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

Study: McCain is a social media 'genius'

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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. SuperHiro

    If a study says that McCain is a genius, doesn't that effectively make the people who conducted this study idiots?

    August 20, 2010 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  2. Sniffit


    Translation: "We cooked it."

    Scott Galloway is a fraud corporatocrat d-bag who was placed on the NY Times' board almost by force by Harbinger Capital, a Park Avenue HEDGE FUND that had purchased a 19% share (yes, you CAN draw conclusions about where his ideological loyalties lie...after all the NYT is the rag that helped Bush "out" Plame and sell us the Iraq War). He also had his own hedge fund called Firebrand Partners. He was kicked off the board of directors of his own e-commerce company he founded, Red Envelope...he fought his way back onto the board but it went bankrupt and laid off everyone. He is a professor for the "brand strategy" class, which teaches students how to convince the consuming public to buy things and spend their money based on name recognition, etc. Lastly, he made quite a little name for himself responding to a very polite email from a student by flaming the holy hell out of him/her and using profanity, and multiple sources report him as being a "self important jacka$$."

    Guthrie only recently became dean at GW after being a fellow professor of Galloway's at NYU. His record seems a bit cleaner and less ideologically stilted from what I can tell...he appears to be more just an academic.

    In any event, the social media "genius" of any particular senator shoudl be attributed to whoever the heck they are paying to do it for them...the vast vast majority of them couldn't type on a Speak & Spell if you held a razor to their tender nips.

    August 20, 2010 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  3. normajean

    All I can say is considering what he hasn't been a part of for the last two years, I'd like to know what he is being judged on. Sara Palin, loss of the election, double talking every time he can't think fast enough. I used to have respect for this man but as the world has turned I find him just a tired, lazy old has been.

    August 20, 2010 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  4. nick2

    what were they using? an abacus ? McCain couldn't even do txt messaging during his bid for president. Or is this a satire perhaps.

    August 20, 2010 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  5. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    How is this relevant? How did they calculate these seemingly random numbers that make no sense?

    August 20, 2010 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  6. g

    vote backwards vote republican -vote foreward 21st century democrate

    August 20, 2010 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  7. Rob NY

    Genius is not a word that I would use to describe the man who gave us Sarah Palin.

    August 20, 2010 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  8. Terri

    Well, that's what's important, right? Being "a social media genius."

    Being a war hero and POW? Child's play!

    Tossing away his hopes of being President by picking a nutjob/moron for a running mate, and stepping into G.W. Bush's good graces by throwing away his own integrity - that was no big deal.

    But being able to use Facebook and Twitter - that's important!

    Talk about outliving your 15 minutes of fame...

    August 20, 2010 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  9. Pkm

    If the gops iq is better then dem why does the gop cry all the time they only care for the rich i did not go to college but i care for people ifthe gop wins the election in nov god help us all

    August 20, 2010 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  10. We already know this

    Everybody knows Republicans are smarter than Democrats. It's the left-wing media that keeps pushing the "myth" that Democrats are smart and Republicans are stupid.

    George W. Bush (although much too stubborn) was heads above Al Gore in the "smarts" department, but the media narrative tried to sell us on just the opposite.

    We see it too in the left's fear of Sarah Palin. Although she was much more qualified than Obama to be President, they they keep pushing the narrative of Obama as genius. Without his pre-written speeches on the teleprompter, we see that he's just a clueless, bumbling idiot.

    August 20, 2010 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  11. Jerry

    Does any body realy think that the Senators actually input information into their social media sites

    August 20, 2010 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  12. independent

    Now do some investigative work and find out which of his aides is actually doing the typing,

    August 20, 2010 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  13. Donald in CA

    His media savy helped him say he didnt know anything about the economy, which helped him lose the election. Its also not helping him in his current relection in Arizona. He will probably lose to a right wing nut job. So whats the point.

    August 20, 2010 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  14. Erik

    I find this impossible to believe. The man could barely send an email before the campaign. Did this study take into account the firm he hired to manage his online presence?

    August 20, 2010 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  15. Blame Bush

    Well, he ought to be king of social media; his entire Senate staff are lobbyists, they're the one with the skills to use the new media tools.

    August 20, 2010 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  16. chris

    no "genius" would pick sarah palin to
    be his vp.

    August 20, 2010 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  17. Realistic

    Unreal and pure un-newsworthy and one dumb study. We know the name McCain and the word genius should be used in the same sentence. He could be able to adapt to *social media" wave but he is no genius, he picked Palin as his VP candidate. He also flopped his views to attract the conservative base during the campaign even when he knew they would not support him fully. If he was a genius he would picked someone else as his running mate, he would of had a more substantive message during the campaign. No, he is no genius.

    August 20, 2010 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  18. williemyers

    the only piece of "genius" in this project is that Mess-rs. Galloway and Guthrie no doubt got someone/organization to *pay* them to come up with this completely pointless bit of "research".

    It's reminiscent of the bubble when every piece of worthless info – and worthless company – was dished out to the public with ridiculously over-inflated importance.

    go figure...

    August 20, 2010 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  19. Canuck

    Probably the first time 'John McCain' and 'genius' have appeared in the same sentence – this is the 'genius' that picked a spectacularly unqualified VP candidate for his Presidential run.

    August 20, 2010 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  20. Richard

    By the way, who was the genius that connected genius McCain to the Palin genius? Who was the Geppetto?

    August 20, 2010 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  21. mitchyj

    Genius at social media? Perhaps. But at picking a running mate, an unbelievable imbecile.

    August 20, 2010 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  22. Matt

    Funny, since Sid McCrashup can't even operate a computer. I guess they really mean his *staff* is social-media savvy.

    August 20, 2010 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  23. kd

    well, his HANDLERS may be very adept at social media. McCain couldn't be bothered with the little stuff.

    August 20, 2010 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  24. Arlene, Illinois

    Is this the same Sen. McCain who doesn't know how to use a
    computer and didn't know how many homes he had?
    By the way what is " social media" ?

    August 20, 2010 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  25. Stewart

    So basically this article is saying that McCain and other old republicans have hired a bunch of young people to handle their social media. Obviously it's not McCain himself doing it, since he had no idea what he was doing in 2008.

    August 20, 2010 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
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