Analysis of Democrats and Republicans on Twitter

A study by the Pew Research Center found that Democrats and Republicans on Twitter differ in their views of Twitter's overall impact on democracy.

Nearly equal proportions of Twitter users say Twitter is either good (37%) or bad (38%) for U.S. democracy, with 24% saying it has had no impact either way. But Republican Twitter users (including Republican-leaning independents) are about twice as likely as Democrats and Democratic leaners to say the site is bad for U.S. democracy (60% vs. 28%). In contrast, about half of Democrats who use the site say it is good for U.S. democracy - and only 17% of Republican users say the same.

Democrats are more likely to be prolific twitter users.

Conservatives have been complaining that Silicon Valley companies and social media platforms are showing a clear bias against them. While the Pew study does not refute or support this view, it does suggest in its research that Democrats are more likely to be prolific Twitter users.

For the study, the Pew Center conducted a series of surveys asking Twitter users to share their usernames in order to verify that they were real people.

The first finding wasn't entirely surprising: advanced users dominated the platform. According to the Pew Research Center, 10 percent of users generate 92 percent of all tweets in the United States. The median adult Twitter user in the U.S. posts just one tweet per month. For Democrats, that average is one tweet per month, while for Republicans, the number is close to zero.

Pew then took a deeper look at the political makeup of these super users. 69 percent of those described as "highly active users" identified themselves as Democrats or Democrat-leaning independents. Among the most active subset, the 10% most active Democrats tweeted 157 times a month, while the 10% most active Republicans tweeted 79 times a month.

Another important difference emerged in the category of Democrats and Republicans: Democrats on Twitter tend to lean more to the left than non-tweeting Democrats. According to the Pew Research Center, 60 percent of Democrats on Twitter describe themselves as "liberal," while only 43 percent of non-tweeting Democrats do.

By contrast, Republican Twitter users seem to be more in line with the prevailing conservative sentiment. The study says 60 percent of Republican Twitter users and 62 percent of Republicans who do not use Twitter consider themselves "very or somewhat conservative.

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