What Gets Tweeted Gets Done? Gubernatorial Agenda-Setting and State Policymaking

19 April 2022, Version 1


Increasingly, social media plays a central, agenda-setting role throughout both the campaign where candidates are able to aggregate their policy priorities for journalists and co-partisans. We assess whether candidates’ agenda-setting behavior online resembles the policy agenda of the legislature that a future governor is slated to collaborate with. We analyze the relationship between gubernatorial candidates’ policy priorities on Twitter and policy priorities captured by legislative activity, using a data set of gubernatorial candidate tweets from 2008 to 2018 (Duell 2021) and state legislative bill introductions (Garlick 2020). We find a consistent set of state policy priorities between what issues winning gubernatorial candidates talk about and legislature activity, suggesting that even beyond institutional differences, the policy priorities between incoming governors and the legislature are by similar, national political climate dynamics. This effect continues-regardless of a governor’s institutional power or margin of victory, suggesting that it’s a question of political context.



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