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Radical members of Congress have more Facebook followers, Pew study finds

Can you guess who has the biggest following on Facebook?


Andrew Wyrich


Posted on Aug 22, 2017   Updated on May 22, 2021, 7:46 pm CDT

It appears that the more radical you are in Congress, the more Facebook followers you get.

Pew Research Center released a study on Monday that showed the most liberal and conservative members of the 115th Congress have attracted more Facebook followers than their more moderate counterparts.

The median number of followers for the most liberal and conservative members of the House of Representatives was 14,361, Pew found, compared with 9,017 followers for centrist members.

For the Senate, the most liberal and conservative members had a median of 78,360 followers compared to 32,626 for moderates.

Pew ranked each lawmaker on their political ideology based on their roll call votes.

In the House, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) had the most Facebook followers, followed by Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).

In the Senate, Facebook followers favored Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tx.), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Sen. Rand Paul (R- Ky.).

Pew cautioned that it was “not exactly clear” why more ideological members of Congress had a larger Facebook following but noted past analysis showed that very liberal or conservative lawmakers were more likely “to share content that expressed indignation or disagreement” with politics—which typically creates more engagement on the social media platform.

Looking overall at Congress, Democrats had a larger median number of followers in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

You can read more about Pew’s findings here.

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*First Published: Aug 22, 2017, 11:17 am CDT