Political News

The 4%: Trump's true Twitter devotees

Posted May 16, 2018 4:31 p.m. EDT

— President Donald Trump makes no secret of his belief in the power of Twitter. 

"I love Twitter.... it's like owning your own newspaper--- without the losses," Trump said in 2012. Five years later, Trump told Fox Business Network: "Tweeting is like a typewriter --- when I put it out, you put it immediately on your show. I doubt I would be here if weren't for social media, to be honest with you."

The harder question to answer is just how far Trump's tweets reach. Sure, we know he has 52 million Twitter followers. But, how many of those people actively use Twitter? How many read his tweets once in a while? And how many are consuming very tweet Trump sends?

A new analysis by Gallup's Frank Newport sheds some light on those questions.  

My biggest takeaway? Just 4% of Americans a) have a Twitter account b) follow Trump on Twitter and c) say they read most or all of Trump's tweets.

That's remarkably small! (Only 26% of all Americans have a Twitter account.)

What's fascinating is that despite the small percentage of people who consume all of Trump's tweets via Twitter, a majority -- 53% -- of Americans say they see "a lot" about the president's tweets.

Writes Newport:

"Some of their access to his tweets could be relatively straightforward, such as when a friend forwards a tweet or when a tweet is reprinted directly in a publication and the person reads only the tweet. But Americans' awareness of Trump's tweets is more commonly the result of an indirect, filtered dissemination."

The Point: Most Americans aren't using Trump's Twitter feed as a primary source. Instead, his tweets are being filtered through their preferred partisan lens before it ever gets to them.

Read Wednesday's full edition of The Point newsletter.