Study: Trump Dominated Clinton on Twitter in 2016 Election Despite Attacking Her Less

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
Justin Sullivan, Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images

A new study that analyzed the use of Twitter in the 2016 presidential election discovered that President Donald Trump utilized social media much more effectively than opponent Hillary Clinton.

USA Today reports that the University of Edinburgh has released a study analyzing the Twitter habits of President Trump and Hillary Clinton over the course of the 2016 election. The study revealed the number of tweets favoring President Trump nearly doubled those favoring Clinton, with Clinton three times more likely to be criticized than praised in tweets coming up to the final days of the election. The study analyzed the 50 most viral tweets for each of the 68 days leading up the end of the election, September 1st to November 8th. These tweets were then divided into pro-Trump and pro-Clinton categories and analyzed.

According to the study, two-thirds of the 3,450 total viral tweets — which were retweeted approximately 26 million times — 39 percent attacked Clinton while 23 percent supported President Trump. Of the remaining third, 14 percent supported Clinton while 19 percent attacked President Trump.

It was noted that Clinton attacked Trump more than she sold herself, with 363 tweets attacking her opponent compared to 331 positive tweets about her own character. In comparison, President Trump discussed himself in 446 tweets while attacking Clinton in only 246 tweets. The study stated, “This suggests that Clinton expended more energy attacking her opponent than promoting herself, while Trump did the exact opposite.”

However, despite making fewer attacks on Clinton, Trump’s tweets had a wider impact. Trump’s anti-Clinton tweets earned many more retweets than Clinton’s anti-Trump tweets. Nikki Usher, an associate professor in George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs, believes that this speaks to the lack of enthusiasm surrounding the Clinton campaign, while President Trump’s tweets “nailed it,” in terms of creating engaging content, hitting all the key elements needed to make a post go viral.

On about 85% of the days leading up to the election, tweets that were friendly towards Trump were retweeted more than those that were friendly towards Clinton. Lead researcher Walid Magdy stated, “It was clear from the data how Trump supporters were more dedicated to this campaign compared to Clinton’s, who seemed to have many of them supporting her because of hating Trump rather than loving her.”

The attacks against Clinton that were most effective were linked to the WikiLeaks releases, with “Wikileaks” being one of the top terms used in anti-Clinton tweets, along with “crooked,” “FBI,” and “#DrainTheSwamp.” The top three most retweeted anti-Clinton tweets also came from WikiLeaks accounts.

The most retweeted pro-Trump tweet on Twitter came from the president himself when he posted, “TODAY WE MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” on election day, which garnered about 352,000 retweets.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan_ or email him at


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