Election “salesmen” on YouTube

YouTube did not exist during the last presidential election in the US and in this time, it has become such an important tool to reach to the people that any political party serious about their campaign cannot ignore the influence of YouTube. While most of the candidates running for the presidency (or the party ticket) used YouTube quite a bit, Barack Obama left everyone way behind. See for yourself in the figure below. This picture shows the name of an author followed by the number of videos he/she/they posted on YouTube. These data are coming out of our collection of election-related videos from YouTube.

Authors on YouTube

Authors on YouTube: username followed by the number of videos posted

Obama vs. McCain

People have spoken and Obama is the new president-elect. We have been looking at election-related activities on YouTube and blogs closely for the past year and a half, and while our full analysis is still underway, here are some interesting statistics.

As of October 20, 2008, Barack Obama’s campaign had posted 577 videos, which is the highest number of videos posted (2.6% of 22,104) by any individual or organization in our collection. On the other hand, John McCain’s campaign had posted only 94 videos (0.4%), ranking 21 among the authors in our collection. It is not surprising that Obama’s videos had a view count of more than 34 million, whereas McCain’s videos had a view count of less than 2 million. This gives Obama’s videos nearly 18 times more views than that of McCain’s. Other statistics about the YouTube videos of these two candidates can be seen in the table below.

Obama vs. McCain

Obama vs. McCain (as of Oct. 20, 2008)

Since Obama had significantly more videos posted than McCain, it may be unfair to compare their views etc. directly. We, therefore, present the averages for both the candidates in the following table. As we seen in that table, on average, an Obama video was viewed nearly three times as much as McCain’s. Sure, McCain’s videos have more comments per video than Obama’s, but without analyzing those comments, it is hard to say anything about the opinionated nature of those comments.

Obama vs. McCain (as of Oct. 20, 2008)

Obama vs. McCain (as of Oct. 20, 2008)