Trump’s Twitter analyzed in BIPP survey

Madison Weaver, Senior Writer

The Bucknell Institute for Public Policy (BIPP) recently conducted a nationally representative poll to find out how U.S. President Donald Trump’s use of Twitter impacts their view of his presidency. Approximately 57 percent of respondents believe the way Trump uses the social media site makes them view his presidency more negatively.


Trump famously expresses his opinions through Twitter with tweets ranging from constructive updates on a growing economy, to threats towards the Iranian President, and moreover, confusing tweets like “Covfefe.”


The results of the poll were divided along party lines, as 84 percent of Democrats say that Trump’s use of Twitter makes them think more negatively about how he conducts his presidency, compared to 55 percent of Independents and 24 percent of Republicans.


A similar amount of Republicans, 26 percent, answered saying Trump’s use of Twitter positively impacted their opinion, while 14 percent of Independents and three percent of Democrats agreed.


The data is from a nationally representative survey conducted by YouGov with a sample size of 1,000. Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of BIPP’s Survey Research Laboratory Chris Ellis, along with Survey Research Lab Intern Nikki Marrone ’20, analyzed the data.


Among the social-media savvy generation of individuals under 35, which includes many college undergraduates, Trump’s Twitter does not appear to have a positive effect. Only four percent of Democrats under the age of 35 said that Trump’s use of Twitter makes them feel more positively about his job performance, along with 10 percent of Republicans under age 35.


“The thing about these results I found interesting is that while Republicans have nearly universally positive views of Donald Trump in most respects – his policies, his ability, his character – there were lots of Republicans, particularly young ones, who were a little concerned about his use of Twitter,” Ellis said. “Even among people who are apt to really like Trump, the Twitter part of the Presidency comes off as a little cringeworthy.”


Marrone worked with Ellis to analyze the data received from YouGov and said that she is grateful for the opportunity to be involved with BIPP.


“My favorite part of the research was that I got to examine the intersection of technology and politics, which will continue to increase in the future. Watching how social media can shape political opinions was fascinating, especially since Twitter was a big part of my teenage years,” Marrone said. “The results were pretty much in line with what you would expect them to be, but it is always interesting to see how we can now predict responses in the political sphere based off the Twittersphere.”


While some view Trump’s use of Twitter to be negatively affecting his presidency, others believe that using social media as a door to a political conversation can be a positive force.


While I think negatively on the way that President Trump chooses to use social media, I do think there is some merit and value in politicians using social media as a tool. President Trump often uses Twitter to spread falsehoods and further embarrass himself, but it gets his message out and he is clearly heard,” past president and current member of College Democrats Elizabeth Gray ’19 said. Gray explained that she thinks social media is a great tool for public figures to connect with their constituents and “destroy the feeling of anonymity that often comes with politicians.”


“Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is an example of someone who is able to use social media platforms to not only elevate herself but to create and foster a positive role for social media in politics. She often does so by connecting with constituents via Instagram Live while cooking dinner and simultaneously explaining complex policy and answering questions,” Gray said.


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