. Mike Lee (R) – Junior Senator | Utah


State population: 2,763,885
Followers: 14,688
Tweets: 1,768
Mentions in 24 hours: 142
Twitter handle: @SenMikeLee





Now that you have seen the top ten, you are prepared to see the bottom ten U.S. Senators on Twitter. Here are the rankings

Methodology 

Data on these rankings was gathered between December 4 and December 6, 2012. Three metrics were considered for each U.S. Senator: total Twitter followers, total tweets the Senator has tweeted, and total mentions on Twitter including the politician’s handle within a 24-hour time period. Each of these three metrics were given a weight. We gave total Twitter followers a weight of 50% significance. We gave total tweets the senator has tweeted a weight of 30% significance. Finally, we gave total mentions within a 24-hour time period a 20% weight. 

Sterling Morris

PoliticIt provides It Scores on political races. An It Score measures a politician’s digital influence. It Scores have correctly predicted more than 700 election outcomes in 2012 with 91% accuracy indicating that digital influence seems to correlate with election results and political performance.


Sterling Morris is a co-founder at PoliticIt. He is the producer of the nation’s first rankings of business schools on social media published by BizEd. Connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.



Share this article