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US Senate Twitter Rankings: McCain, Sanders, Reid, Paul, Grassley

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More than 85 senators maintain official U.S. Senate Twitter accounts with John McCain touting the most followers; Marco Rubio has the most followers among senators with non-governmental Twitter accounts

johnmccain10.jpgDo you follow your U.S. Senators on Twitter?

The answer for most Americans is probably 'no.'

While the number is growing, only a small fraction of U.S. residents currently use Twitter (just 15 percent of Internet users according to a 2012 Pew study).

However, nearly all members of the nation's upper legislative chamber do maintain an official government Twitter account.

And who is the leader of the biggest pack?

A Smart Politics review of U.S. Senate official Twitter accounts finds that as of mid-day October 1st, 86 U.S. Senators maintain government Twitter accounts run by themselves, their staff, or a combination of the two, with John McCain out in front by hundreds of thousands of followers over his closest colleague.

The former Republican presidential nominee from Arizona leads the pack by more than one and a half million followers at 1.75 million, although it should be noted that a recent report found that on average 38 percent of the followers of U.S. Senators on Twitter are 'fake' (spam or inactive accounts).

The study estimated nearly double that amount of McCain's followers are fake (68 percent), but even if that is true, the senior senator from Arizona still leads his next closest colleague by several hundred thousand 'real' followers.

After McCain comes independent Bernie Sanders of Vermont at #2 (116,806 followers), with Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada at #3 (65,678), Tea Party Republican Rand Paul of Kentucky at #4 (59,073), and long-serving GOPer Chuck Grassley of Iowa at #5 (51,609) who has personally (and famously) taken to his Twitter account on occasion to criticize Barack Obama and his Democratic colleagues with questionable grammar (even by Twitter standards).

Rounding out the Top 10 are Republican Tom Coburn of Oklahoma at #6, Democrat Chuck Schumer of New York at #7, Republican John Cornyn of Texas at #8, and Democrats John Kerry of Massachusetts and Mark Warner of Virginia at #9 and #10 respectively.

Those with the smallest U.S. Senate Twitter followings represent the nation's least populated states with the bottom five senators coming in at less than 1,000 followers:

· Republican John Hoeven of North Dakota with 598.
· Republican Mike Enzi of Wyoming with 610.
· Democrat Chris Coons of Delaware with 695.
· Republican Mike Crapo of Idaho with 920.
· Retiring Democrat Kent Conrad of North Dakota with 977.

McCain and Sanders are not only the most followed U.S. Senators on this social media platform, but also rank among its most frequent tweeters.

Texas Republican John Cornyn leads the way with he and his staff issuing 7,425 tweets through Monday followed by Sanders at #2 (4,758), and McCain at #3 (4,018).

Rounding out the list of the Top 10 most frequent tweeters are Republican James Inhofe of Oklahoma at #4, GOPer Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas at #5, Republican Rob Portman of Ohio at #6, Democrat Mark Begich of Alaska at #7, Republican Chuck Grassley of Iowa at #8, Democrat Daniel Inouye of Hawaii at #9, and GOPer Roy Blunt of Missouri at #10.

Four senators do not maintain a Twitter account of any kind: Republican Jim Risch (ID) and retiring Democrats Jeff Bingaman (NM), Herb Kohl (WI), and Jim Webb (VA).

Another 10 senators do not maintain a governmental Twitter account but use a private or campaign account: Democrats Max Baucus (MT), Al Franken (MN), Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), Amy Klobuchar (MN), and Jon Tester (MT) and Republicans Kelly Ayotte (NH), Saxby Chambliss (GA), Jim DeMint (SC), Johnny Isakson (GA), and David Vitter (LA).

At the top of the list for senators with the most followers on their private or campaign Twitter accounts are Tea Party favorites Marco Rubio of Florida (156,451) and Jim DeMint of South Carolina (138,166) - the only two such members eclipsing the 100,000 mark.

Minnesota Democrat Al Franken is next at #3 (96,491) followed by Claire McCaskill of Missouri at #4 (77,803), Scott Brown of Massachusetts at #5 (48,007), Kirsten Gillibrand of New York at #6 (46,470), Barbara Boxer of California at #7 (39,482), Orrin Hatch of Utah at #8 (33,476), John Thune of South Dakota at #9 (26,774), and Rand Paul of Kentucky at #10 (19,439).

McCaskill, Brown, Gillibrand, and Hatch all face reelection this cycle.

On the other end of the spectrum, the least followed non-governmental Twitter accounts are held by Wyoming Republican John Barrasso with just 30 followers and Rhode Island Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse with 127.

Official U.S. Senator Twitter Accounts by Number of Followers

Rank
Senator
State
Party
Tweets
Followers
1
John McCain
AZ
GOP
4,018
1,754,092
2
Bernie Sanders
VT
Ind
4,758
116,806
3
Harry Reid
NV
Dem
1,535
65,678
4
Rand Paul
KY
GOP
638
59,073
5
Chuck Grassley
IA
GOP
2,108
51,609
6
Tom Coburn
OK
GOP
635
48,204
7
Chuck Schumer
NY
Dem
1,494
36,280
8
John Cornyn
TX
GOP
7,425
30,796
9
John Kerry
MA
Dem
373
30,673
10
Mark Warner
VA
Dem
1,633
30,151
11
Joe Lieberman
CT
Ind-Dem
684
25,903
12
Bill Nelson
FL
Dem
347
25,130
13
Sherrod Brown
OH
Dem
660
21,676
14
Scott Brown
MA
GOP
507
21,460
15
Robert Menendez
NJ
Dem
1,770
19,509
16
Roy Blunt
MO
GOP
1,900
18,812
17
Susan Collins
ME
GOP
511
18,774
18
Barbara Boxer
CA
Dem
881
18,683
19
Lindsey Graham
SC
GOP
1,683
18,345
20
Dick Durbin
IL
Dem
1,383
18,141
21
Rob Portman
OH
GOP
2,168
18,008
22
Mark Udall
CO
Dem
1,732
16,334
23
Richard Burr
NC
GOP
869
14,712
24
Dick Lugar
IN
GOP
1,368
14,598
25
Jeff Merkley
OR
Dem
784
13,610
26
Kay Bailey Hutchinson
TX
GOP
2,309
13,501
27
Pat Toomey
PA
GOP
1,016
13,388
28
Mike Lee
UT
GOP
1,707
13,345
29
Lisa Murkowski
AK
GOP
1,538
13,069
30
Mark Kirk
IL
GOP
1,799
12,459
31
Jeff Sessions
AL
GOP
1,228
12,427
32
Barbara Mikulski
MD
Dem
1,364
11,982
33
Jon Kyl
AZ
GOP
146
11,362
34
Ben Cardin
MD
Dem
1,234
11,312
35
Bob Corker
TN
GOP
648
10,772
36
John Boozman
AR
GOP
741
10,425
37
Ron Wyden
OR
Dem
459
10,176
38
Ben Nelson
NE
Dem
695
9,893
39
Kay Hagan
NC
Dem
1,563
9,656
40
John Thune
SD
GOP
452
8,799
41
Ron Johnson
WI
GOP
597
8,765
42
Lamar Alexander
TN
GOP
410
8,538
43
Mark Begich
AK
Dem
2,121
8,081
44
Frank Lautenberg
NJ
Dem
1,168
8,061
45
Debbie Stabenow
MI
Dem
640
8,009
46
Daniel Inouye
HI
Dem
1,989
7,668
47
Marco Rubio
FL
GOP
701
7,657
48
Tom Harkin
IA
Dem
1,446
7,538
49
Michael Bennet
CO
Dem
540
7,495
50
Patrick Leahy
VT
Dem
1,004
7,222
51
Patty Murray
WA
Dem
1,192
7,214
52
Tom Udall
NM
Dem
846
6,758
53
Jeanne Shaheen
NH
Dem
1,463
6,722
54
Jerry Moran
KS
GOP
1,170
6,617
55
Bob Casey
PA
Dem
290
6,521
56
Sheldon Whitehouse
RI
Dem
635
6,516
57
Carl Levin
MI
Dem
258
6,376
58
Richard Shelby
AL
GOP
49
6,283
59
Dianne Feinstein
CA
Dem
369
6,212
60
Olympia Snowe
ME
GOP
206
6,158
61
Jay Rockefeller
WV
Dem
1,609
6,142
62
Dan Coats
IN
GOP
873
6,083
63
Joe Manchin
WV
Dem
512
6,066
64
Mitch McConnell
KY
GOP
1,474
5,540
65
Richard Blumenthal
CT
Dem
884
5,527
66
John Barasso
WY
GOP
650
5,181
67
James Inhofe
OK
GOP
3,087
5,125
68
Pat Roberts
KS
GOP
409
4,726
69
Mary Landrieu
LA
Dem
657
4,409
70
Tom Carper
DE
Dem
1,376
4,293
71
Mike Johanns
NE
GOP
501
3,913
72
Tim Johnson
SD
Dem
831
3,692
73
Roger Wicker
MS
GOP
533
3,374
74
Dean Heller
NV
GOP
784
3,320
75
Orrin Hatch
UT
GOP
636
3,051
76
Maria Cantwell
WA
Dem
52
3,019
77
Claire McCaskill
MO
Dem
1,236
2,905
78
Daniel Akaka
HI
Dem
321
2,337
79
Mark Pryor
AR
Dem
406
2,233
80
Jack Reed
RI
Dem
397
1,921
81
Thad Cochran
MS
GOP
81
1,239
82
Kent Conrad
ND
Dem
665
977
83
Mike Crapo
ID
GOP
576
920
84
Chris Coons
DE
Dem
829
695
85
Mike Enzi
WY
GOP
145
610
86
John Hoeven
ND
GOP
7
598
Data compiled by Smart Politics on mid-day, October 1, 2012 for official U.S. Senate Twitter accounts only. Excludes private or reelection campaign Twitter accounts.

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