Interactions between Twitter users over politics can be dehumanizing, or in the case of programmed bots with Twitter accounts, certifiably non-human. But a new analysis of the Twitter followers of the presumptive presidential nominees claims that their followers are not only human, they're voters, and they have a lot in common.
According to the report by the database marketing company Stirista, the followers of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton "turn out to be more similar than different." They found followers of each had similar distributions of age (mainly over 45), levels of education, and incomes. It will require some non-Twitter follower demographic analysis closer to the election to see if these overlaps demonstrate anything about the national electorate, or just the Twitter followers of the leading candidates.
The Donald Trump's most outrageous tweets:
In unsurprising news, the analysis shows Clinton has a higher proportion of women and non-white people following her, and Trump has a higher proportion of men. It also shows major policy differences on gun control, gay marriage, and immigration. Trust your intuition, and it will guide you to how each candidate's followers feel about each.
The analysis compared Twitter information to Stirista's database of American voter information:
Stirista pulled the follower handles on April 25, 2016, and matched them to its national database, looking for email addresses, and then matched those emails to the Stirista Political database of information about U.S. voters. Of Trump's 8.1 million Twitter followers, Stirista identified 660,000 email addresses and matched those to 97,000 names on the voter database. In Clinton's case, 6.2 million Twitter followers generated 600,000 emails and matched to 100,000 voter names. Thus, in both cases, the large volumes ensure a high level of confidence that the samples are statistically significant.
It found that about 90 percent of both candidates' followers are regular or infrequent voters, leaving only about 10 percent of each candidate's followers new to the process. This is consistent with a Politico analysis that showed that Trump wasn't bringing new voters into the process as he claimed. The political trolls aren't always bots or conflict loving nihilists it turns out, quite often they're just normal American voters.