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In Online Videos, Voters See More Election News Than Ads, Survey Finds

BY Nick Judd | Friday, November 2 2012

When it comes to online video this election season, the power of a friend's recommendation is far outstripping the power of the campaign dollar, a Pew Internet & American Life survey finds.

According to Pew data released today, American voters are more likely to be recommended a video from a friend or to watch a video with election news than to encounter a video political ad — even as campaigns post many of their ad spots to their YouTube channels.

Thirty-six percent of Internet-using Americans who identify as registered voters watch political ads online, according to survey data released Friday by the Pew Internet & American Life project. A greater proportion of voters, 48 percent of Internet-using registered voters, watch video news reports about the election or politics, Pew found. The survey also found that 52 percent of Internet-using registered voters say that other people have recommended online political videos for them to watch.

A far smaller group — 19 percent of Internet-using voters, according to Pew — actually does the recommending. Only one percent have actually created their own videos to share.

According to this survey, American voters are more likely to watch video news reports online (48 percent) than a humorous or parody video (37 percent). Then again, what a survey respondent says and what they actually do are sometimes different.

In all, 55 percent of voters have watched political videos of some type online. In general, Republicans, Democrats and independents all had similar online viewing habits.

As with previous Pew surveys, this one found that most people who say they are a registered voter also say they use the Internet, highlighting the significant role that online life has played in this campaign season.

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