On Twitter, Trump and Clinton supporters share personality traits, says study

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People who follow either candidate are more egocentric, indecisive and careless than the average consumer

With the presidential primaries coming to a close, and Ted Cruz and John Kasich out of the race, most of the attention will be diverted to party frontrunners Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.  

Clinton and Trump might be polar opposites when it comes to their political strategies, but a study released last week found that the former Secretary of State and businessman attract similar types of people on Twitter. As startling as it might be, Donald Trump’s 7.8 million and Hillary Clinton’s 6 million Twitter followers share personality traits and motivations, according to a study by Connelly Partners and Motive Metrics.  

Since the beginning of 2016, Boston-based ad agency Connelly Partners has allied with Motive Metrics to track the candidates’ Twitter followers. The study developed out of data collected from an algorithm that aggregates Twitter posts based on word patterns.  

Out of the 36 traits that were measured in the study, Trump and Clinton’s Twitter followers all showed a tendency to be more trusting, loyal and open-minded than the average consumer. At the same time, they were found to be more egocentric, indecisive and careless than the average consumer. The study also found that Clinton and Trump followers don’t care about fitness and are not financially savvy.

Steve Connelly, president of Connelly Partners, said results of the study were unexpected. Stereotypes generally assigned to Trump and Clinton followers were not reflective of the data.

For instance, based on the average consumer, the study found Clinton followers to be 24% more environmentally friendly, while Trump followers ended up to be 26% more, which could come as a surprise. Also, lavishness might be a trait associated to Trump followers (it’s true they are at 74% more than average), but Clinton followers still reached up to 42% more.  

Trump followers are often characterized as more unsympathetic than most Americans, but the study says Clinton followers don’t land too far behind. Trump’s Twitter followers are 66% more unsympathetic, versus Clinton’s Twitter followers at 32% more than average. However, a major differentiator was found when it came to egocentricity. Trump followers are also 56% more egocentric, while Clinton followers are only 8% more.

In money matters, Clinton followers are 58% more price inattentive, while Trump’s followers are 20% more. And both Trump and Clinton followers were found to be rebellious — 48% more for Trump and 46% more for Clinton.

There was only one characteristic where the candidates’ followers ended up on opposite sides of the mean. Clinton followers are 10% more introverted, while Trump followers are 2% more extroverted.


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