August 20th, 2010
01:35 PM ET
4 years ago

Study: McCain is a social media 'genius'

McCain's 'genius' level digital IQ is is derived from a combination of metrics culled from his activity on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, political blogs and his own congressional website.
McCain's 'genius' level digital IQ is is derived from a combination of metrics culled from his activity on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, political blogs and his own congressional website.

(CNN) – At nearly 74 years old, Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, might not be the first person to come to mind when you're asked to name a social media "genius." But according to a new joint study, he is just that–the U.S. senator most adept at using social media.

New York University professor Scott Galloway and George Washington University School of Business dean Doug Guthrie ranked all 100 U.S. senators based on what they call the lawmakers' "digital IQ." The score is derived from a combination of metrics culled from each senator's activity on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, political blogs and their own congressional website.

Republican Sens. Jim DeMint and Scott Brown took a close second and third behind McCain, with Sen. Al Franken–the Senate's most social media-savvy Democrat–coming in at number four.

McCain's digital IQ of 156 was enough for researchers to classify him as a "genius." DeMint, Brown and Franken are also in the genius category, with IQs of 154, 152 and 143.

Republicans average 5.5 points higher than Democrats, according to the study. Their IQs also grew faster, as members of the GOP saw 6.7 percent month-over-month growth on Facebook versus just 3.6 percent for Democrats.

"President Obama pioneered the social media trail. However, Republicans are blazing it," the headline of the study's introduction says.

The analysis found that the 10 most conservative Republicans–according to their voting records–have a higher average digital IQ than the rest of their party, while the 14 most liberal Democrats lag behind their party.

"If social media is the temperature of the digital domain, it may be an especially cold fall for Democrats," the study's authors write in the report.

The non-partisan think tank L2 released the report, "Digital IQ Index: U.S. Senate" on Thursday.


Filed under: John McCcain • Popular Posts • Senate • Social Media • Social Networking
soundoff (145 Responses)
  1. James Quinn

    Well odds are he had to be good at something.

    Pagan jim

    August 20, 2010 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  2. Thomas, Illinois

    Well I so glad this so called "Genius" isn't in the WH...

    August 20, 2010 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  3. FRANK - LAS VEGAS

    So it's based on how often they use it, not that they make any sense. Some study.

    Vote NO in NOvember to the party of NO.

    August 20, 2010 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  4. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    I'll believe it when I see it, John McCain was still using the "Jitter Bug". I'd say check out his daughter and his wife who are probably doing the work.

    August 20, 2010 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  5. John

    I like John McCain he is a good U.S. Senators,and would of make a good President. But he make one bad choice he pick Saran Palin too be his Vice President. Now two years later she still won't shut up. The American people just want her to go away for good.

    August 20, 2010 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  6. clebrowns23

    Really? Is this the same John McCain that during the 2008 election, said:

    “I am learning to get online myself, and I will have that down fairly soon, getting on myself. I don’t expect to be a great communicator, I don’t expect to set up my own blog, but I am becoming computer literate to the point where I can get the information that I need.”

    “I’ve never felt the particular need to e-mail.”

    August 20, 2010 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  7. abbydelabbey

    If McCain's a genius? He certainly didn't show it at Annapolis -

    He's shown repeatedly poor judgment - low morals - cheated on his wife and then dumped his wife after she was so loyal to him - worst judgment call - Palin

    Now he's just senile -

    pathetic.

    August 20, 2010 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  8. John

    This is the same Genius that brought us another genius Sarah Palin?
    No question about it, our country is in a downward spiral with the likes of these people.

    August 20, 2010 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  9. kevin

    And I thought he still used a rotary phone. Now get off my grass!

    August 20, 2010 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  10. JOhn

    Hillarious Republicans invent system to make them look much smarter than they really are!

    What a total fraud of an article. This is how the right campaigns. Anyone that calls McCain and genious automatically looses any and all crediability. The number of friends you have on facebook does not make you any smarter. Only an idiot would try to pass thisoff as an IQ.

    Can't the right just be honest about anything?

    August 20, 2010 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  11. Limbaugh is a liberal

    Quote: 'The score is derived from a combination of metrics culled from each senator's activity on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, political blogs and their own congressional website.'

    Ah, but there is the key lie: SENATOR's activity. Most of these blogs and posts (maybe except for twitter) are NOT actually posted by the senator themselves, but by much more skilled members of their staff. You actually think McCain writes and edits his own senate webpage? Don't make me die from laughing!

    August 20, 2010 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  12. Frank Stanton

    John McCain is not adept at anything but blowing his own horn. If he is so "adept" at using media then why did he ever choose Sarah Palin as his VP running mate. She completely co-opted his campaign and the result showed that if he could not fall back on his status as a "POW" then he would have nothing to crow about. Whomever made up this report is just trying to fan interest in the Republicans who have nothing to offer this country but complaints. What a sham report!

    August 20, 2010 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  13. Neal

    Seems like the "genius" bar get lower and lower...pretty soon I should get that call from the Nobel folks.
    No offense to McCain etc, but really...come on!!

    August 20, 2010 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  14. Peter E

    I want to congratulate the underpaid college dropout intern on the McCain staff for maintaining the senator's facebook updates so well that it impressed two academics we've never heard of.

    August 20, 2010 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  15. DollyLanna

    You have got to be kidding!

    August 20, 2010 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  16. JEANNE

    John McCain – Sarah Palin??? – Genius, I think not.

    August 20, 2010 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  17. Pat

    If you believe John McCain is actually the one posting on Twitter and Facebook, you are as gullible as they come! I'm sure he's got an aide or his daughter or someone helping him. I know from experience how much time/effort can go into working all of these social networks and if he's really doing his job, then he doesn't have time to be online with this stuff.

    August 20, 2010 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  18. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    Uh, yeah, he's a genius – at hiring social media consultants to masquerade as him on Twitter and Facebook. During the 2008 campaign, Grandpa Munster admitted he'd never even sent an email before and suddenly he's a social media master? Sure, that's plausible.

    August 20, 2010 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  19. Kosmo @ The Soap Boxers

    No disrespect intended to any of the named lawmakers ... but is this judging their ability, or the ability of the staff person who might be posting items for them? Surely they delegate some tasks.

    August 20, 2010 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  20. Robert

    This ranking to the man who couldn't use email less than two years ago? What a flawed study. They should have studied who tweets, emails, facebooks, etc. on thier behalfs. The Republicants simply found another way to bash and spread vitroilic horse manure to hide the fact that they have no clue how to lead and no ideas or solutions to America's problems.

    August 20, 2010 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  21. ANDROLOMA

    "Social media intelligence quotient?" Once upon a time, IQ tests measured intellect. Seemingly, no American politician today can boast an (honest) score which would lead one to think in terms of three digits instead of two. That's the impression we get left with. So many geniuses taking on so many of America's problems... yet the problems remain or get worse? We need less geniuses, and more hard work.

    August 20, 2010 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  22. KatR

    NOW we know! Rather than doing the job of governing, the GOP is spending their time using the Internet to spread their fear-based propaganda. Note to my Arizona resident self: Do not vote for John McCain.

    August 20, 2010 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  23. Jim

    Right. And the most compelling proof is his choice for VP in '08!!!

    August 20, 2010 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  24. kaisersouse

    NO respect for a man who runs away with another woman after his real wife was disfigured from a car accident.

    August 20, 2010 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  25. seriously?

    laughable..just laughable

    August 20, 2010 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
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