The negative momentum of August seems to have carried over into September. FHQ speculated when looking over the August Twitter numbers for the prospective 2012 GOP presidential candidates that the summer congressional recess and their attendant town hall meetings had kept the candidates away from actively utilizing the service (and gathering new followers). Now granted, not all of the candidates below are members of Congress. In fact. it took adding Mike Pence to the list to even the group up to three members. [After the tied-for-third finish in last month's Value Voters Summit straw poll, we were going to include the Indiana congressman anyway.] So that doesn't seem to be what's driving this downturn.
Other than Newt Gingrich, no one else seems to be playing the invisible primary field through Twitter (and the former Speaker may not be a prolific Twitterer for that purpose in the first place). Tim Pawlenty is giving all indications that he's laying the groundwork for a run in 2012, John Thune is taking advantage of his position as head of the Republican Policy Committee in the Senate, Rick Santorum actually set foot in Iowa, Mitt Romney's doing all he can to maintain the air of a frontrunner and Sarah Palin is being Sarah Palin. But none of them are using Twitter to build a following and drive a message; well, not in the way that Palin is using Facebook at least. No, none of them are.
Yes, Palin and Gingrich are the best positioned of the bunch to get a message out quickly via Twitter and that is even with Palin not tweeting since she left office in July. @SarahPalinUSA changed back to @AKGovSarahPalin and the former is now its own feed, but remains dormant for the time being. Also, Mitt Romney had another account verified through Twitter, so he's back to square one as well. The former Massachusetts governor continues to look good on paper for 2012, but that hasn't stretched to Twitter.
Our new addition, Mike Pence, enters with a pretty good tweet per day ratio (more now than the dormant Sarah Palin). Like most however, Pence isn't getting much bang for his buck. For as much as the Indiana congressman is putting into Twitter, he's not getting many followers in return (see Follower Ratio below). Gingrich is understandable. He tweets a lot and has now cracked the one million follower barrier. However, for as much as they use Twitter (not that often), Bobby Jindal and Tim Pawlenty have pretty good followings and resultant follower ratios (followers per tweet per day).
Still, it was another slow month on the Twitter front for the prospective 2012 Republicans. The argument could be made that the fight is elsewhere now -- away from 2010 or 2012 and focused on health care or cap and trade. That may be true, but couldn't these folks be using Twitter to speak out on those issues? Yes, and some are.
FHQ Friday Fun: The Wii on Capitol Hill & The First Lady on Sesame St.
State of the Race: New Jersey Governor (10/1/09)
State of the Race: Virginia Governor (9/30/09)