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.


The Top Politicians on YouTube

By Becky Hogan

YouTube has close to one billion unique viewers each month—making it a great way for politicians to reach constituents via video.

Not only is the video-sharing site a way for politicians to extend the news cycle and share video clips of press appearances and interviews, it’s also a means to reach followers in just seconds with the click of a button, before sharing views with the media.

Of course, it’s also widely used to disseminate campaign ads during elections in the hope that they will go viral.

And with YouTube moving to become a news platform with its live streaming feature, it’s becoming even more relevant to politics.  In April, YouTube announced that it would give live streaming capabilities to all US Congress members after thousands tuned in to YouTube to watch President Obama’s State of the Union address and the corresponding Republican response this February.

We took a look at our data to see which U.S. politicians have the most subscribed-to YouTube channels.


It’s an interesting mix on both Democrats and Republicans, mostly from the House or Senate.  New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is the only governor to make our list.  President Obama has 16 times the subscribers that Senator Rand Paul.

How are these lawmakers YouTube-ing most recently?

Representative Chris Van Hollen became a YouTube hit during the government shutdown for a video he posted called  “The GOP’s little rule change they hoped you wouldn’t notice” which calls attention  to the House of Representatives’ rules regarding a bill to avoid the government shutdown. This flew under the radar for nearly two weeks until Van Hollen posted his video. The video has since surpassed 3.4 million views.

Last week,  President Obama tried to rev up his political supporters by sending a YouTube video to members of his political arm, Organizing for Action,  to ask for help in registering people for health insurance.  Monday, former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal endorsed Governor Christie via YouTube just days before his election against Barbara Buono. Senator Warren’s remarks on the government shutdown a few weeks ago have received over 1.4 million views.  And Ted Cruz has already posted 6 videos to his channel within the past week … all of them are about Obamacare.

Allen West’s Online Footprint Expands

Allen West

By Becky Hogan

Since losing his congressional post in 2012, Allen West has increased his national profile as a conservative firebrand.

He’s one of the most outspoken critics of the Obama Administration, and there’s no doubt that since joining Fox News in May, he’s been able to expand his reach.

This week is a great example of West’s growing political brand. When Democratic Congressman Alan Grayson compared the Tea Party to the Ku Klux Klan this week in a fundraising e-mail,  West criticized both President Barack Obama and leading Democrats  for their silence on the e-mail.

West also called out Democratic National Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz among other Democratic leaders.  Interestingly, Wasserman Schultz responded the next day after West demanded a response.

But social data shows that Facebook users were talking more about West than either Wasserman Schultz or Grayson.

Grayson Gaffe


Not only was West able to solicit a response from Wasserman Schultz, but saw over 300,000 unique users talking about him the day after he on Facebook.

The former Flroida congressman took to Twitter Wednesday to voice his disgust on the Grayson issue: “Shocked r black POTUS hasn’t spoken out re: Klan imagery. Damn glad my parents inspired me to depart the plantation.”

This year West has seen major gains on Facebook as well as increasing gains on Twitter.

Allen West on Social Media


The former Florida congressman launched a new website earlier this month which is likely fueling his support on social media.  The news website,, is meant to be a platform for his conservative message. He’s seen over 127,000 new Facebook Likes in October alone and over 12,000 new Twitter followers this month.

In September, West told the press that he’d be interested in running for the U.S. Senate in 2016 if a spot opens up, though he has said he won’t challenge Marco Rubio for his seat.  In the meantime, he’s wasting no time expanding his national profile and using online engagement to gain supporters.


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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