U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin has thousands more Twitter followers than Jim Oberweis, but the suburban Chicago ice cream magnate-slash-state senator is gaining momentum on the powerful Illinois Democrat.
Earlier this week a Chicago Sun-Times poll showed Durbin, who seeks a fourth term in the Senate, having a slight seven-point lead over his Republican challenger. The narrowing gap signals an increase in support for Oberweis, who recently went negative in his campaign to dethrone the Democratic incumbent. If he wasn't taken seriously before, the candidate—who previously launched failed bids for Illinois governor, U.S. senator and U.S. representative—is now considered a deeper threat to Durbin's political future.
Both candidates are employing Twitter to reach out to supporters—and the people who read their tweets are wildly different. The latest in our Ward Room/Stat Social series on political nemeses' social media demographics pits @SenatorDurbin against @JimOberweis. Previously: Gov. Pat Quinn vs. Bruce Rauner, and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel vs. Karen Lewis.
Here's how the two stack up on Twitter:
Gender: Durbin has more female than male followers, 54 to 46 percent. In comparison, Oberweis has more male than female followers, 57 to 43 percent.
Businesses: Given his background in the private sector, it's perhaps not surprising that Oberweis attracts more commercial accounts than Durbin, 9 to 7 percent.
Age: You would think Durbin's followers might be younger than Oberweis' in an echo of the Quinn-versus-Rauner analysis. But stunningly, the dairy magnate dominates the Democrat in the 18-24 and 25-34 age brackets. Young people must really like ice cream?
Income: Durbin's followers are wealthier, with 14.77 percent boasting incomes in the $100K range. Just three percent of Oberweis followers make six figures. Meanwhile, Oberweis—who's higher than Durbin on the income scale—has more followers in the lowest segment (59.81 percent).
Favorite Auto Brand: Durbin followers like Mercedes, Tesla and Chevrolet. In descending order, Oberweis' like Chevrolet, Chrysler and BMW.
Favorite Restaurants: Durbin followers prefer Starbucks, McDonalds and Subway. Oberweis' like Chick-fil-A, Jimmy John's and the Coffee Bean.
Favorite TV Network: Durbin's track CSPAN, MSNBC, CNN, and Oberweis' read tweets from Fox News, CSPAN and The Weather Channel.
Favorite Magazines: Oberweis followers like National Review, Forbes and The Nation. Durbin's like The New Yorker, Mother Jones and The Economist.
Favorite Store: Durbin followers tend toward the mass market (Target, Walmart, Macy's) while Oberweis' skew upscale (Nordstrom, Bloomie's).
Favorite Soft Drink: Durbin followers prefer Coke, while Oberweis' are more into Pepsi.