U.S. Senators on Twitter: Asymmetric Party Rhetoric in 140 Characters

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71 Scopus citations


The U.S. Senate is a party-polarized institution where divisive political rhetoric stems from the partisan divide. Senators regularly chastise political opponents, but not all senators are equally critical. Research finds that elite party polarization is asymmetrical with greater divergence by Republicans, so I expect Republican senators to mimic that trend with higher levels of partisan rhetoric. To assess the variance in partisan rhetoric, I catalogue senators’ Twitter activity during the first 6 months of the 113th and 114th Congresses, and find that Republicans are more likely to name-call their Democratic opponents and to make expressions of intraparty loyalty, particularly when they are the minority party.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)695-723
Number of pages29
JournalAmerican Politics Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, The Author(s) 2017.


  • Congress
  • Twitter
  • parties
  • polarization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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