2015/01/12 Leave a comment
Four additional results are worth highlighting. First, there are indeed many Canadian think tanks: these results include 44. Having such a crowded playing field may explain much of the general public’s confusion about which think tank fits in where ideologically.
Second, according to my ideology measure, Canadian think tanks seem to be about evenly split on the left-right continuum: there are 21 think tanks to the left of centre and 23 to the right.
Third, the smile isn’t exactly symmetric. In this sample, and with this measure, the average “right-wing” think tank appears to be a bit more “ideological” than the average “left-wing” think tank. That said, the difference is not that large and may simply reflect what Halberstam and Knight found in the US: that conservatives are actually more tightly connected on social media than liberals.
Fourth, my preliminary analysis did not suggest any systematic relationship between ideology and Twitter followers. In other words, it does not appear that more extreme ideologies on their own are associated with a larger Twitter following.
… That said, we should always be careful when reducing a complex issue to a single number along a single dimension. The concept of ideology is inevitably problematic. Moreover, think tank ideologies are not uniform within a given organization and they change over time. Finally, of course, readers should not use these results to prejudge, discredit or approve of research by any of these organizations without a thorough reading of that research. I emphasize that these simple results are preliminary and just a first step; much more work is needed to better understand these complex issues.