Newstex syndicates all of the tweets from U.S. Senate and House of Representatives members (check out the screenshots from the Newstex Politwits mobile app below), so our ears perked up when we read recent statistics about Twitter use by the U.S. government’s elected officials compiled by public relations firm Burson-Marstellar and published on Politico.

Here are the key statistics that might surprise you:

  • 8 out of 10 of the most-followed Twitter accounts of Senators and Congressmen and women belong to Republicans.
  • 67% of Republicans on Capitol Hill are actively using Twitter compared to just 41% of Democrats.
  • 68% of House Republican Twitter accounts use the @reply feature to directly communicate with other Twitter users compared to 46% of Democrat accounts.
  • 39% of Republicans maintain a second Twitter account for campaigns from their offices compared to just 31% of Democrats.
  • An average of 4,820 Twitter users follow Republicans compared to just 2,972 for Democrats.
  • In July, Republicans experienced a 6.7% month-to-month growth rate in terms of Twitter followers and Facebook likes compared to just 3.6% growth for Democrats.

Are you surprised by these statistics?  Considering how closely tied to Twitter and other tools of the social Web President Obama’s campaign was, one would think that there would be a wider focus on building social media relationships and influence within the Democratic party.  Two years ago, Republicans were playing catch up.  It seems the tables have turned.

What do you think?