Trump, guns win 2016 Twitter power rankings.

John Kasich and the Case of the Random Shruggie

John Kasich and the Case of the Random Shruggie

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Jan. 8 2016 6:30 PM

This Week’s 2016 Twitter Power Rankings

Ohio Governor John Kasich poses for a picture with a group of College Republicans at Portiillo's restaurant during a campaign stop on September 29, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois.

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

Rectangles are sized by number of retweets. Click on a candidate to zoom in.
Interactive by Andrew Kahn

Hello and welcome to Slatest’s 2016 Twitter Power Rankings, where we're back in action this week following the holidays. Above, you’ll find our handy interactive of the past week’s worth of candidate tweets: how many each White House hopeful sent and how often they were retweeted and favorited, along with how each fared in the 140-character fight with their political rivals on both sides of the aisle. (Click to zoom in on a particular candidate, and click again to see the content of each tweet.)

Below, meanwhile, you’ll find our tried-and-true method of ranking each candidate’s single most successful tweet of the past seven days. Together, the two offer a helpful snapshot of which topics dominated the political conversation online and also give us some insight into which contenders are winning the campaign Twitter wars and why.


The ground rules again:

  • For the rankings below, we’re defining a candidate’s most successful tweet as the one that receives the most retweets.
  • Tweets that include a direct request for a retweet are ineligible for the traditional rankings because that’s cheating. RT if you agree! (Retweet-begging tweets, though, will still appear in the interactive at the top.)
  • Only tweets from the past seven days are eligible. Since we’ll publish the weekly rankings every Friday, that means any tweet sent in the seven days prior to when we hit the big red button at around 10 a.m. to cull all the data.

Without further ado:

1.) Donald Trump (Previous ranking: 2)


2.) Bernie Sanders (1)

3.) Hillary Clinton (3)

4.) Ben Carson (4)

5.) Carly Fiorina (12)


6.) Rand Paul (9)

7.) Mike Huckabee (13)

8.) Marco Rubio (5)

9.) Ted Cruz (6)


10.) Martin O'Malley (8)

11.) Jeb Bush (7)

12.) John Kasich (15)

13.) Jim Gilmore (17)


14.) Chris Christie (14)

15.) Rick Santorum (10)

Overall and Single RT Winner: Donald Trump

That's 13 in a row in the overall category for the blustery billionaire. While most of his rivals tend to train their fire on the current Democrat in the White House, Trump routinely finds success by taking aim at the one trying to replace him next year.

Everyone's Talking About: Guns

More than a third of the candidates recorded their top tweet by playing to their respective crowds on guns, a topic that Obama put front and center this week with his newly announced executive actions—as well as his ongoing PR campaign to sell them to a public that likes the proposals but not Obama's decision to circumvent Congress to implement them. Just how much do Twitter users like to RT a presidential hopeful talking about guns? See: Jim Gilmore in 13th place.

Gone and Quickly Forgotten: Lindsey Graham and George Pataki

Both veterans of the JV debate stage called it quits since our previous power rankings in mid-December.

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in northeast Ohio.

Andrew Kahn is Slate’s assistant interactives editor. Follow him on Twitter.