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Report: Republicans Rule the 'Twittersphere

"Republican lawmakers are far ahead of Democrats when it comes to spreading their message in 140 characters or less."

If a new report showing who the top Capitol Hill Twitter members are is any indication of this fall's election success, Republicans are due for some big gains.

According to a new report from public relations firm Burson-Marsteller, eight of the 10 most-followed Twitter accounts on Capitol Hill belong to Republicans. And while more Democrats have Twitter accounts, Republicans are more active.

As Politico reports, the study found 67 percent of Republicans on Twitter are directly engaging other users, compared with just 41 percent of the Democrats who utilize the site.

Who are the most popular "tweeters?" Ironically, Obama's 2008 presidential rival John McCain (R-AZ) has the most followers, followed by House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) and Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC).

The other members in the top 10 are: Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA.), House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA.), Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI.) Only two Democrats cracked the top ten: Sens. Claire McCaskill of Missouri (No. 4) and Barbara Boxer of California (No. 7).

“The fact that neither Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi nor Majority Leader [Harry] Reid rank amongst even the Top 10 overall congressional users on Twitter speaks volumes ... ,” Dallas Lawrence, managing director for digital public affairs at Burson-Marsteller, told Politico. “With two months before the general election, Republicans in Congress hold a clear advantage in the Twittersphere.”

According to Politico, the report also found that:

  • 68 percent of House Republican Twitter accounts are using the “@” function to directly communicate with other users. Meanwhile, 46 percent of Democratic accounts were using the “@” function. About half of all accounts were re-tweeting content, but Republicans tend to be more prolific at “re-tweeting,” or forwarding messages on to their followers.
  • Republicans are almost twice as likely to maintain two Twitter accounts — one for their offices and one for their campaigns — than Democrats, the study found. Thirty-nine percent of GOP members have campaign-focused accounts, compared with 31 percent of Democrats.

  • Campaign accounts are used to broadcast messages on fundraising, rallies or to respond to opponents. Republicans have more people following campaign-focused accounts, with an average of 4,820 following Republicans versus 2,972 following Democrats.

During the 2008 campaign season, Barrack Obama and the Democrats largely ruled social media. But that reign seems to be dwindling. The article points out that this is the second such study showing Republican resurgence in the social media world. According to a study released in August by George Washington University and New York Universtiy:

Republican senators outpaced Democrats in terms of absolute online growth in July, accruing more than 3,000 more Twitter followers and 20,000 more Facebook “likes.” GOP senators have experienced a 6.7 percent month-to-month growth on Facebook, compared with 3.6 percent for Democrats.

Burson-Marsteller - Congressional Use of Twitter 2010

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