New York: US President Donald Trump might think he tweets better than anyone else but both Republicans and Democrats disapprove of his tweets that insult people or contain false information.
According to a new University at Buffalo study, both parties like Trump’s tweets that support the military or shares condolences, regardless of their attitudes toward the President.
The findings demonstrated that beneath the polarized political views, both Republicans and Democrats share a hidden agreement surrounding Trump’s online behaviour.
“We were initially a bit surprised, because we had expected to find the opposite, where Republicans liked most tweets and Democrats hated most,” said Kenneth Joseph, author and assistant professor of computer science and engineering in the university.
Trump is known for insulting people via his tweets and uses Twitter as his typewriter.
The research aimed to examine the extent of political polarization in the US by examining public support for tweets shared by Trump, a highly polarizing figure in American politics.
While only eight per cent of Americans follow the President on Twitter, more than half of the US citizens are exposed to his tweets through other media, researchers said.
Investigators examined more than 4,300 tweets shared by Trump between February 2017 and December 2018, a period beginning shortly after his inauguration.
Public opinions of tweets collected using surveys gathered by the YouGov TweetIndex, which asks hundreds of self-identifying Democrats and Republicans to rate tweets on a five-point scale from terrible to great.
More than 1.8 million Twitter users linked to the US voter registration records were also analyzed for their responses to Trump’s tweets, where it assumed that retweets generally indicated support while replies showed disapproval.
Of Trump’s tweets, 28 per cent contained an insult, 22 per cent contained a false statement and 16 per cent offered support or condolences.
The researchers found that both parties liked when Trump showed support for the military and first responders or offered condolences and disliked when the President shared false information or an insult.
However, public opinion differed based on the target of the insult.
“Republicans showed more support for tweets that insulted Democrats and reacted negatively to insults toward other Republicans.
“Democrats, on the other hand, did not react positively toward Trump’s assaults toward Republicans, demonstrating that the President’s attacks on his own party only serve to hurt him by decreasing support from his base,” according to researchers.
Democrats reacted negatively to insults toward women and members of the media.
“But these tweets had no significant effect on Republicans, implying that these types of messages could also hurt Trump by agitating the opposing party without increasing support from his base,” findings showed.
Democrats also reacted more negatively to insults on white people compared to Middle Eastern individuals.
“Overall, Republicans were more forgiving of Trump’s actions and were less likely to view Trump unfavourably, regardless of tweet content,” said the study published in the Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Conference on Web and Social Media.