The Nielsen Company last week released an overview of the presidential campaign so far this summer, providing a look at the candidates’ online presence and buzz, their advertising campaigns, as well as TV viewership for party national conventions.
Among the key findings:
- Online audience and videos viewed: In July 2008 the number of video streams on JohnMcCain.com more than doubled, possibly due to press coverage around his ad that compared Senator Barack Obama to Paris Hilton. Despite being behind in total video streams in July, BarackObama.com’s unique audience was twice as large as JohnMcCain.com’s in both June and July 2008.
- Top blogs: The Huffington Post blog includes the most mentions of both Barack Obama and John McCain (June through Aug 17), while Senator Obama maintains the lead in overall buzz volume on blogs and message boards.
- Advertising online: In July, the “Obama for America” image-based online advertising campaign was five times bigger than the previous month – 417 million impressions in July 2008 vs. 80 million online impressions in June 2008.
- Top states for TV advertising: During June and July 2008, both Obama and McCain targeted their local TV spots at key battleground states, including Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
- TV viewership of political conventions: Historically, more homes tune in to Democratic National Conventions and there have only been three election years in which more homes tuned in to the Republican National Convention – 1972 (presumptive nominee Richard Nixon), 1976 (presumptive nominee Gerald Ford) and 2004 (presumptive nominee George W. Bush).
Online Audience and Videos Viewed
In July 2008 video streams more than doubled on JohnMcCain.com, possibly due to press coverage around McCain’s ad which compared Obama to Paris Hilton:
The two presidential candidate Web sites are seeing increased in unique audience as the summer progresses. Despite being behind in total video streams in July, BarackObama.com had a unique audience twice that of JohnMcCain.com in June and July 2008:
Among the nearly 80 million blogs tracked by Nielsen Online’s BuzzMetrics service, the following are the blogs that mention Senators John McCain and Barack Obama between June 1 and August 17, 2008, ranked by volume of messages mentioning the candidate:
Total Buzz Volume: Blogs + Boards
As the race to the White House continues, Senator Obama maintains a healthy lead in buzz volume on blogs and message boards combined (0.77%) compared with Senator John McCain (0.35%), with more than double the amount of mentions between June 1 and August 17, 2008.
During July, the “Obama for America” image-based online advertising campaign was five times bigger than the previous month – with 417 million impressions in July 2008 vs. 80 million online impressions in June 2008.
John McCain’s campaign doubled its sponsored search link advertising from June to July 2008.
Advertising: Spot TV, National Cable, and Spot Radio
Barack Obama and John McCain ran a combined total of 127,513 local TV spots and 668 national cable TV advertisements between June 4, 2008, when campaigning for the general election began, and August 1, 2008. The candidates also placed 440 spot radio ads between June 4 and July 13.
McCain ran significantly fewer local TV spots (57,132) than Obama (70,381), but McCain placed more than twice as many national cable ads (526) as Obama (142). McCain also placed more spot radio ads (256) than Obama (184).
(Note: Neither candidate placed advertisements on National Broadcast Networks or Syndication during June and July ’08.)
Local TV Advertising: Top States
During the early stages of the general election campaign, both Obama and McCain targeted their local TV spots at key battleground states like Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Those three states were among the top 5 in terms of local spot TV units for both candidates.
Though Florida topped the list of states where Obama placed the most local TV spots (7,387), McCain bypassed the state entirely, placing no local TV ads in Florida between June 4 and August 1.
Meanwhile, McCain made Iowa one of his top five priorities for spot TV advertising (4,838; rank: #5), while Obama placed far fewer ads in the state (3,055; rank: #11).
Overall, between June 4 and August 1, McCain placed slightly more local spot TV ads within the top five states he chose to target (36,611), than Obama did in the five states he targeted for advertising during the same time period (32,253).
For complete results, see Appendix 1 in Full PDF Download version of release..
TV Viewership of Political Conventions
There have only been three election years in which more homes tuned in to the Republican National Convention than to the Democratic National Convention – 1972 (presumptive nominee Richard Nixon), 1976 (presumptive nominee Gerald Ford) and 2004 (presumptive nominee George W. Bush).
2004 marked the first time in the past six election years that more households watched coverage of the Republican National Convention than its Democratic counterpart. The 2004 Republican National Convention also drew more viewers with an average of 22.6 million total viewers compared to the Democratic National Convention’s 20.4 million viewers.
The most-watched Democratic National Convention occurred in 1980 when 20.7 million homes tuned in to see Jimmy Carter receive the party’s nomination. 21.9 million homes watched in 1976 when Gerald Ford was named the Republican Party’s presidential nominee, the highest viewership of any Republican National Convention.