If you are a user of the social media site Twitter, you may feel like there are many more tweets in your feed from Democrats than any other political affiliation. A new study shows you are not wrong and that, as you may have guessed, Twitter is not a good proxy for the average US adults’ political leanings.
A recent study conducted by the Pew Research Center shows that 10% of adult Twitter users have produced 92% of all tweets since November 2019. Of those tweeting the most, 69% identify as Democrats or Democratic-leaning independents. This analysis corroborates other Pew studies showing there are more Democrats on Twitter than Republicans.
Also, the study suggests Democrats on Twitter are more left-leaning than their non-Twitter using counterparts. While 43% of non-Twitter using Democrats identified as liberal, 60% of Democrats on Twitter identify as liberal. Among Republicans, there was virtually no difference between the number of Twitter and non-Twitter users who identified as very or somewhat conservative (60% and 62%, respectively).
The study also found that most US adults on Twitter rarely post. Despite this, Democrats tend to be more active on Twitter in general. For example, the median Democrat follows almost 2 times as many other accounts (126) as the median Republican user (71).
Of the 10% most active on Twitter, the average Democrat user tweeted 1,600 times while the average Republican in this group tweeted just over 800 times in the ten months over which the study was conducted.
The study looked at a set of 3,518 U.S. adults with valid, public accounts whose Twitter activity could be matched to their survey responses, including to their stated party affiliation. Non-Twitter using American data comes from Pew’s American Trade Panel members, which surveys a random sampling of US residential addresses online.