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. Eric

    seriously? you're joking right? This is pathetic journalism and if this is a factual study, it is clearly a biased sample. Obama raised most of his campaign money in $10-$20-$50 increments because of his TEAM'S social media prowess, as well as his youthful strategy.

    This blog post is insulting.

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

    I really doubt that McCain ACTUALLY was behind the "activity" on social media sites and his website. In fact, I am inclined to believe that very few senators and congressment actually spend time on these mediums. Don't they all have interns, or possibly staff members taking care of this kind of stuff? I'd hope so- we don't elect these people so they can tweet all day.

    On the other hand, I do not have a problem with our legislators being technologically adept. But a "social media genius" ? That is as laughable as calling him a maverick.

    August 20, 2010 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  3. Matt from MN

    Who is last?

    August 20, 2010 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  4. John Black Hills/SD

    Social media genius...what a joke. McCain's the knucklehead who pulled Palin out from under a rock, all because he wanted to beat Hillary Clinton to the White House. He told Americans he couldn't button his shirts and that's why he doesn't use the Internet. This article is a piece of crap no one buys into, so it was probably bought by a McCain admirer.

    August 20, 2010 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  5. Marie MD

    LOL 🙂 For someone who didn't use a BB in 2008 and now corresponds with snooki. 🙂 🙂
    Then again, this man goes from one bimbo to another pretty easily.

    August 20, 2010 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    More like retarded...

    August 20, 2010 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  7. David

    Stupid article, just because you use it does not mean you use it well.

    August 20, 2010 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  8. Adonomo

    Anyone who picked Sarah Palin as his running mate must be a "genius"!!! lol

    August 20, 2010 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  9. R

    That's a pretty skewed study considering he has assistants/staffers who handle his social media for's a marketing medium, not a personal interest of his. Most politicians and other public figures do the same thing. This doesn't mean he actually knows his facebook log-in or personally tweets. It just means he has a good staff of marketing/public relations savvy individuals working for him.

    August 20, 2010 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  10. vinnie

    didn't maccain say during during the last election that he doesn't even use email? shouldn't this say that his STAFF is the genius? these professors must be dim

    August 20, 2010 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  11. Bob

    Apparently he was "genius" enough to Google Sarah Palin before he hitched his sinking ship to that anvil.

    August 20, 2010 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  12. J.Crobuzon

    They also found that snakes are frogs and pigs are chickens. Retire, Grampa. Both parties resent you for bringing out Palin.

    August 20, 2010 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  13. Erik in Iowa City

    BWWWWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHA! You mean the 20-year-old managing his twitter account is the "genius," right?

    August 20, 2010 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  14. Vince

    Yes and I hear that the moon is made out of green cheese...

    August 20, 2010 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  15. johnRJ08

    A "social media genius" and a "social catastrophe". Ask his wife.

    August 20, 2010 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  16. db

    Remember the 2008 presidential campaign? We were told repeatedly that McCain was technologically inept – part of the scare campaign about how old and out of it he was. How many other lies were we told?

    August 20, 2010 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  17. anthony

    um... Polls are BS and Americans are stupid. Thats all thats too it really.
    Remember, they also bashed Obama because he was uber tech saavy, so believe what u must, but McCain is a dinosaur who probably needs his 12 year old nephew to check his email for him.

    August 20, 2010 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  18. bill

    McCain rated a "social media genius".

    Seriously, it's not April 1st, and that is what I just read.

    August 20, 2010 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  19. Buc

    Genius not,
    Worm definately.

    August 20, 2010 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  20. Squiggs

    I don't think the adjective genius comes to mind when you think of the man who choose Sarah Palin as his running mate while running for the presidency. I guess she was the only one who could make him look like a genius by standing next to him. Kind of like a catch22, I look smart next to her because she's so dumb but I don't look smart because what kind of idiot would choose this numbskull as a running mate. By the way, didn't this guy finish next to last in his class at the naval academy?

    August 20, 2010 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  21. Ramses

    Of course John is a Genius, the whole world knows about it when he picked Sarah Palin.

    August 20, 2010 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  22. carlos

    knowledgeable, perhaps........but genius, ???????????....that is for digital IQ............not to be confused with the real IQ

    August 20, 2010 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  23. Mouth, Phoenix AZ

    You would have to be a genius to slowly ruin this country and convince anyone that after X amount of years in Congress it's not your fault. Either that, or this is a direct comparison to his constituents...
    Wait, it could be that it isn't his fault and that he has no impact or political clout to make improvements.
    You decide.

    August 20, 2010 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  24. aproudmemberoftheunpatrioticmob

    One more time for you liberals, the Republicans do not have majorities in Congress, they do no have the presidency. The Congress has been owned by the democrats for four years now and the presidency for two years. To hold them responsible for the mess the liberals have created is a lie.

    August 20, 2010 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  25. Thomas H.

    Does anyone seriously think McCain is posting anything to any social networking site HIMSELF? He has a handful of Alex P. Keaton-types trying to keep him in the blogosphere and therefore relevant. The man didn't even know that Iran was geographically between Iraq and Pakistan.

    August 20, 2010 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
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