In the months leading up to the 2010 midterm election, 22% of adult internet users engaged with political campaigns on Twitter or a social networking site. While Democrats outperformed Republicans in many key aspects of social media in 2008, the GOP caught up with Democrats in online political interaction in 2010. Among the roughly one-in-five online Americans active in politics on social networking sites and Twitter, 45% voted for a Republican congressional candidate while 41% voted for a Democratic candidate. Among just social networking site users, 40% of Republican voters and 38% of Democratic voters used these sites to get involved politically. Tea Party movement supporters were especially likely to friend a candidate or political group on a social networking site during the 2010 election — 22% of such users did this, significantly higher than among all other groups. Read More

Russell Heimlich  is a former web developer at Pew Research Center.