(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.