How Americans feel about Donald Trump insulting Joe Biden on Twitter

Linley SandersData Journalist
June 03, 2019, 7:00 PM GMT+0

Nearly two dozen Democrats are vying for the chance to challenge President Donald Trump in the 2020 general election, but Trump’s tweets have mostly focused on one potential opponent this year: Former Vice President Joe Biden.

Trump has posted 14 tweets about Biden since YouGov began tracking public sentiment about his daily Twitter posts in February 2017. Trump’s tweets about Biden took on a different tone when the president shared North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s thoughts on Biden. Trump was in Japan on an official trip when he tweeted that the North Korean leader “called Swampman Joe Biden a low IQ individual, & worse.”

Biden’s deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield admonished the President in a statement, remarking that “to side repeatedly with a murderous dictator against a fellow American and former vice president speaks for itself.” In response, Trump wrote on Twitter that the North Korean ruler had originally called Biden an “idiot” but he had personally changed it to “individual,” adding, “Who could possibly be upset with that?”

Americans don’t seem to approve of Trump’s Twitter attacks on Biden.

Those tweets have earned a negative rating from most people, according to data drawn from YouGov’s TweetIndex, a daily tracker of tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account. Every day, YouGov asks a nationally representative sample of Americans to rate the president's tweets on a five-point scale from Great (+2) to Terrible (-2), which produces an overall score for how the general population feels about the tweet on a scale from -200 (if everyone thinks it is terrible) to +200 (if everyone thinks it is great).

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Since YouGov began tracking, the median score for Trump’s tweets among the US population as a whole is -18. Analysis of public sentiment around all of the President’s tweets about Biden shows an average score of -44, well below the general population’s median score.

Independents, in particular, show a distaste for Trump’s tweets mentioning Biden. The median Independent score for Trump tweets is -13, but the median score for tweets including Biden’s name is -51. That 38-point gap is slightly more significant than the 33-point gap seen among both Republican and Democrats.

The median Republican score for Trump tweets is +102, the median score for tweets including Biden’s name is +69. Democrats give the president’s tweets a median score of -109, but missives about Biden specifically earn a median score of -142.

The President often uses Twitter to take swipes at other political opponents, too, though Biden remains the current focus. The only other 2020 candidate who’s received more overall Trump Twitter attention than Biden is Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Trump has sent 22 tweets that mention Sanders since February 2017. Only nine of them were posted this year.

Trump has also mentioned Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren — another Democratic front-runner — 10 times on Twitter. That number rises to 12 when counting the times he refers to her as “Pocahontas,” a racist nickname that references her Native American heritage. Former Texas Representative Beto O’Rourke has been mentioned three times, but only during his Senate race against Senator Ted Cruz. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg have been mentioned twice by the president on Twitter.

Methodology: YouGov TweetIndex shows how the public rate each tweet from President Donald Trump’s official Twitter account. At the end of every day, YouGov shows a representative sample of US adults the tweets sent in the past 24 hours by President Trump. The panelists are asked to rate the posts on a scale Great (+2), Good (+1), OK (0), Bad (-1), and Terrible (-2). Theoretically, scores can range from -200 (if everyone thought the tweet was “Terrible”) to +200 (if everyone thought the tweet was “Great”).

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You can review the history of our ratings of President Trump's tweets back to February 2017 on our YouGov TweetIndex.