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. J.F.

    Bryce, demanding more from Obama on foreign policy and not from Hillary is unfair. You demand so much of him, but I haven't heard Hillary say anything about the countries you've named (China, Kenya, Russia, Cuba). So what are her big plans, specifically?

    January 31, 2008 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  2. Paul in Kissimmee

    Did anybody notice how Obama was being very very very nice to Clinton? I think he knew the cameras were on him this time.

    January 31, 2008 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  3. plain jane

    I agree with you Roy.

    Roy Winegarden January 31, 2008 11:15 pm ET
    If Obama wins I'm voting Republican…………Go Hillary

    January 31, 2008 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  4. lemmings

    Yes, maybe they were getting aroused watching a woman and not a man.

    January 31, 2008 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  5. Sal

    Obama is ready

    Dems are not looking for Experience, but revenge to GOP

    Thats not a good reason to Choose a candidate

    Hillary mentioned the Gender issue again. Pick me I am a Women!
    Gender / Race issue, Obama did not respond to Wolfs baiting the issue.


    your experience. Right From Day One! The experience they are talking about is not by definition. They are talking about a Bush period of bitterness, partisan politics. The Bush years have made people bitter to the point of saying you are not experienced / (Bitter) enough because you are not expressing partisan bitterness. Mrs. Maxine Waters said it was Hillary’s policy as to why she endorsed Hillary Clinton. I thought your recent economic stimulus proposal was more on point than any other proposed stimulus plan presented. Representative Walters has had many problems in congress with the GOP and with the Bush administration. Some may vote Hillary because they believe Hillary will be a Bush (Partisan President) for Democrats, in only helping Democrats. As Democrats, we always had a long history of reconciliatory gestures towards the other political parties, building lasting relationships, as a model for governments around the world. It will not be fruitful at this stage for congress and others to back a partisanship government for any reason, especially not for revenge. Democratic Party truly represents the teaching of Christ Jesus. Grace runneth over in paying our debts, as we rightly see the only man. As we remove that beam out of our way, calling itself bitterness, resentment and condemnation. That is not about the American Dream. People want Change that includes all. Now, is the time for courageous thinkers! Many of our Washington Status quo representatives fear a change. Most of their courageous constituents want change that blesses all America. This movement is about healing a nation. With your message, people are starting to see the possibilities that were thought to be impossible.

    Change we can believe in

    Obama 08

    January 31, 2008 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  6. Matthew

    I have to wonder how many Hillary supporters go on here posting "I just made up my mind on Hillary because..." statements in an effort to flood the internet and make it falsely appear she is winning converts.

    Obama's answers are clearly not as polished but I thought he seemed much less rehearsed and more genuine. Beyond that, the few differences they have on policy, Obama makes much more sense, on health care especially. I don't know how people can claim Hillary has the edge in this area.

    I don't really see how presidential candidates can promise concrete answers to contextually fluid questions anyhow. Things as they are will not be such in another year. You have to choose someone based on their dynamic ability to make good choices and follow through. That's Obama.

    January 31, 2008 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  7. EddyNewHope

    Refreshing to see both candidates having a dignified discussion. Kudos to both. I like Senator Obama's positions on health care, his opposition to NAFTA, position on war, and I really like the idea of having a candidate that will bring not only Dems together, but also Republicans and Indis into the fold so that the gears of government can begin to turn once more. Go Obama 08.

    January 31, 2008 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  8. Charles DiVenti

    Hillary danced around the issues, spouted about her expereince of over 35 years of public service that never really happened, and expounded on her Senate record that didn't produce one significant piece of legislation. She did take a lot of credit for the things that went well in her husbands administration. This is the same old stuff in a different wrapping paper. Obama is a true visionary with command for the issues and a vision for the country. My vote is for Obama.

    January 31, 2008 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  9. opinion25222

    I thought both did equally well. I'm so glad they were not acting like children. I still like Obama better.

    January 31, 2008 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  10. Ray

    It took a Clinton to clean up after the first Bush and its gonna take another Clinton to clean up after this Bush!!

    GO HILLARY!!!!

    January 31, 2008 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  11. Walter Mason

    The same people are blogging for Clinton just using differnt names. If Clinton so strong why isn't she raiseing more money

    January 31, 2008 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  12. From Montgomery Al


    January 31, 2008 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  13. L. West

    Obama won on substance. Hillary looked good, sounded good and had some tight answers, but we're voting for the Presidency, not a media buy. Hillary used the buzzword "Universal" for her mandated plan. Mandate does not mean they will pay for it, you will pay for it. And under her plan if you cannot pay for it you will be penalized, or maybe your payroll will be garnished. Obama wants Universal healthcare to be available and affordable for all. His plan is the better plan overall.

    He always looks and acts Presidential. He has judgement and leadership which inspires people to act, to get involved, to voice their opinion and to participate in the process. His campaign was colorblind and inclusive. She and her campaign interjected race into the issue and did so again tonight by trying in that subtle way to exacerbate a rift between blacks and hispanics over jobs. Poor people, Black and Hispanic, want and deserve jobs and liveable wages to enable them to get out of poverty. Corporate america has been exploiting poverty for long enough.

    Obama was right on the war and that one decision set the stage for all other decisions to come. Because of Hillary's war vote we are paying for it in the loss of life (armed forces/iraqi citizens), our stricken economy, in unemployment, in the housing crisis (no oversight), veterans healthcare, education and the failure of the administration to be concerned about any other domestic issue. She can't clean up a mess she helped create. In her own words, she looked at the evidence and believed the Republicans (who never gave a reason to believe them) and the argument to go to war with Iraq, a country we had contained for over 10 years, which didn't attack us. She doesn't have the judgement to be President on day 1. She's a consumate politician, I'll give her that. She should be the next Speaker of the House or the head of Health and Human Services. And Bill can be Secretary of State.

    January 31, 2008 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  14. john

    If Obama wins. vote for this GOP dream ticket: ROMNEY/RICE.

    January 31, 2008 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  15. Ray

    To Paul in Kissimmee..Yes I noticed that also. Obama was went OVER the top trying to make sure everyone noticed. It looked just as fake as he is.

    January 31, 2008 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  16. diane

    liked the people meter – very interesting! but, then, i've been for hillary from day one!
    seriously though, thought obama did well and would make a great v.p.

    BUT, the iraq argument – who voted for the war and who didn't, is WORN-OUT from the last election. the republicans used it over and over again – was sick of hearing it then, and more so now! unlike the right-wingers and their media types, i think most americans have moved on-
    we're there and we need to GET OUT! that's what's important!

    hillary / obama '08

    January 31, 2008 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  17. LaLainKCMO

    OBAMA 08!

    January 31, 2008 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  18. Phil


    You say that to complain about the choice of the American people is foolish and sad. I disagree.

    As Benjamin Franklin said when asked what form of government the US would be, "A republic, if you can keep it." Democracy is not a magic bullet that always chooses the right option – if it were, the last eight years of American history would have gone very differently. The next eight years, at least, can go differently. But electing a Clinton to the Presidency and extending 20 years of two-family rule to 28 is the wrong choice. It's a choice that goes against the fundamentals of democracy.

    I read the news stories about undecided voters and wince in horror – people who believe Obama is a Muslim terrorist, people who haven't even followed the news enough to know who he is, people who oppose Romney for being a Mormon, people voting for a candidate because of their race or gender...

    If the American people showed any signs of looking at the issues and making an informed decision I would be happy to treat the will of the democracy as right. But when the will of the American people, over the last 8 years, has been so systematically bent on undermining the very foundations of its liberty, I confess, I find myself skeptical and worried.

    January 31, 2008 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  19. Rachel

    One of my chief concerns about Hilary is the reality that Bush would never have been a serious contender for president had it not been for his father and their family connections. Would Hilary be in this position if not for Bill?

    Obama, on the other hand, really seems to instill a desire to participate and contribute, exactly the qualities that make a great leader.

    January 31, 2008 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  20. mary

    Obama thinks that all the finger pointing will get him to be president
    and all the stuff he has been saying all week long about Hillary. She had made no
    conment so who is the bully here.
    Obama brought up Kennedy alot. Well here some news for all of you
    did you know Ted Kennedy let a young girl drown some years back
    and onley thought of saving himself I belive he could of tried to help her
    but did not and he did not even get jail time. And what about his nephew
    he also killed a young girl and got away with it for think twenty years he went to jail
    but with all the Kennedy pull probley got out of jail. Now what about Obama
    dealings with a slum loard and says he is a supporter of his and a friend
    got a house under price from him wrote letters on his behalf. No one ever
    check him out like the do the Clinton's. I belive the media is a frade to
    thats their supper star they might find out something they do not want to
    know I do not think he that good he got skeltons we just have to find them.


    January 31, 2008 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  21. Leney

    Obama clearly won tonight. He was precise, disisive, patient, thoughtful, direct. He did not give 2o minute answers that did'nt have a point. He was clearly a leader and presidential. GO OBAMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 31, 2008 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  22. jes

    Kayla, how old are you! Obama has a nice smile, that will come in handy when he is dealing will major world leaders.

    January 31, 2008 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  23. ww-New York

    They both were good! However, you can't deny Obama gave specifics that "Hillary" supports argue he couldn't. Now after looking at both of them together one on one.. I have to say there's no way Hillary can beat the Republicans! I'm now sure of it. I'm sorry I have to vote Obama.. I am now sure for sure! She got way to frazzled when bringing up her past.. by the way she does when it benefits her.. Sorry!

    January 31, 2008 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  24. Nick, Austin, TX

    If Hillary wins I'm voting McCain.

    Go Obama!

    February 1, 2008 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  25. Sal

    She won the debate

    She lost on the War issue

    Dems most important issue

    She did not have to address her lack luster econ stimulus packet.

    Howard Dean the Resignation needs your signature.

    Splitting the Dem Party

    February 1, 2008 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
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