November 2, 2012

Online Political Videos and Campaign 2012

Overview

Some 66% of registered voters who use the internet—55% of all registered voters—have gone online this election season to watch videos related to the election campaign or political issues. Specifically, they have done at least one of the following activities involving online political videos:

  • 48% of internet-using registered voters watch video news reports online about the election or politics
  • 40% watch previously recorded videos online of candidate speeches, press conferences, or debates
  • 39% watch informational videos online that explain a political issue
  • 37% watch humorous or parody videos online dealing with political issues
  • 36% watch political advertisements online
  • 28% watch live videos online of candidate speeches, press conferences, or debates

The process of discovering political videos online is highly social. Some 62% of internet-using registered voters have had others recommend online videos for them to watch related to the election or to politics. That amounts to 52% of all registered voters. Here is a rundown:

  • 40% of internet-using registered voters have had other people recommend election- or politics-related online videos for them to watch by posting on a social networking site
  • 36% have had other people recommend election- or politics-related online videos by telling them about them in person
  • 32% have had other people recommend election- or politics-related online videos by sending an email or text message

In addition, some 23% of internet-using registered voters – or 19% of all registered voters –  have themselves encouraged others to watch online videos related to political issues. However, just 1% have actually created their own videos online related to politics or the election for others to watch.

There are very few partisan differences when it comes to watching political videos, or to having them recommended by other people. Democratic and Republican voters are equally likely to have watched political videos online this election season, to have recommended online political videos to other people, and to have received such recommendations from others. However, registered voters who identify as liberal are more likely to have had political videos recommended to them on a social networking site this election season than moderate or conservative voters.

About the survey

These findings are based on a nationally representative phone survey of 1,006 adults (ages 18+) conducted October 12-14, 2012. Interviews were conducted in English on landline and cell phones. The sample contained 844 internet users, 721 of whom are registered voters, who were asked questions about their online video watching habits during the 2012 election campaign. The margin of error for the full sample is ± 3.7 percentage points. The margin of error for internet users who are registered to vote is ±4.4 percentage points.