Tweet You Very Much: An Analysis of Candidate Twitter Usage from the 2016 Iowa Caucus to Super Tuesday

  • J. Scott Granberg-Rademacker
  • Kevin Parsneau


The 2016 presidential primary featured the widespread use of Twitter by candidates. This chapter examines Twitter use by the two leading candidates from each party (Trump, Cruz, Clinton, and Sanders) from the Iowa Caucus through Super Tuesday. Their strategies reflected scholarly findings as well as unique aspects of their situations. They attacked other primary candidates and the other party, publicized policy positions, promoted campaign organizations, and informed supporters. Trump and Cruz, reflecting their crowded race, aimed more attacks at other Republicans. Meanwhile, Democrats tweeted more about policy and attacked each other less. Clinton’s presumptive nominee status and resource advantage allowed her to attack her primary opponent least, focusing instead on attacking Republicans and tweeting information about herself, while Trump, Cruz, and Sanders tried to make up for their relative organizational weaknesses. Clinton’s strategy reflected scholars’ expectations for incumbents, while the others to some extent reflected the strategies associated with challengers.


Twitter Candidate image Presidential election Earned media 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Scott Granberg-Rademacker
    • 1
  • Kevin Parsneau
    • 1
  1. 1.Minnesota State UniversityMankatoUSA

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