It’s no secret that Donald Trump is addicted to Twitter, the social media platform founded in 2006. Since joining in 2009 he has amassed over 24 million followers and posted over 34 thousand tweets. Some of the president’s biggest criticisms in the young administration have come from things he has tweeted. Among these are the as of yet unsubstantiated claim that President Obama had him wiretapped during the election, and his constant claims that various news outlets or stories are fake news.
Twitter itself has had steadily dropping stock prices for the last several years (not winning.) It’s not only Twitter that is having a tough time recently, Donald Trump’s approval ratings have taken a sharp dip in most polls. Nate Silver’s Five Thirty Eight combines the outcomes of several polls and adjusts for factors like bias and sample size, to provide an accurate representation of the president’s approval rating. In the last 10 days President Trump’s approval has gone from 44.8% to 42.1%, while disapproval has risen from 48.8% to 52.1%, his worst ratings yet in this young presidency.
While the polls show that the general public is becoming less enamoured with Donald Trump, I wondered whether this was reflected by his twitter following. Trump is known for using twitter to “bypass” the media and speak directly to his constituency. Some observers have called Twitter Trump’s version of FDR’s fireside chat, albeit with more grammatical errors and more attacks. I was curious whether his twitter following is losing faith in him like the rest of the country seemingly has, or if his twitter following are his most hardcore supporters.
Undeniably there are plenty of Americans who will support President Trump no matter what he does and says, and many more are becoming bored with politics after the emotion of the election and the days following the inauguration. This presidency, however, seems unlike most we’ve had before. The country is massively split, and many people are becoming involved in politics on both sides, who may not have before. The large protests and occasionally violent counter protests like those in Berkeley on March 4th show that the country is, at the very least, angry.
Let’s look at the first day of Trump’s presidency (January 20, 2017) and record the number of likes, re-tweets, and replies his every tweet has received.
As you can see in the chart above, the president’s average number of likes has dropped dramatically since inauguration day. The trend is the same with re-tweets and replies, despite his overall number of Twitter followers continuing to grow. While it’s hard to determine whether this is a result of naturally falling enthusiasm or less people who generally support the president, there is a clear trend. If Trump’s approval ratings rebound in the upcoming months, his tweets may start getting more activity as well.
At the time of writing this, Donald Trump has been president for 65 days and has made 319 tweets. That’s roughly 5 tweets per day. Trump’s hardcore supporters will likely continue to like each tweet and cheer him on with their replies, but if the trend to lower approval ratings continues, and the president racks up more failures on top of his healthcare plan, he may continue to see less and less love from the Twitter-verse.