After Trump’s surprise election in 2016, Eric Silverman and I wanted to look at Twitter to try and see if it would give us many insights into why this happened. We found a new group of Trump supporters added to, and effectively took over from, an older group of more traditional Republican Party (GOP) supporters during Trump’s campaign. Surprisingly, there was little evidence of Russian infiltration in this new group. We argue that a highly motivated movement of disaffected people played an important role in generating a new wave of support for Trump. The addition of this new support to traditional GOP support, was enough to push him over the bar in several key states in the election.
For more information, we wrote the work up for publication in PLOS One. We also wrote a follow up article in The Conversation.
We found that accounts in the older Republican group (see a in previous figure) switched from following one-another to following accounts in the Trump group (see b in previous figure) .