A few months ago, I researched how many state legislators had social media accounts and which social media platforms they were most likely to use.
That post focused on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube and found that 46% of all state legislators have an account on at least one of these platforms, with Facebook being the most used of the three. As a follow-up, I decided to look at whether one of the two major parties was more likely to have social media accounts than the other.
My first assumption was that Democrats, being more popular with younger voters, would be more likely to have social media accounts. As I entered more social media data into the Cicero API database, I discovered that Republicans more than held their own on this front. After we entered more data into Cicero I started to believe that Republicans might actually have more social media accounts than Democrats. I readjusted my expectations, but this was all assumption. It made me curious enough, though, to further explore the data and see if either of my hunches might be correct.
As it turns out, the data indicate that in both the upper and lower chambers of state legislatures, Republicans and Democrats hold almost identical patterns in their social media account membership.
Overall, nearly half of all Republicans and Democrats (48% and 47% respectively) have an account with one of the three major social media players that I was studying.
In the upper chambers, 51% of Republicans and 52% of Democrats have at least one account. Nearly 3 in 10 in each party (27% of Republicans and 28% of Democrats) use only one platform. That drops to 2 in 10 (21% of Republicans and 20% of Democrats) when it comes to using two platforms. Only a small number of legislators use all three platforms: 3% of Republicans and 4% of Democrats.
In the lower chambers, the similarities continue. Forty-seven percent of Republicans and 45% of Democrats have at least one social media account. Again, nearly 3 in 10 in both parties (28% of Republicans and 30% of Democrats) have an account with only one platform. That drops to 16% of Republicans and 13% of Democrats using two platforms. Again, only a small number of legislators use all three platforms: 3% of Republicans and 2% of Democrats.
The parties show similar account ownership when it comes to each platform as well. In the upper chambers, 44% of Republicans and 45% of Democrats have Facebook accounts.
While in the lower chambers, 41% of Republicans and 40% of Democrats have Facebook accounts.
The Twitter data tells a similar story: 30% of Republicans and 29% of Democrats in the upper chambers have Twitter accounts.
While in the lower chambers, 20% of Republicans and 19% of Democrats have Twitter accounts.
Only 5% percent of Republicans and Democrats in their states’ upper chambers have YouTube accounts.
In the lower chambers, 7% of Republicans and 3% of of Democrats have YouTube accounts.
The data hammer the same point home: both parties are using social media in almost the exact same fashion. It doesn’t matter if I look at the upper or the lower chambers, or if I tease the data out to specific social media platforms. In just about every circumstance, the results are mind numbingly similar.
We are continuing to add more social media data into the Cicero API Database, and will start tracking sites like Tumblr, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram. My gut tells me that LinkedIn will take over YouTube as the third most used social media account in our data, but then again, I’ve been wrong before.