Which high profile opinion leaders get the most traction with the other side on social media? Our bipartisanship leaderboard describes the high-profile people whose tweets appeal to members of both parties.
HOW DOES IT
We identified more than 10,000 high profile liberals and conservatives in the United States using a machine learning algorithm that searches for patterns in the people that American elected officials follow. You can learn more about this technique by reading this article. We searched for the names of each of these people in hundreds of thousands of tweets that were liked by a large group of Democrats and Republicans on Twitter who we've surveyed.
WHAT DOES IT
Not everyone who "likes" a tweet agrees with it. Some people may be "bookmarking" it to look at it later. But our research indicates that most of the people who like a tweet are doing so because they endorse its message. Unfortunately, due to the highly polarized nature of our platforms, very few people currently gain much traction across party lines. In fact, many of the >10,000 opinion leaders we follow were never liked by members of the opposing political party. Still, other research studies indicate there may be a lot of potential for this approach.
I DO NEXT?
If you'd like to see what other people from your political party like about the people above, you can follow the bots we've created that automatically retweet their messages each day. On the other hand, many researchers agree that opinion leaders and other elites are more polarizing than non-elites. If you'd like to start reaching across the aisle with a wider range of people, consider using our bipartisanship issue tracker tool to find areas where there may be room for compromise. Or, if you'd like to learn more about these elites, and how they are connected to each other, check out our echo chamber explorer.
"Is so-and-so REALLY a moderate that appeals to people?"
Instead of making our own judgements about whose views were moderates, we looked for patterns in the way that large groups of Americans respond to the messages of the opinion leaders listed above. This does not mean that all of the messages they produce will be appealing to people from the other side; and in some cases they may say some things that are very appealing and others that are very unappealing.
"Why isn't my favorite opinion leader on this list?"
Our leaderboard only tracks people whose messages are liked by at least one of the thousands of Republicans and Democrats who we studied. Unfortunately, this means that many great voices in the middle do not get captured by our analysis-- either because they do not tweet very often or have small followings, or because they were not on the radar of the people who we studied.