Political junkies – and even some undecided voters – will tune in to watch Wednesday night’s first general election debate between President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.
As Chris Cillizza wrote yesterday in The Washington Post, “Think of it like the Super Bowl, but for politics; even if you don’t like the game all that much, you tune in because it’s a cultural happening. (And yes, we are aware that we just called a presidential debate a ‘cultural happening’.)”
If you need more evidence that the presidential debates are highly influential, check out SourceFed’s “Most Influential Debates.”
For TV viewers, the race is still relatively close. According to RealClearPolitics, Obama is currently getting 48.7 percent of the popular vote and Romney is getting 44.6 percent.
But, if the US presidential election were held today, who would win the YouTube vote? It’s game over.
According to the Unruly 2012 Election Tracker, Obama’s YouTube videos are getting 70 percent of the views, 49,168,183, while Romney’s YouTube videos are getting 30 percent of the views, 21,393,183.
And Obama’s videos are getting 62 percent of total shares, 4,912,540, while Romney’s videos are getting 38 percent of total shares, 2,989,930.
- On blogs, Obama’s videos are getting 59 percent of shares, 3,793, while Romney’s videos are getting 41 percent of shares, 2,602.
- On Facebook, Obama’s videos are getting 60 percent of shares, 4,381,245, while Romney’s videos are getting 408 percent of shares, 2,895,904.
- And on Twitter, Obama’s videos are getting 85 percent of shares, 527,502, while Romney’s videos are getting 15 percent of shares, 91,424.
About the only category where Romney is leading is comments on his campaign’s YouTube videos. Romney’s videos are getting 54 percent of comments, 116,338, while Obama’s videos are getting 46 percent, 100,377.
It’s also worth checking out which videos are being shared.
As of Sunday, the #1 video being shared by Obama’s supporters was “Sarah Silverman | Let My People Vote 2012 - Get Nana A Gun.” (Sarah drops the f-bomb in the video. But, if you’re a fan of her satirical comedy, then you’ve already guessed that.)
The #2 video being shared by Obama’s supporters was “Wake the F**K Up (NSFW).” (Samuel L. Jackson drops the f-bomb, too. But, if you’re a fan of his films, then you’ve already guess that.)
The #3 video being shared by Obama’s supporters was “Cheryl Describes Meeting Mitt Romney - OFA Colorado.”
The #1 video being shared by Romney’s supporters was “No, I Can’t.”
The #2 video being shared by Romney’s supporters was “Mute Button.”
The #3 video being shared by Romney’s supporters was “We've Heard It All Before" (Extended Cut).”
Now, I won’t claim that the TV debates aren’t important, or that YouTube will determine who wins this year’s presidential election all by itself. But, 85 percent of Americans age 18 and older use the internet. And 71 percent of these online Americans use video-sharing sites such as YouTube and Vimeo, according to the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project.
How big is this audience? Well, that’s about 60 percent of all American adults.
So, if Obama holds a commanding lead among the 60 percent of all Americans 18 and older who use video-sharing sites, then Romney needs to have an even more commanding lead among the 40 percent of American adults who don’t use them.
That’s not impossible to do – which is why everyone – or almost everyone – will watch Wednesday night’s first general election debate between President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.
Although, I’m not required to provide equal time for opposing views, let me conclude by presenting a contrasting viewpoint. It is also from SourceFed, which asks, “Do Debates Matter?”