Two years ago, the majority of Republican Twitter users in the US said the site was a bad influence on American democracy. But today, after Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter, their views are much more positive, while their Democratic counterparts are much more negative. The share of Republican Twitter users, while the number of those who say the platform is mostly bad for American democracy, has fallen from 60% in 2021 to 21% today, according to a Pew Research Center survey of American adults conducted March 13-19, 2023. At the time Similarly, the share of Republican Twitter users who say the site is mostly good for democracy rose from 17% to 43%.
Democrats’ opinions moved in the opposite direction. The percentage of Democratic-leaning Twitter users who say the platform is good for American democracy has fallen from 47% to 24% in the past two years, while the share who say it is bad for democracy has increased — albeit more modestly — from 28% to 35%.
However, rising shares in both parties say Twitter is not affecting American democracy. In 2021, nearly a quarter of Republican and Democratic Twitter users said the site had no impact on American democracy. This share increased to 36% among Republican users and 40% among Democratic users in the latest poll.
In addition to asking Twitter users about the site’s impact on democracy, the center’s new poll measures their views of potential issues that might occur on the platform. It finds that Democratic and Republican users are increasingly diverging in their concerns about misinformation and harassment.
Democratic users are now more likely to say inaccurate or misleading information (68% vs. 37%), and the intensity of discussions (50% vs. 27%) is a major problem on Twitter. Democratic Twitter users have become more likely to say both of these things since 2021, while Republican users have become less likely to do so. There is also a widening partisan gap in assessing the severity of harassment on the platform. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of Democratic users say harassment and abuse from other users is a significant problem on Twitter, compared to 29% of Republican users — a difference of 36 percentage points. That gap was only 9 points in 2021.