I started researching the midterm Senate races on YouTube. I copied this Wikipedia list of Senate races and searched on YouTube for each candidate's name, taking note of the number of videos that search returned. I also noted the most popular or interesting videos, and the number of views and comments they received. The results for the first ten states of the Union (in alphabetical order) are here.Bryant also discovered that campaign ads being posted on YouTube are not very popular and material is not generally posted by the campaigns themselves. We've seen politicians reach out to bloggers, we've seen them dabbling in social networks like MySpace and a few of them have gained a measure of celebrity on YouTube itself. But Bryant shows many of our leaders aren't what you would consider early adapters to the new media landscape.
The results aren't encouraging. If viewing political videos is any measure, YouTubers aren't very engaged with our government. Of course, YouTube may not be an ideal test bed for measuring engagement. But in an Internet era supposedly dominated by social media, it doesn't hurt to test our assumptions on what should be the most democratic medium of them all.