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Republicans See Gains on YouTube

But They Still Lag Behind Democrats on Video Site

By Published on .

According to Nielsen/NetRatings, "YouTube videos about Republican presidential candidates accounted for 31 percent of all time spent at the site watching campaign-related videos in April, increasing 21 percentage points over March." While that's a pretty substantial jump, Nielsen/NetRatings is quick to point out that "videos about Democratic candidates accounted for 69 percent of all time spent on campaign videos in April." Despite that large lead, it's a 20 percentage-point decline from the prior month.

So there's a big gap in share of total time. What about unique visitors? It's much closer to even, there. In April Democratic videos attracted 377,00 unique viewers to Republican's 311,000 unique viewers (still wayyyy behind Nora, the piano-playing cat!).

Of course, as Nielsen/NetRatings Media Analyst Jason Lee, pointed out, "the nature of social media is that not all coverage is positive. In March, the anti-Hillary Clinton '1984' video drew significant traffic, which accounts in part for the Democratic lead in time spent for the month." And McCain's "Bomb Iran" boosted the Republican numbers for April.

So yes, big numbers on YouTube might actually be a bad thing. After all, hundreds of thousands of people may be flocking to a clip just to see a candidate make a total ass of himself.

That said, I'd bet that Republican numbers are going to be even higher when the next batch of data come out. There are a few reasons for this: a) Mitt Romney (among others) has been uploading videos like a maniac (and this rogue mash-up of Romney's first rap video is funny, too); b) Fred Thompson's entry into the race and his anti-Michael Moore clip should help; c) the Republican debates have been simply more interesting to watch.

On that last note, I'm inclined to agree with Camille Paglia that some of the politically correct Democratic candidates, faced with both a woman and a black man, might be so afraid of offending that they're pulling their punches. Or they could -- with the exception of Mike "Crazy Uncle" Gravel -- simply be boring. As the Republican debates are basically a boys-club event, they're free to go for blood without appearing sexist or racist (well, not any more than usual at any rate).

But outside any legitimate Macaca moments, I'm not sure that any of these numbers really matter.