January 26th, 2008
07:57 PM ET
3 years ago

Exit polls: Bill Clinton's effect

 Bill Clinton has campaigned heavily for his wife.
Bill Clinton has campaigned heavily for his wife.

(CNN) - Bill Clinton's aggressive campaigning in South Carolina in the days leading up to the state's primary may have had a net negative effect among South Carolina’s Democratic primary voters, CNN exit polls indicate.

Roughly 6 in 10 South Carolina Democratic primary voters said Bill Clinton's campaigning was important in how they ultimately decided to vote, and of those voters, 48 percent went for Barack Obama while only 37 percent went for Hillary Clinton. Fourteen percent of those voters voted for John Edwards

Meanwhile, the exit polls also indicate Obama easily beat Clinton among those voters who decided in the last three days - when news reports heavily covered the former president's heightened criticisms of Obama. Twenty percent of South Carolina Democrats made their decision in the last three days and 51 percent of them chose Obama, while only 21 percent picked Clinton.

Bill Clinton's presence on the trail was "very important" to roughly a quarter of those surveyed. Among those voters, Hillary Clinton edged out Barack Obama, 46 to 42 percent.

On Monday, Obama said he felt as if he is running against both Clintons, a charge the New York senator’s campaign said was borne out of frustration. The former president himself later dismissed Obama's comments, saying “I thought he was running against me.”

Campaigning in South Carolina Friday, Obama noted that the Clinton campaign had stepped up its attacks since his Iowa win, and joked that it's good practice for him, so "when I take on those Republicans, I'll be accustomed to it."

– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney


Filed under: Exit Polls
soundoff (529 Responses)
  1. Duop

    Bill must either stick with it or leave–but there will still be no different at all.

    January 26, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  2. ben..west memphis ar.

    glad hillary lost thanks to slick willie and his lies he won the race for abama hooray

    January 26, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  3. Lynn in NM

    I think Bill needs to keep campaining. He is doing wonders for his wife's chances!

    January 26, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  4. Sergio Villarreal

    Finally, Obama knows what it was like to be a Republican during Clinton's presidency. Lies, deceit, and "The Politics of Destruction" have finally backfired on those two out-of-touch progressives! Sink Hillary, Sink Hillary!

    January 26, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  5. Jack

    I fear Bill's tactics will work once we enter primaries in which only a small minority of Democrats are black. How can we not suspect that the Clintons have intentionally polarized Democrats according to race, knowing that if the lose South Carolina because of it they'll win most other states, including California? How despicable. How typical.

    January 26, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  6. Christine

    I do think that Hillary and Bill have been very hard on Obama. In debate, Hillary sent many crushing blows on Obama, and those accusations were not true at all, or they were twisted truths. The Clintons are not honest people, they are harsh, and they are unkind. I also don't want to see Hillary in the Whte House. It will be the 1990s all over again. What sort of scandals would arise this time?

    January 26, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    And why people use this for/

    January 26, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  8. capris

    I am so thankful that the SC voters were able to see that Billary is 100%negative and counterproductive to the future of America. Billary is toast. Eight years was enough. Go away, please. Billary, please point that finger of yours somewhere else. America needs hope.

    January 26, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  9. Gil Morris

    Americans are tired of Bill's condescending finger wagging. How stupid do you think we are? Who's running anyway? Take your illgotten gains and be gone Clintons.

    January 26, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  10. Jack O

    I'd wait until the results are official – exit polls in NH predicted Obama by double digits, and Clinton had given up before mysteriously being declared winner in NH.
    We may wake tomorrow to a headline that says Clinton won. Are there Diebold machines in SC?

    That said, maybe people are starting to remember that the Clintons really weren't that great. They've both been arrogant since the start of tis campaign, and their sense of entitlement really shows. Maybe this can now be the beginning of the end for Clinton. Americans are sick of the Bush/Clinton dynasty, and neither Clinton nor McCain represents change. They are both members of the old guard.

    January 26, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  11. Dee, New Jersey

    It is very simple; the African-Americans delivered the vote to Obama. Nothing new, no news.

    Go Hillary- New Jersey is waiting to deliver the votes to you!

    January 26, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  12. John

    Let's not forget Hilary left S.C. after the debate.It's possible some voters may have felt alienated by her so quickly after. I think Edwards pushing that in some of his appearances this week may have pushed voters away. Don't miscount this being another issue for Hilary losing votes.

    January 26, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  13. Tony.A

    I won't argue that the former president's aggressive campaign on behalf of his wife may have created a backlash. Nor did it help that many prominent Democrats like Clyburn, Kerry and Reich all chipped in their two cents against his style and voracity. But I am sure his wife probably realizes that if her ultimate ambition of capturing the white house is to be a reality it won't be without him. Ask Al Gore what happened to him when he decided to keep the former president out of his campaign.

    January 26, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  14. Keith

    If the polls hold, and it is, indeed "a rout", then this puts Mrs. Clinton on notice that her asendency to the Presidency isn't inevitable.

    It is important to remember that, between them, the Bush-Clinton dynasties have run our nation for a total of almost 20 years. Specifically, the Clintons had not one, but TWO terms in the White House. It's time for the voters to retire ALL of them and then let someone else have a chance.

    When the party is over, it's polite to leave.

    January 26, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  15. Mark

    Thank you Bill. For Obama's win by more than 20% margin.

    January 26, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  16. Renaisauce

    The interesting thing about this is that, tactically, if it seems like Hillary and Bill would run as kind of a tandem, it will seem to many as almost unconstitutional (not to mention unwanted, since many of us remember that, looking back, both Clinton AND Bush were 8 year mistakes). I think if Hillary is going to recover from this, Bill has to make it clear that he will try to be the best first lady he can be, and vow to stay out of her hair while she does her job.

    January 26, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  17. Alison Carnie

    Is there a fund to which we can all contribute to make Bill go away ?

    January 26, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  18. Robert

    How much is tonight's vote an "anybody but Bigfoot" vote? Difficult to quantify, but in general, using your spouse as an attack dog is a really awful way to run a campaign. If Hilary wants to attack Obama, let her attack,. Letting Bigfoot attack while she stays "above the fray" is pathetic posturing.

    January 26, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  19. Erin

    Obama 08!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My faith in people looking past the Clintons' lies if renewed. I hope this will carry Obama through to the primary!!!!

    January 26, 2008 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  20. L. White

    A vote for Obama and against Clinton is also a vote against dirty politics and swift voting and it speaks of the fact that the public in this case was paying attention!
    We have had a president for 8 years who lies and have suffered Karl Rove...if Clinton wants to imitate Rove he better realize that people know that dance and are sick of it! Hillary is also a big phoney, Ms Sensitive is also willing to lie and cheat to become president...is that normal politics? some say so, but those who do can only end up with really corrupt candidates and a mess of trouble ahead.

    January 26, 2008 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  21. DT

    Many people have been calling the Clintons out on their lies and rabid attack schemes for 15+ years...funny how it's finally been noticed by everyone else. Of course, it only took them running against the next Dem superstar for it too happen.

    January 26, 2008 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  22. Brown

    It looks as if Bernstein is extremely partial against the Clintons. He should be off your list of political commentators.

    January 26, 2008 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  23. Betty

    As a highly educated business owner, I am personally offended at the Clinton's campaign strategy. Their injection of race and personal attacks on Barack Obama is an insult to all Americans. They have jeopardized the Democratic Party for personal gain. The have diminished the party. They are using the same sort of tactics that were by the republicans on Bill at the end of his presidency. I am extremely disappointed in the Clintons. They have lost a long time supporter. I have absolutely no respect for either Hillary or Bill. Shame on them!

    January 26, 2008 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  24. Nicholas in Atlanta

    Bill Clinton has lost his glamor and glitz, he's losing his patience and I'm pretty sure he's lost his mind. At a time when the Democrat candidates should be speaking about issues, Bill Clinton is attempting to make everything about race. I personally don't care what race OR religion the candidate is – as long as they are able to touch on issues I believe are important (the economy, Iraq, Afghanistan, the climate) and they're ideas make sense, I want to hear them. I don't want to hear Bill Clinton lambasting the media about media fairness (this is the "Clinton News Network" afterall) or about race. Why is our FORMER President trying to rip apart our nation so frequently? I believe its time Hilary sends him packing back to New York and she tries to actually campaign on her own ideas, instead of on her husbands history.

    January 26, 2008 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  25. Alreadytiredofit, Las Vegas, NV

    America doesn't need dynastic presidencies. 8 years of Clinton and 12 years of Bush is enough – too much! Hopefully this will carry on to super-Tuesday in a couple of weeks but there's a lot of time for the Clintons to do their damage. Come on America, do the right thing – for once!!!

    January 26, 2008 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
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