Category Archives: Senators

Senate Sweeps: The Championship

Bracket (1)

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Winners: Ted Cruz (R-TX), Mike Lee (R-UT)

Losers: Rob Portman (R-OH), Bernie Sanders (I-VT)

We’ve reached the finals, and our two remaining contenders have been together since the beginning. Of the four Senators, Bernie Sanders came in second overall last week, but couldn’t match the social media powerhouse that is Ted Cruz. Sanders tweeted 60 times last week, but his very active week on Twitter only garnered 772 new Twitter followers.  Meanwhile Ted Cruz proved his online presence is well-established–he tweeted  12 times and gained over 3,300 new followers.  And Rob Portman, despite being a strong contender in the Midwest, was outmatched by Lee’s strong showing on Facebook and YouTube.

Mike Lee owes much of his prominence to his affiliation with Ted Cruz; the two work together at the Senate Conservative Fund, a PAC promoting conservative Republicans.  Cruz has a significantly stronger social media presence – he dwarfs Lee in followers and likes. However, the final round of #SenateSweeps is the social engagement round, looking at how Senators are actually interacting with their constituents. Metrics we’ll be looking at include Comments, Retweets, and Shares.

Can Mike Lee squeak out a victory on the back of more active engagement? We’ll announce the champ of #SenateSweeps later this week.


Senator Feinstein’s Missed Opportunity

Senator Feinstein

By Becky Hogan

Senator Dianne Feinstein has been one of the strongest supporters of the NSA’s surveillance activities. But when news broke of U.S. spying on the country’s allies, she changed her tune.

In a statement this week, Feinstein condemned spying on America’s allies.  She said she was “totally opposed” to such efforts and concerned  that President Obama did not know about them until recently.

The California Senator also released an NSA “reform” bill Thursday.  Feinstein claims the measure would increase privacy protections and congressional oversight of the program, but preserve activities she deemed vital to preventing terrorist attacks.

The NSA story and the woes of the Obamacare exchange website have been competing for national news coverage all week.  Earlier in the week, Feinstein was even outpacing coverage on the Affordable Care Act.

Feinstein in the News

It’s rare that one of Obama’s staunchest allies would take a stance against the Administration, and as a result she’s seen quite a bit of media coverage on the issue.  But she hasn’t taken to social channels to advocate her cause.

This could be a missed opportunity for Feinstein.  She has not posted to her Facebook or Twitter accounts which means that her position on the NSA surveillance program has been overlooked on social media–simultaneously, her national media coverage has been on the decline since Wednesday.

NSA vs Feinstein

While the National Security Agency has seen an increase in Facebook Talked Abouts everyday this week, Feinstein’s Talked Abouts have been declining.  One of the most common ways lawmakers extend media coverage is by taking to social media to fuel support and discussion on the issues they are championing.

Of course Feinstein is a veteran Senator with a reputation for being outspoken on issues she cares about even when she’s at odds with fellow Democrats. But by neglecting to use social media channels to champion her position on NSA snooping, she isn’t maximizing her online influence–especially compared to other Senators.

A staunch proponent of increasing gun control,  Feinstein’s assault weapons ban lost in the Senate in September and she blamed the Senate for shirking it’s responsibility.  We’ll be watching to see whether she uses ramps up her social media this time around to drum up public support for reigning in the NSA.

Senate Sweeps: The Final Four


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Winners: Ted Cruz (R-TX), Mike Lee (R-UT), Rob Portman (R-OH), Bernie Sanders (I-VT)

Losers: Rand Paul (R-KY), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Kristin Gillibrand (D-NY), Harry Reid (D-NV)

This was a rough week for Senate Democrats. Senators Klobuchar, Gillibrand, and Reid were all knocked out – the only non-republican remaining is Democrat-allied independent Bernie Sanders. That’s not to say Democrats haven’t been active on YouTube – but the launch of created an opportunity for some high-volume for conservative critics.  All four matchups this week had something interesting about them.

Ted Cruz vs Rand Paul

Ted Cruz and Rand Paul both had popular videos this week, ranking first and second respectively. The differentiating factor is how each of them used YouTube; while Senator Paul’s videos were primarily television appearances, Senator Cruz created original content in an easily sharable 30-second video. While both Cruz and Paul have been incredibly effective at using YouTube, Cruz’s prominence in the fight over Obamacare combined with his savvy in producing original content nudged him over into the final four.

Mike Lee vs Harry Reid

Despite being the Majority Leader in the Senate, Harry Reid has not uploaded a video to YouTube in over 3 weeks. Against Mike Lee, who has been active on YouTube and in the anti-Obamacare fight, that just doesn’t cut it. Senator Reid is not weak on social media by any means, but Senator Lee’s popularity has been enhanced by his association with Ted Cruz. The finals have a very real chance of being a Ted Cruz – Mike Lee showdown.

Bernie Sanders vs Kristen Gillibrand

Bernie Sanders is without a doubt the most effective social media user among the Democrats. Although both have the same kind of videos up, Sanders’ audience is big enough that he is able to stay in the top four. Although no slouch on social media, Gillibrand’s videos were never able to get the same kind of traction.

Rob Portman vs Amy Klobuchar

This one wasn’t much of a competition. Although she’s active on Twitter and Facebook, Senator Klobuchar hasn’t updated her YouTube page in over a year. Senator Portman also has a weak YouTube presence, but has been consistently uploading videos as Senator.

The final four have proven they have what it takes to survive Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube only rounds – we’ll see who has the strongest social media presence in the second all social media round next week.

Senate Sweeps: Round 4


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Winners: Mike Lee (R-UT), Harry Reid (D-NV), Rob Portman (R-OH), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Rand Paul (R-KY)

Losers: John McCain (R-AZ), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Al Franken (D-MN), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Tim Scott (R-SC), John Cornyn (R-TX)

We’re down to the elite 8, and we’re surprisingly split down the middle: exactly 4 Republicans and 4 Democrats (technically 3 democrats and one Democrat-caucusing Independent). This was a week of upsets, including our number 1 seed getting knocked out. Once again, Ted Cruz crushed the competition – the only Senator with a similar Twitter presence this week was Mike Lee, Cruz’s close ally. Here’s our favorite matchups of the week:

John McCain vs Mike Lee: Mike Lee has 78,329 followers. John McCain has 1,844,219. Yet despite having over a million more followers, John McCain didn’t have much engagement from other Twitter users. On the other hand, Senator Lee is coming off his prominent role in the government shutdown. His engaged followers retweeted him over 13,000 times this week – Senator McCain had a little over 800 in the same period. This is likely because Senator McCain’s followers mostly date back to his 2008 campaign, while Mike Lee gained most of his in the past few months. Lee’s more recent followers are engaged and energized, frequently retweeting and replying to his tweets. The lesson? Just having a lot of followers doesn’t mean much if they are not engaged.

Al Franken vs Rob Portman: This was the closest matchup of the week, and it came down to volume: Al Franken only tweeted twice this week, compared to 10 from Rob Portman. Although both of Senator Franken’s tweets got more attention than any of Senator Portman’s, the sheer difference in volume allowed Portman to squeeze ahead. This makes Portman the last Republican in the Midwest, up against the higher seeded Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). Portman already squeaked past one of the Minnesota Senators – can he beat the other?

Elizabeth Warren vs Kristen Gillibrand

Elizabeth Warren and Kristen Gillibrand are arguably the two most prominent women Senators in the Northeast. Warren was ranked much higher than Gillibrand in the Facebook round, and seemed like the favorite going in. However, Gillibrand’s more active Twitter presence contrasted sharply with Warren’s, allowing her to win the round and move on to the final.

Next week is the YouTube round, where there is huge variation between politicians. The elite 8 have made it through 3 rounds already – will any of them totally flounder with YouTube activity? Will anybody have a video go viral, launching them into first place. Find out after another week of Senate Sweeps!

Three States Showing Social Media Savvy in #SenateSweeps

TX Senators

By Becky Hogan

Minnesota, New York, Texas. What do they have in common?

All three states still have both of their senators competing in the Sweet Sixteen of #SenateSweeps this week.  And these states have strong partisan identities when it comes to their Senatorial representation–Minnesota and New York both have only Democrat Senators, while Texas has only Republican Senators in office.  This could be a major factor in their staying power in the competition.

Minnesota  This week Minnesota Senator Al Franken looks to be on track to beat Ohio Senator Rob Portman.  Amy Klobuchar who also represents Minnesota is likely to unseat Missouri Senator Roy Blunt. this means Franken and Klobuchar may go head-to-head next week in Round 4.

Minnesota Sweeps

New York  The Eastern region includes two of the closest match ups in this week’s round of #SenateSweeps which will focus solely on Twitter engagement.  New York Senator Chuck Schumer faces the formidable Bernie Sanders from Vermont.  Meanwhile, Kirsten Gillibrand will go up against Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.  Both women haven’t been in the Senate long, but have built up a lot of momentum on social media and with their constituents.  These races are going to come down to the finish line for who can mobilize most effectively on Twitter this week and not only gain followers, but also retweets and mentions.

New York Sweeps

Texas  Texas Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz are still in play in TrendPo’s social media competition as well. It’s no surprise that Cruz is still in the competition after all the government shutdown buzz and this week he’s up against South Carolina Senator Tim Scott.  Based on last week’s Twitter gains, it looks like Scott has an uphill battle this week against Cruz.  Cornyn will face Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, and it looks like Cornyn better start ramping up on Twitter fast if he’s going to survive to the next round of #SenateSweeps.

Texas Sweeps

When we looked at all-time social media presence at the beginning of the competition, Arizona and Kentucky were front-runners on Twitter.  But on a week-to-week basis, Senators from New York, Minnesota, and Texas have proven they know how to drive online engagement.

As the glitches with the Obamacare website replace the government shutdown as the number one story in the news, we’ll see how Senators capitalize on this via Twitter throughout the country.

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