January 31st, 2008
10:25 PM ET
10 years ago

People meter: undecided Democratic voters weigh in

Voters reacted to Thursday night's debate in real time.

Voters reacted to Thursday night's debate in real time.

(CNN)—Thursday night’s CNN/LATimes/Politico Democratic debate was a historic event not only because the field has narrowed - leaving a choice of an African America or a female Democratic nominee - but because Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton appeared to have called a truce. The two seemed to combine their efforts and threw their punches at the Republican Party.

Immigration, healthcare and the war in Iraq took center stage at the Kodak Theatre. All the while, a group of undecided male and female Democratic voters reacted in real time to the candidates’ responses.

The red line graph represents voter approval or disapproval of their responses as the debate progressed.

Overall, 60 percent of the undecided voters weighing in thought Clinton showed more strength Thursday night than Obama. However, they did feel Obama did best on the topic of Iraq.

People meter: Watch Obama and Clinton battle their healthcare packages

People meter: Watch Obama discuss his plan to curb illegal immigration

People meter: Watch Clinton discuss her Iraq war strategy

People meter: Watch Obama pitch his plan to handle foreign threats

Related: CNN's Erica Hill reports undecided voters had the strongest response over criticism of the Republicans

–CNN's Emily Sherman

soundoff (162 Responses)
  1. S. Hunt, Tennessee

    I thought the biggest applause was when Hillary said, "It took a Clinton to clean after the first Bush and it would take a Clinton to clean up after the second Bush."

    They both did an excellent job in tonight's debate. Being a Hillary supporter, I thought she did best. They decided to come together and unify our party. It will take ALL OF US supporting which ever one of these two wins this nomination. It was almost like one would take a light jab at the other then cover it with a band-aid. I preferred tonight's debate. The stance on issues was clarified.

    Please stop hurling insults at these two candidates, it is detrimental to all of us. If we truly want to end this war, turn our economy around, have health care for all, and solve our immigration problem once and for all, we have to work together.

    Finally, I think it would indeed be a Dream Team if they would run together and put Edwards as AG.

    I could go with a Clinton/Obama or an Obama/Clinton ticket. Let's get to work, we have a White House to win back.

    January 31, 2008 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  2. Roy Winegarden

    If Obama wins I'm voting Republican............Go Hillary

    January 31, 2008 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  3. Debo

    For all Clinton supporters, let me just remind you how very very strong she looked in once again not admitting her vote for the war was a mistake. And for all of those who think health care is more important than the war, where the heck do you think there will be money to support universal coverage with a trillion dollars pouring into Iraq? Folks, it's time to use your brain and understand that pandering is not leadership and poor preparation is not worthwhile 'experience'. If folks fail to remember, there was an amendment to that authorization which would have mandated another vote if war was to be waged and your old girlfriend Hillary didn't support it. Wake up America!

    January 31, 2008 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  4. silverlucie

    Senator Clinton couldn't have been more Presidential, more articulate, more humorous or more beautiful. I know that all of her supporters will not waver, will stand firm for her and our country. I can't wait until she is my President.

    January 31, 2008 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  5. C. Marie


    So now the vote is biased. How funny. I suppose if Obama had done better you could then believe it. Sorry watch the debate it was obvious Hillary love her or hate her, looked and talk better. You know what meter I would have liked to see? the one that measured how many times Obama said uh. Some of you Obamican Idol worshippers could not even count that high.

    But seriously it was a good debate and good contrast.

    January 31, 2008 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  6. Matt

    Will, you said "We need to account for the fact that 50% of the 30 people who contributed to the live vote were Hispanic. That's hardly representative of the electorate.."

    Not to make this a race issue, but couldn't you say the same thing about Obama's victory in South Carolina, a victory in a state that's hardly representative of the national electorate and has been one of the main reasons for his latest surge?

    January 31, 2008 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  7. Chad

    I would like to say that the "people meter" is stupid and whoever came up with it should get fired. Things like this trivialize the election process. The real "people meter" is the election itself. Who cares about tracking what thirty people think – I care about what the candidates say and what I myself think. If I want to see such crap I'll tune in to Fox News.
    On another note, it upsets me to say this – but Clinton won the debate. Obama HAD to come out strong and he didn't. He looked aloof at times. He really needed to make his case for President, but instead looked like a Vice-President. Disappointing.

    January 31, 2008 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  8. kim

    My vote for Obama...

    January 31, 2008 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  9. shaun

    dull debate. Obama didn't manage to knock Hillary out. His lofty slogans are getting into wishy washy now. Which is OK because ...
    He can run in 2012 on the Republican ticket - Michelle threatened that if he does not win he will never run for the Dem ticket again!

    January 31, 2008 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  10. Cody from WV

    HIllary did so well tonight, she has my vote and full support, Obama did well but HIllary sold her deal to American tonight.

    January 31, 2008 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  11. American Woman

    Although it was obvious that the audience was skewed in Hillary’s favour, Sen Obama clearly won the debate. He gave thorough but focused responses that actually answered all of the questions with the exception of the last question where he gave a very thoughtful and diplomatic response, but not an unequivocal one.

    Clinton on the other hand danced around several questions and offered less pointed responses.

    January 31, 2008 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  12. JC

    Hillary sealed the deal tonight. She has my vote.

    January 31, 2008 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  13. Mimi

    To Debo,

    I don't think her voting for Iraq War was a mistake.
    It's easy for people to criticize her from hidelight, but she made the best choice at the time.

    January 31, 2008 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  14. E.M.

    Obama 2008 all the way after tonight. He did wonderful tonight and showed great poise and intelligence. He did not appear to fake his expressions but was genuine, well read and the response from Americans on his behalf to get involved is a true testament to his leadership abilities and we're still in the primary stage!

    Barack Obama 2008! Bonus: Michelle Obama as terrific First Lady.

    January 31, 2008 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  15. Virginia

    Again Hillary proved herself to be the better candidate. Her knowledge and command of the issues, her clear-cut strategies on health care, immigration, the economy, etc., give her a considerable edge over Obama. I actually do think that in another 8 years, if Obama stays in politics and works at it, he could become a viable candidate for the presidency. But not yet, he's lacks the necessary depth and maturity that comes with experience and age.

    January 31, 2008 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  16. John Smith,N.Y

    Obama was good but Hillary showed she is clearly in charge. she is brillant andknowledgeable.

    January 31, 2008 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  17. Beth Pasternak

    Very Interesting , Clean Up after the Bush's. Give us a break,,,, the Clinton's came from dirt, handeled their life like dirt, and treated the highest office on earth like dirt. We are still cleaning up after ALL the dirt.

    No wonder you spend taxpayers money so freely when you do not see the Goverment like a business... Try getting your check book balanced for a change.

    Your views on Immigration ( See Above) we are a government of rules and regulations and balance (enforce the rules in place) we do not need to think of what to do,,,, follow the rules and regulations on the books NOW!

    How dishonest can both of you be,,,, not once did you confirm the roll of the soldiers and the effort they are doing,,, in fact MRS RODHAM said that she saw nothing good that happen,,,,millions of people are free, we are trying again to clean up the dirt you left behind. Disgraceful your lack of love for freedom

    January 31, 2008 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  18. Ryan

    The compostion of the undecideds may have slighty skewed towards Clinton. But I still feel as though she held her own in the debate on every issue, except Iraq. Obama scored some big points there, because he forced Hillary to express a complex position, that doesn't come off well with many democratic voters. I still think that this debate was good for both candidates. This debate was good for Obama because his youth and aura of inspiration were on display. And Clinton because she commanded every issue which such detail and specifics, that I felt as if I were attending some ivy league lecture.

    January 31, 2008 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  19. Jan Clausen

    Well, let's see - When asked a question, Obama answered simply, with wit, and then was quiet.

    Hillary went on ... and on ...and on...and on. Every answer had Point 1,2,3 and ended with "when I'm President." It was like watching a screechy Bill Clinton - she just couldn't relinquish the microphone. She talked and talked and talked. Please, God, let Obama win on Super Tuesday. I can't bear the thought of being forced to listen to Hillary deliver a five-day state of the union speech. Despite her own opinion, she's not entitled to be President.

    January 31, 2008 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  20. James

    "CNN... the most trusted name to stir up sensationalism in politics!"

    Aside from Wolf Blitzer being the WORST moderator ever (more like a gossipy person who likes to stir the pot), the "undecided" had a predilection for Clinton as was remarked upon above.

    We'll see what happens...

    January 31, 2008 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  21. philip

    Two very strong performances tonight but that's exactly what they were, performances. To say one was better than the other would be knit picking. Hillary's greater experience certainly shone through. The fact that she has been around Healthcare and some of the relevant issues for many years and certainly longer than Obama perhaps showed in some of her answers which appeared to be more in depth, thorough and technical to tonights questions. She has had a few more cracks at it, this gives her a slight advantage when talking about the complexities of the issues and practical application, but she also has a lot of baggage with her. After the cameras stop rolling will she really stick to the fine print of her election pledges or cut a few corners when no one is looking? I'm not so sure. I trust Barack more. He isn't as profficient a debater as Hillary but that doesn't mean his ideas are any less potent. So if it's real political change and not just change based on colour or gender then I feel Barack will bring it and his slight lack of experience may actually be advantageous for change as he won't be so shackled to the past in mindset , old allegiances and deed but still has the right approach and enough about him to be a succesful president. I think the Democratic party will win the WhiteHouse with Hillary or Obama. They have better ideas, better candidates and are better looking but my vote if I were eligible and not in rainy London, England would be for Barack Obama with a bit of guilt for not backing the very capable and beguiling former first Lady.

    January 31, 2008 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  22. Benjamin


    We had a revolution in the 1700's to stop a King 3000 miles away from governing us. We now ELECT our leaders who reside here in the U.S.. To complain who gets elected to office, a choice of the American people, is ridiculous and sad.

    My mom, a republican who despised Hillary for years, thinks she is our best choice with what's on the table for the next Presidency.

    January 31, 2008 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  23. Karen

    After carefully watching and reading Obama's statements I feel he is not the person to lead us. He is great at delivering a speech but the country needs more than that. Hillary has a grasp on the problems the country is facing and she is smart and tough enough to handle the task.

    January 31, 2008 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  24. Ben K.

    Hillary was simply great. Who else does America want?

    January 31, 2008 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  25. Ramon Cabrera

    I have to admit that even I was undecided about how to vote next Tuesday, after tonight debate there is just one candidate, Hillary. She explain her ideas and policies very clear and understandable, looks very presidential and more important give many reasons to vote for her. I will be looking forward for Tuesday to be part of the History.

    January 31, 2008 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
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