The president’s bad tweets, by the numbers

This is a short post just to give a home to a few charts I made out of curiosity. YouGov* has quietly been carrying out a pretty huge project that may be interesting to future historians and social scientists. Heck, it’s pretty interesting now.

What they’ve done is included nearly every one of the president’s tweets since February 4th in an online survey (YouGov is an online-only research company) and asked people to rate them on a scale of Terrible to Great. This is recorded as a score from -2 to 2, then multiplied by 100, so there is a theoretical maximum of 200 (if every respondent said the tweet was Great). More detail can be found on their micro site here, where they have every tweet with its overall rating as well as its rating by party identification.

Hypothetically, a dataset like this could be used to see whether Trump’s bad tweets (or his good ones) have a measurable effect on other measures of his performance, like Job Approval. I haven’t yet made any comparison like that, but for now I’ve included some charts from this data set below. To be clear, I just scraped this from their site – I didn’t have any direct line. Also note there are some gaps in the data that I can’t explain; a week in September is missing; for roughly a month in June-July I could only get some tweets that were in the top or bottom 80% because the site wouldn’t load everything when sorting by date; there may be other quirks I’ve not noticed. But it’s a large dataset nevertheless, including 1,304 tweets since February 4th, 2017.

I’ll let the charts speak for themselves, but to make a couple of notes from the toplines: most of his tweets, 61% to be exact, are sub-zero tweets, meaning they received more bad ratings than good. The median tweet receives a rating of -15. The bottom 25% of tweets receive a rating of -40 and lower. Democrats are more likely to give his tweets a positive rating (55 tweets, or 4%) than Republicans are to give him a negative rating (1 tweet, or 0.08%). That one tweet was Trump’s Worst Tweet Ever, according to the Index. It was a tweet criticizing Mark Cuban.

(Note, the lines are created using LOESS regression).



Out of interest, I also looked at volume of tweets. It seems the president has been tweeting more and more since the spring. He was tweeting about 4 tweets a day in March; more recently, he’s been tweeting about 8-10 times a day. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


*Disclosure, I used to work for them, though before this project was underway.

The president’s bad tweets, by the numbers