South Carolina Primaries: Who are the most influential Twitter users in the state?

By Bill Coletti, CEO, Kith


Critical Takeaways:

  • Finding online users with the highest following is easy, but finding the unobvious users who resonate more is a little harder. This is where we come in.
  • Among the users we examined, it is curious that one of the frontrunners, Ted Cruz, does not seem to have very influential supporters in South Carolina.



We all have our favorite news outlets, publications and personalities that we follow, regardless of the topic. However, I’m sure most of us have our favorite outlets for local news and information as well. Anderson Cooper usually isn’t going to cover a municipality as well as a local will.


With the next presidential primary election being held this Saturday in South Carolina, we used our proprietary tool PathAR to take a look at the online conversations around the elections, and identify who the most important voices were. For the purposes of this exercise, we excluded national correspondents, campaign profiles and anyone else who isn’t based exclusively in South Carolina. We wanted to know who the most important South Carolinians are.


Here is where PathAR shows its strength: Not only does it ingest the profiles of the highest-followed accounts within the search parameters, it also looks at who is following whom, and who influences those people as well. You can also take profiles that are indicative of the conversation you’d like to look at, and use them as subject searches to find profiles that mirror the ones you input.


To begin with, we created a list of keywords specific to the presidential campaign, including the names of each candidate from the two major parties, as well as names of those who recently have dropped out of the race (e.g. Chris Christie and Carly Fiorina). We then made sure that the search was limited to South Carolina only.


After running the search, PathAR looked at over 250,000 profiles that fit my search terms, and then whittled down the list to provide not just the most followed profiles, but also the most topic-specific profiles with the most relevant user base.

PathAR subject cluster


The first thing I looked at were the most-used keywords from the online posts.


PathAR word cloud


Unsurprisingly, Donald Trump was the most oft-cited candidate. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio were in a close battle for a distant second. After those top three contenders, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley was the next most-mentioned person, with most of the mentions referencing her endorsement of Marco Rubio.


The first mention of a single Democrat comes with Hillary Clinton as the 9th most mentioned keyword. This is probably due to either the fact that South Carolina is a very conservative state, or because the Republican field generates much more media attention than the Democratic one.


On to the influencers. As a reminder, these are not the ten most followed or loudest profiles, but rather the ten profiles who are most ingrained in the political conversation, and whose followers are the most relevant audience regarding presidential politics in South Carolina.


Of our top ten influencers, we found 4 Trump supporters, two journalists, two Sanders supporters, one Hillary supporter and one Rubio supporter. The Trump supporters should come as no surprise given the amount of mentions Trump has generated (though it is debatable whether or not those mentions are positive or negative). It should also come as no surprise that democratic supporters rank higher in the list, given that active social media users skew younger and more liberal. However it does come as a surprise that there are no Ted Cruz supporters, especially given his caucus win in Iowa and strong polling in the Republican field.


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  1. Krystal Ransome

5,028 followers on Twitter, PathAR rating of 100.


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  1. Jack Miller

10,115 followers on Twitter, PathAR rating of 97


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  1. Rob (@Robin182zz)

13,192 followers on Twitter, PathAR rating of 96


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  1. Nancy Mace

12,280 followers on Twitter, PathAR rating of 93


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  1. D.H. Freedom

7,437 followers on Twitter, PathAR rating of 89


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  1. Lissette Kron

8,847 followers on Twitter, PathAR rating of 84


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  1. Mark F.

10,318 followers on Twitter, PathAR rating of 81


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  1. Marybeth Jacoby

5,468 followers on Twitter, PathAR rating of 80


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  1. Rudolph Bell

4,366 followers on Twitter, PathAR rating of 76


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  1. The Dark Triad

4,999 followers on Twitter, PathAR rating of 75