The Most Conservative Presidential Candidate, According to Twitter

Twitter_logoThe Washington Post has an interesting article featuring a chart that pegs 2016 presidential candidates along an ideological scale.

Rather than use a scale based on their voting record (the most accurate indicator of a candidate’s ideology) or their stated policy positions, this chart does something unique in measuring the ideology of their Twitter followers.

one characteristic all candidates share is that they have active and popular Twitter accounts. And as I showed in an article published earlier this year in the journal Political Analysis — now freely available online as an Editors’ Choice article — it is possible to analyze the candidates’ Twitter networks to compute precise ideological scores and thus identify how conservative or liberal each of them is.

The intuition behind this method is simple: Citizens prefer to follow on Twitter those political accounts that they perceive to be ideologically close to their own positions. Tea party supporters, for example, tend to follow Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, but not Chris Christie. The same occurs on the other side of the spectrum: Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders will have a more liberal set of followers than Hillary Clinton. Relying on this assumption, I developed a statistical model that estimates simultaneously the positions of political actors and voters. And since not only politicians but also media outlets, private companies, and interest groups are active on Twitter the resulting ideological scores are comparable for different sets of accounts.

While I follow the logic and agree with it to a great degree, I would be cautious about building a solid foundation on it because there are those people on both sides of the aisle who follow people whom they are ideologically opposed to, simply for informational purposes.

Ted Cruz 2016


Still, having followed the records and statements most of the candidates fairly extensively, I find that this chart turns out to be largely pretty accurate.  You have all the radical Leftists over on the Left (including the openly avowed socialist Bernie Sanders), the more liberal “Republicans” like Chris Christie, Jeb Bush and Mike Huckabee more toward the middle, and the conservatives like Rand Paul, Scott Walker, Ben Carson and Ted Cruz over on the Right.

Being a Ted Cruz supporter (because he supports my conservative values), I was glad to see Cruz in the #1 most conservative position. That tracks with my research on his record, as well as how he has ranked on a number of conservative scorecards.

This scale, which tracks pretty closely with everything I’ve seen of these people’s records, provides a useful tool for identifying which Republican candidates are viable choices to move this nation back toward the greatness of our traditional American principles…and which would simply rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic.

Woodrow Wilcox


A hard 180 away from the Leftist abyss as soon as possible is the only thing that may save our ailing nation at this point. Only someone willing to make that change and aggressively promote traditional American values is worth our attention and our support.

HT: Free Republic


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Bob Ellis has been the owner of media company Dakota Voice, LLC since 2005. He is a 10-year U.S. Air Force veteran, a political reporter and commentator for the past decade, and has been involved in numerous election and public policy campaigns for over 20 years. He was a founding member and board member of the Tea Party groups Citizens for Liberty and the South Dakota Tea Party Alliance. He lives in Rapid City, South Dakota with his wife and two children.
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