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The 2010 election on YouTube: By the numbers

By Ramya Raghavan

YouTube News and Politics

In these 2010 midterm elections, campaigns, voters and interest groups have continued to innovate new ways to share their political opinions on YouTube. Because YouTube allows anyone to post and share videos globally, you’ve made this platform the vanguard of the political media discussion. Some of these efforts to influence the political dialog on YouTube were more successful than others. Today, we’re sharing who emerged on top of the YouTube elections heap – and we’re going strictly by the numbers.

The top 10 most-viewed videos, sourced from all videos categorized as News & Politics on YouTube, are a mixed bag of official campaign videos, user-generated content and videos from interest groups:

1. Congressman Assaults Student on Sidewalk

2. We Are Better than That

7. Those Voices Don’t Speak for the Rest of Us

8. FCINO: Fiscal Conservative in Name Only
9. Governor Christie Responds to Teacher During Town Hall
10. Arizona Sing-A-Long: Read Immigration Law!

Interestingly, every video in the top 10 comes from the Republicans, which is quite a departure from 2008 when left-leaning Yes We Can topped the charts. In addition, immigration was an extremely hot topic on YouTube this year, with three of the 10 most-viewed videos about the Arizona immigration law (and two videos came from Arizona Governor Jan Brewer).

Now, let’s take a look specifically at the 450 candidates for public office who’ve registered for official Politician channels on YouTube this fall. Here’s a rundown of the top 10 most-viewed Politician channels on YouTube in the last month:

  1. Christine O’Donnell 
  2. Jerry Brown 
  3. Rob Steele 
  4. Linda McMahon 
  5. Jack Conway 
  6. Marco Rubio 
  7. Carly Fiorina 
  8. Joe Sestak 
  9. Chris Coons 
  10. Dino Rossi
Leading the pack is Christine O’Donnell, whose “I’m You” video inspired hundreds of thousands of views...and quite a few parodies.

YouTube Insight allows us to see where the view counts are coming for any individual video. For example, parodies of O’Donnell’s “I’m You” video (like the Gregory Brothers’ “Songify This”) received millions more views than O’Donnell’s original campaign video nationally, but Insight shows us that O’Donnell still received more views in the state of Delaware than any parody video.

Similarly, the memorable “Why” video from the No. 2 politician on the list, Kentucky Senate candidate Jack Conway, shows that he too did an effective job of targeting voters in his state - even though the video went viral nationally.

Stay tuned tomorrow for more YouTube and Google video and trends data, during our special Election Night coverage with CBS News.