Hello and welcome to Slatest’s 2016 Twitter Power Rankings. 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 (Last week: 1)
An unbelievable night in Iowa with our great Veterans! We raised $6,000,000.00 while the politicians talked! #GOPDebate— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 29, 2016
2.) Bernie Sanders (2)
If Democrats want to win the general election, frankly, I think I'm the stronger candidate. pic.twitter.com/4NXht1UASv— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) January 22, 2016
3.) Hillary Clinton (3)
4.) Jeb Bush (12)
5.) Marco Rubio (5)
Let me be clear: there is only one savior, and it's not me. #GOPDebate— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) January 29, 2016
6.) Mike Huckabee (11)
7.) Ben Carson (4)
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.— Dr. Ben Carson (@RealBenCarson) January 24, 2016
8.) Ted Cruz (7)
9.) Carly Fiorina (9)
Upping the ante, I'm free tomorrow at 8pm, @realDonaldTrump. My campaign will give $2mm to veterans' cause to debate at Drake U. (2/2)— Carly Fiorina (@CarlyFiorina) January 28, 2016
10.) Rand Paul (8)
11.) Martin O'Malley (10)
12.) Rick Santorum (13)
13.) Chris Christie (14)
I'm sorry, NH but I gotta go home - we got snow coming. #Jonas— Chris Christie (@ChrisChristie) January 22, 2016
14.) John Kasich (6)
15. Jim Gilmore (15)
Overall and Single RT Winner: Donald Trump
Trump pulled the double for the second week in a row, which is fitting given we're at the point where he's winning Republican debates he doesn't even take part in. According to Google, which co-hosted Thursday's debate, Trump was the most-searched candidate both in Iowa and across the country during the night's festivities. And according to Twitter HQ, Trump picked up the most followers of any candidate during the Fox News event (Rubio and Cruz were second and third, respectively), and accounted for more than a third of the #GOPdebate conversation.
Expected Cameo: Jesus
Evangelicals typically account for roughly half of Iowa's GOP caucusgoers, so it's no surprise that more than a few Republican hopefuls are feeling the holy spirit with only days to go until the first nominating contest of 2016. (That, or maybe Trump's continued dominance of the race has them turning to a higher power for help.) Rubio, in particular, seemed desperate to prove his biblical bona fides on the Fox News debate stage on Thursday.
Unexpected Cameo: The Bush family
For much of this campaign, Jeb Bush has struggled to decide whether to run toward his last name or away from it—often doing both at the same time to some rather awkward results. But with the nominating contests finally on the horizon, Jeb seems to have decided that if he's going down, he might as well go down with his family by his side. "My dad and brother ... were presidents of the United States—fine, I'll take it," Bush said on the Fox News stage. "I guess I'm part of the establishment because Barbara Bush is my mom. I'll take that, too."