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Twitter’s Top Political Accounts: Who’s Winning the Race?

by Zia A., posted 4 months ago
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Winning isn’t everything. Except when you’re talking races. And trophies. Championships too. And lotteries. Oh, and, come to think of it, politics, where winning means the difference between governing or voicing the opposition. Politics is a numbers game. And nowhere is that more overtly displayed than on social media, where numbers are front and centre. How many followers do you have? How often do you tweet? Where do you rank?

Today, more and more world leaders are embracing social media (and especially Twitter), not only as another tool in their communications arsenal, but as one of the most essential elements to spread their message far and wide. Here is a look at the politicians and politically-minded accounts doing it best. By the numbers. Who’s coming out on top?

Barack Obama

Overall Twitter Ranking: #3

Following: 621,828

Followers: 102,876,040

Follower/Following Ratio: 165.44

While Obama may no longer be in the Oval Office, he continues to dominate the current POTUS in the Twittersphere. In fact, he pretty much dominates much every political account. Instead, he sits with the celebrities and media giants, bested only by Katy Perry (@katyperry) and the Biebs (@justinbieber) (making him worthy of an honourable mention in our top spot). His tweets are a mix of the political and personal, and he continues to hold the record for the most-liked tweet of 2017 and, to-date, in Twitter history.

Twitter and politics

Twitter and politics

Obama’s August 2017 tweet, quoting Nelson Mandela’s 1994 autobiography, was the most-liked tweet of the year.


Donald Trump


Overall Twitter Ranking: #18

Following: 46

Followers: 52,456,490

Follower/Following Ratio: 1140358.48

The 45th US President is a divisive figure both at home and abroad, but one thing is for sure, the man loves to tweet. About sports teams, Kanye West, #fakenews. Sometimes seemingly about whatever comes to mind, without a filter. Guess that’s your prerogative when you’re the leader of the free world. And it seems people are keen to follow along – Trump has a strong follower growth trend of 1.8%.

Twitter and politics

Twitter and politics

Trump’s follower growth trend is a strong 1.8%. What’s yours?


Pope Francis


Overall Twitter Ranking: #114

Following: 8

Followers: 17,858,964

Follower/Following Ratio: 2232370.5

Pope Francis isn’t the first papal tweeter (that honour goes to Pope Benedict, who sent out his first tweet in 2012), but he is the most popular to date. The Pope’s English account boasts almost 18 million followers, but His Holiness actually tweets on nine language accounts (in Spanish, English, Italian, Portuguese, Polish, Franch, Latin, German, and Arabic) with a combined audience of almost 40 million.

Twitter and politics


Narendra Modi

@narendramodi / @PMOIndia

Overall Twitter Ranking: #24 / #65

Following: 1,941 / 438

Followers: 42,877,207 / 26,442,285

Follower/Following Ratio: 22090.27 / 60370.51

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi actually takes the fourth and fifth spots, with his @narendramodi and @PMOIndia accounts. The PM is widely praised for his skilful use of social media to reach the masses.

Twitter and politics

Twitter and politics


POTUS / White House

@POTUS / @WhiteHouse

Overall Twitter Ranking: #79 / #121

Following: 40 / 12

Followers: 23,272,425 / 17,205,255

Follower/Following Ratio: 581810.63 / 1433771.25

Once again, American makes an appearance with the official Twitter accounts for POTUS and the White House. Trump inherited these accounts when he took office, but, more often than not, he continues to use his personal account to share his musings. In fact, @realDonaldTrump often strays off message from the official accounts, as seen here.

Twitter and politics

Twitter and politics


Recep Tayyip Erdoğan


Overall Twitter Ranking: 202

Following: 4

Followers: 13,036,933

Follower/Following Ratio: 3259233.25

Turkey’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, takes sixth spot with a little over 13 million followers. The world leader tweets (justifiably) in Turkish. Thank goodness for Twitter’s “Translate Tweet” option! Last month the President was called out on the platform when more than half a million users caused “#Tamam” (a Turkish word that translates as “enough”) to trend, in response to Erdoğan’s claim that he would step aside when his people told him they’d had enough.

Twitter and politics

Sushma Swaraj


Overall Twitter Ranking: 247

Following: 0

Followers: 11,750,504

Follower/Following Ratio: 0

India’s Minister of External Affairs is the most followed female world leader, with more than 11 million followers on Twitter. Swaraj has been praised for using the platform to respond to people asking for help, whether for visas or rescue.

Twitter and politics

Swaraj’s response to an elderly man’s request for help set social media buzzing last month with her humour and sincerity.


Joko Widodo


Overall Twitter Ranking: 317

Following: 61

Followers: 10,232,293

Follower/Following Ratio: 167742.51

Widodo is Indonesia’s seventh President and its first leader without a military or elite background. The President (also known as Jokowi) often uses his social media account to share his triumphs running Southeast Asia’s largest country (266 million people and counting). The median age in Indonesia is a little over 28 years old, making social media an obvious choice to connect with the young population, and Widodo uses it well!

Twitter and politics


According to Twiplomacy, a Burson Marsteller research project that tracks the use of Twitter by governments and international organizations, Twitter is “the prime social network used by 276 heads of state and government, and foreign ministers, in 178 countries, representing 92 percent of all United Nations (UN) member states.” Data for Twiplomacy was captured in May 2017. While some positions have since changed, the study remains an interesting snapshot of Twitter and politics.

Twitter and politics

The Burson-Marsteller 2017 study has changed slightly since it was conducted a little over 12 months ago, but it remains an interesting snapshot of Twitter and politics.


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