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Donald Trump has something going for him that his likely opponent in the presidential general election lacks — an army of dedicated followers, especially on Twitter.
“Beltway insiders like to dismiss Donald Trump’s strength in social media as a mirage – a following of reporters and political gadflies, not Republican voters and core activists,” wrote Darren Samuelsohn for Politico.
“New data shows the Washington elite are wrong.”
Seventy percent of those following Trump’s @realDonald Twitter account appear to be not only real people, but also true-blue supporters.
Analysts reached this conclusion by comparing the handles of Trump’s Twitter followers with voting records.
The report also concluded that almost 90 percent of Trump’s supporters consistently show up at the polls in nearly every election — only about 11 percent of his followers would be first time voters, according to the San Antonio database marketing agency Stirist’s report.
“It’s translating into votes,” Stirista CEO Ajay Gupta said. “Not at a one-to-one level. But at a 70 percent level, it is a pretty good margin.”
Stirista’s analysis tries to grapple with the still difficult-to-measure effect of social media on Election Day results amid one of the most engaging online presidential races in U.S. history, and one that, thanks to Trump, has upended traditional White House campaign practices.
Over the last year, Trump has skimped on data, policy and press communications in favor of a prolific and controversial series of tweets and Facebook posts. In terms of dollar value, it’s an obvious move for a decades-long celebrity like Trump who can essentially declare his opinions for free in short 140-character bursts that are often full of braggadocio, insults and incorrect information, but which prove to be too juicy for the media to ignore.
Perhaps the biggest difference between the two presumptive nominees is that Trump appears to enjoy a more widely-diverse political following.
While less that 18 percent of Clinton’s 6.2 million Twitter followers claim to be Republican voters, more than 31 percent of Trump’s 8.1 million followers are Democrats.
Watch out, Hillary — he’s coming to get you.
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