YouTube viewership of presidential election coverage up 5x from 2012



With election day less than 24 hours away, coverage of the United States presidential election is dominating news cycles and social media feeds all across the web. YouTube is no exception, where the front page has been filled with political-themed videos for weeks.

According to data released on the YouTube Trends blog, viewership of videos about the presidential candidates is up 5x from the 2012 race, and up 8x from the 2008 race.

Viewership data on videos about presidential candidates

The 2012 election only saw a 1.65x increase over 2008, making this year’s numbers especially impressive. Election day views usually spike to 7-10x the yearly average.

Not all days are created equal, though. Spikes in viewership can usually be attributed to key campaign moments – things like major speeches, key debates, and new scandals each drive viewers to watch more videos.

Key campaign moments from the 2008, 2012, and 2016 presidential races

Tuning in live

Live streams have been a big part of the 2016 election as well. Young people have been more tuned-in during this race than any other in history – many of whom don’t have cable, or would rather opt for the convenience of a laptop or hand-held device.

The final presidential debate received 2.8M live watch time hours on YouTube – a figure 5x higher than we saw in 2012. Americans aren’t the only ones concerned with this year’s race either: millions of viewers from all around the world tuned in.

Viewers of the final presidential debate by country

Google is doing their part in getting people to vote, with a new Google Doodle that went up yesterday. YouTube has a special #VoteIRL logo, and a call-to-action on every search results page. They also teamed up with Hank Green of the Vlogbrothers duo to create a “How to Vote in Every State” series, featuring a separate video for all 50 states.


More than 7 different networks will be live streaming coverage on YouTube starting at 7pm ET tomorrow, including NBC, PBS, MTV, The Young Turks, and Complex News.

When the first polls close, Google will start displaying live results to anyone that searches for “election results.”