Mack Dominates Florida Senate Race on Twitter Last Week

Connie Mack IV continued his lead in Twitter last week, with nearly a majority of all tweets about Florida’s US Senate candidates:

Bill Nelson came in second, but far behind Mack.  LeMieux had a fairly small presence, and McCalister having so few tweets recorded that I had to go back and review it by hand to make sure my program didn’t have a bug!

When you look at the daily mentions, you can see how last week played out:

Connie Mack’s spike on 4/24 appears to be from two things: (1) many retweets of his congratulatory tweet to Romney for winning the primary, and (2) comments about his appearance on Chuck Todd’s show on MSNBC where Mack refused to say how he’d vote on student loans.  A lot of those comments were not positive.

Still, by dominating the news, Connie Mack is sucking the oxygen out of the GOP primary race.  That’s one of the advantages of holding a similar office — Mack is relevant today on issues that the winner of the race will confront next year.

“Mack campaign loses luster,” says Miami Herald. They just made that up, says I

The Miami Herald has an article today saying that Connie Mack IV’s campaign is fizzling out.  As evidence of this, they quote a few party insiders (many unnamed) and look at some very early fundraising reports.

When I look at what’s happening on Twitter, though, I call bullshit.

Let’s start with how much each of the candidates has tweeted lately:

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What we see is that McCalister is still not very active (we last looked at the three of them about three weeks ago), but LeMieux and Mack are fairly comparable in their activity.

So, how does the Twitterverse respond to them?

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Well, maybe if Connie Mack’s wife Mary was running for Senate in Florida we could call it a lackluster campaign, since her mentions are between LeMieux’s and McCalister’s.  But since it’s the Mr. and not the Mrs. who’s running, we can see that on Twitter the Mack Attack is dominating the rest of them.

Maybe the Miami Herald should escape the Brie and Chablis set and find out what’s really happening.  Because compared to his two opponents, Connie Mack is on fire.

Methodology & Notes:

Some important things to remember:

  1. I retrieved all tweets sent by the three candidates since 1/1/2012 to get a general level of their twitter activity.
  2. I retrieved all tweets sent by others in the past week that mentioned @ConnieMackIV, @RepConnieMack, @George_LeMieux, or @McCalister4FL.  Including RepConnieMack in the list had almost no effect on the results.
  3. Because of #2, Bill Nelson, Mary Bono Mack, and Mitt Romney were only counted in tweets that also included at least one of the candidates. In other words, I did not go looking for these folks, they just showed up when our three GOP contenders were discussed.
  4. Twitter popularity is not a scientific poll.  But I bet it’s a lot more accurate than asking a few grumpy insiders what they think!
  5. Just in case all the tweets about Connie were “hey, he’s losing his luster”, I read through them all.  Virtually all of his mentions were supporters.

Chuck Grassley’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Now that Saturday is over here on the east coast, I couldn’t resist taking another look at the viral explosion of Senator Chuck Grassley on Twitter today after he called the President “Stupid”.  Let’s start with how many Tweets mentioned him:

Tweets By Hour mentioning Senator Chuck Grassley

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His tweet went out at 11:51:22.  Prior to that moment, there had been 104 tweets mentioning him since the start of the day.  In the next 8 minutes or so (by noon), there had been 160 more tweets about him, and then the numbers skyrocketed after that.  There were over 1000 tweets between noon and 1pm!  Then things settled down until another spike that happened during the 6pm hour.

During the noon time burst, about half of the tweets were retweets, but it wasn’t it wasn’t a big retweet landslide where one or two tweets take over (like we’ve seen with huge spikes like, for example, as awareness of Travon Martin hit twitter).  The most retweeted tweets were from Grassley himself, and Chris Hayes’ calling Grassley out only got 20 retweets.  People were expressing organic outrage.

During the 5 to 7 o’clock burst (the second spike), the most retweeted message  was from David Axelrod.  At the end of the day, David Axelrod’s message got the biggest boost from retweeting, with 320 retweets and another 120 or so mentions.

It’s never a good day when your opponents get to tell the story about you…

Did Senator Grassley Call the President Stupid? Or is his Twitter Account Hacked Again?

Because that’s the charitable explanation of what’s happening.

Senator Grassley is no stranger to twitter, as he’s a consistent user.  Here’s a month by month level of tweeting he’s done over the past 12 months:

Senator Grassley's Twitter Usage

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You can ignore the last dip — it’s only the 7th of April, he has lots of days to go.

And he’s going to have a lot to say.  Because look at what’s happened to the number of mentions he’s getting on Twitter:

On 4/7, his average twitter mentions jumps from around 100 to over 3000

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Sadly for the Senator, most of those mentions are not favorable — they are all harshly critical of his Tweets from today (April 7th).  Just three little Tweets:

Senator Chuck Grassley disrespects the President

Most of the tweets are focused on the middle one, where he calls the President stupid, although a lot of people retweeted the last one.  Brevity is the soul of wit!

While I am no fan of the Senator, I will observe the following.  As far as I can tell, in his years and years of tweeting, he used the word “stupid” only once, and in reference to a law, not a person.  It seems out of character. So I hope he didn’t call the President stupid.  Because that would be a stupid thing to do.

What Twitter Clients do Senators Use?

I was curious what clients our US Senators were using to manage their twitter communications: something sophisticated? An integrated package that allowed them to track engagement?

Well … not really.  For the most part, the Senators are using the web interface to Twitter:

What client software are US Senators using with Twitter?

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The only software that counts as being reasonably sophisticated is Hootsuite, which is a web application that allows you to create, schedule, track, and analyze your tweets. Less than 10% of the tweets came through Hootsuite, though, with 21 senators using HootSuite for at least some of their messages.  Congratulation to the 21 members of the avant garde!

I’m kind of surprised there isn’t some sort of best practices standard for senators to use for Twitter at this point. I can understand using a mobile client for in-the-moment tweeting — it’s great to capture spontaneous observations and (especially) photographs.  But for back in the office (and often staffer driven) tweeting, using the web should only be a last resort.

With the disclaimer that I am only a satisfied customer, let me suggest why Hootsuite would be a better choice:

  • It’s cheap
  • It allows for better control over tweeting — you can have a bunch of staffers author proposed tweets but then one (or more) approve them
  • It allows you to schedule tweets.  If you have a brainstorm at 3am, it’s probably not the time to send that tweet (unless you are working on new insomnia legislation 🙂 )
  • It allows you to track engagement with tweets.  When people click on the links (there’s a link in every tweet, right? right?), you know which tweet did it.  That helps you be a better Twitter user
  • It gives you reports on your Twitter usage and engagement.
  • You look more professional, and I won’t call you out on using the web.  You don’t want to be a white-belt Twitter user forever.
  • Did I mention it allows you to track your engagement? And it’s cheap?
Sorry for pulling out the soap box!


The boring stuff: For each of the Senators who have a twitter account (see here), I retrieved their most recent 200 tweets (For Senator Inhofe, that goes back to 2008!) and tallied up what client was used for each.