The 2008 presidential election in numbers

Feature – More numbers about the 2008 presidential campaign are surfacing: Join us for a look at  the web audience, fundraising, cost and young voter turnout surrounding a billion dollar election.

Internet audience

– Nielsen Netratings estimates that the U.S. audience following major news coverage on the ten largest Internet properties in this category was 60.5 million people on November 4, compared to just under 40 million the week before. The estimated number of unique users on November 4 was 42.4 million; pageviews jumped by 103% to 868.3 million. President-elect Senator Barack Obama was mentioned in nearly 20% of all blog discussions on Wednesday. In comparison, Senator John McCain was referenced by just 6.3% of all blog entries posted the same day.
– Akamai said that global visitors to the news sites peaked at 8.6 million visitors per minute at 11 pm on Tuesday, which is about twice the average traffic to those sites.
– said it saw about 250 million page views and more than 20 million unique visitors on election night. The site delivered more than nine million video streams.
– said it had 27 million unique visitors and about 276 million pageviews with 4.9 million live video streams and 6.7 million on-demand streams.
– said it had 3.4 million unique visitors and 24.2 million pageviews.


– According to the Federal Election Commission data released on October 27, Obama and McCain have collectively raised $999 million during the campaign.
– Of the $639 million that the Obama campaign raised, $573 million was spent. Obama finished elections with $65 million cash on hand and $2 million in debt.
– McCain raised $360 million in total. His campaign spent $293 million in total, leaving him with $66 million of cash on hand, one million more than Obama, and $2 million in debt.


 – Obama’s fundraising designed around web and mobile media was focused on small contributions, while McCain targeted large donors. For instance, while half of total funds McCain raised came from $2300+ donors, Obama collected nearly half (48%) from donors who contributed $200 or less. Although McCain had almost half the number of $4600 donors than Obama, 11,235 compared to 6772, they contributed 17% of total funds he raised, compared to Obama’s 10%.
 – 72.1% of McCain’s donors were male, compared to 57.7% male donors who contributed to the Obama campaign. Over twice as much of both McCain’s and Obama’s $4600+ donors were male.
– If we look at contributions to Democrats and Republicans from industry segments, the real estate/finance/insurance industries contributed $125 million in total to both parties (D: $65 million, R: $58 million), followed by $89 million raised from lawyers and lobbyists (D: $68 million, R: $21 million), $75 million raised from miscellaneous business (D: $46 million, R: $29 million), $41 million raised from the communications/electronics industry (D: $32 million, R: $9 million), and $38 million from the health industry (D: $25 million, R: $13 million). Labor industries contributed the least of all industries, just $920,492 in total to both campaigns.
 – The top five states by contributions are California ($142 million in total, Obama: $68 million, McCain: $22 million, Clinton: $22 million), New York ($105 million in total, Obama: $43 million, McCain: $12 million, Clinton: $26 million,), Texas ($56 million in total, Obama: $17 million, McCain: $14 million, Clinton: $7 million), Florida ($51 million in total, Obama: $14 million, McCain: $14 million, Clinton: $8 million), and Illinois ($43 million in total, Obama: $26 million, McCain: $7 million, Clinton: $5 million).

Read on the next page: Expenses, voters and results 



– Total advertising expenditures by media: Broadcast: $335 million, miscellaneous media: $35 million, Internet: $27 million, print: $15 million, media consultants: $8 million.
– A whopping $65 million was spent on postage and shipping, $159 million went to salaries and benefits; $135 million was spent on travel.
– Polls and research that serve as a crucial weapon in every campaign strategist’s arsenal were pretty expensive, too. In total, $35 million has been spent on polling, surveys and market research, $22 million on political consultants and $20 million on direct mail.
– $65 million was spent on fund raising direct mail and $20 million for fundraising consultants.
– Over $23 million has been spent on supplies, equipment and furniture.

Voters and results

– About 136.6 million Americans have voted for president this election, with 18 percent of young voters aged 18-29.
– Obama took in about 64.1 million votes, while McCain got 56.5 million (as of 11 am EDT today).

Young voter turnout

– About 22-24 million young people voted this year, representing a 2.2 million increase over 2004.
– Young voters favor Obama over McCain by more than two-to-one margin (66% to 32%), compared to overall voters who chose Obama over McCain by a much narrower margin of about 52% to 46%. Such a gap in presidential choice by age is deemed unprecedented. For instance, the average gap from 1976 through 2004 was only 1.8 percentage points, as young voters basically supported the same candidate as older voters in most elections.
– Projected youth voter turnout is between 49.3% and 54.5%, an increase of 1 to 6 percentage  points over estimate based on the 2004 exit polls and between 8 and 13 percentage points in 2000.
– Depending on the final vote tally, when most precincts have reported, including absentee ballots, this year’s youth turnout could be the second highest since 1972, when it was 55.4%.