January 21st, 2008
10:15 PM ET
14 years ago

People Meter: Viewers weigh in on debate

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/01/21/art.meter.cnn.jpg caption="Take a look at how viewers reacted to Monday night's debate."]
(CNN) - Viewers watching the South Carolina debate Monday night had the unique opportunity to weigh in on the Democratic candidates as they discussed the issues. The red line graph over the debate footage indicates the voter response.

People meter: Watch Edwards fight for his chance in the debate.

People meter: Watch the candidates spar over health care.

People meter: Watch Clinton and Obama argue on their economic standpoints.

Related: Watch CNN's Erica Hill report on the real time viewer reaction

–CNN’s Emily Sherman

soundoff (208 Responses)
  1. Michelle M

    I thought Hillary absolutely won the debate in SC tonight. Her responses were intelligent and she shares her plans with the country. The media is way too generous to Obama. Tonight was his worst debate! He was frazzled and did not directly answer questions and argumentative. He wants to criticize the voting records of his opponents when he did not take a stance on the issues in his own state by voting present 100+ times. Why would we want a leader that can not vote for or against an issue? Everytime his record is brought up he goes into attack mode. I thought his comments such as sometimes he forgets if he is running against Hillary or Bill offensive. If Hillary had made these type of inappropriate comments the media would have a field day. Why all the Obama support by CNN analysts?

    January 21, 2008 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  2. Tyrone

    i AGREE with Gil in Califorina

    1 Edwards
    2 Obama/Clinton (they are one in the same)

    January 21, 2008 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  3. JAN INSCHO

    I WANT TO HEAR ABOUT FOREIGN POLICY. WHAT DO THE CANDIDATES HAVE TO SAY ABOUT HOW THEY WOULD LEAD THIS COUNTRY ON KEY ISSUES – ISRAEL, RUSSIAN, NUCLEAR PROLIFERATION, IRAN AND HUGE TOPICS THAT AREN'T BEING DISCUSSED. CNN SHOULD BE ASKING QUESTIONS ABOUT THESE TOPICS RATHER THAN KICKING UP THE PERSONAL SQUABBLES BETWEEN THE CANDIDATES AND FOCUSING ON THE TIRESOME ISSUES OF GENDER AND RACE.

    January 21, 2008 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  4. Dixie

    John Edwards really shined tonight, and kept the debate centered on real issues instead of arguing with the other candidates. After seeing the debate, he has my vote.

    January 21, 2008 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  5. Steven S. Westcott III

    i will be extremely surprised if Clinton can ever establish a truly universal health care system as she proposes

    January 21, 2008 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  6. tds1273

    How is it not obvious that not only is an Edwards/Obama an absolute lock against any other ticket with out the name Gore on it, but giving Obama the executive experience would almost lock him up for the next run?

    Edwards/Obama ‘08 equals potentially locked up 16 years of solid, good, and true Democratic leadership.

    January 21, 2008 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  7. Russell

    I just want to agree with Linda Feldman. Hillary Clinton does represent combat politics and combat politics has turned this country into the red state vs.blue state mentality. The country is going no where– it is not working and the people who represent us are fighting for their turf and not for the people. Well said Linda. I certainly resonate with that, and this mud-tossing debate tonight was a great example. Several times I thought it more closely resembled the Three Stooges having a pie fight than a Presidential debate.

    January 21, 2008 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  8. Kedrick Reshon

    While the back and forth bickering between Clinton and Obama did tend to stray away from the issues and make Edwards a shining star amongst storm clouds, it was very refreshing to see Obama take a more aggressive approach at campaigning for his message and defending his record. This new found confidence may propel him to2008’s Democrat Presidential Nominee. To some this forum may not be an effective means of debating but it did answer questions such as voting records,troop withdrawal, Regan, and health care plans in a much clearer manner then all of the previous debates combined.

    January 21, 2008 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  9. Sharon

    If Clinton and Obama are not careful, they will turn everyone off and the Republicans will win the White House by default. Edwards won, simply because he didn't get dirty by slinging mud. Why can't the Democrats drop their individual self interest and truly understand that we need someone left to defeat the Republicans come November?

    January 21, 2008 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  10. Ed - Georgia

    I think that John Edwards waited patiently and took the side that would give him the best leverage, and the most attaboy's. Edwards should run on his own merits and not someone else's past history.....or perceived weaknesses. None of them, except Obama, even looks like a leader.

    His position does not change with the winds of popularity. He already seems like the President of The United States of America.

    January 21, 2008 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  11. Cheryl

    HILLARY CAME OUT ON TOP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YOU GO GIRL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HILLARY CLINTON 2008

    January 21, 2008 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  12. James LaFever

    Lou Dobbs we the people need you, America needs you!! Please bring common sense back to this country. RUN for President ! ! ! Your Country is calling...

    January 21, 2008 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  13. Carolyn

    Tonight:
    1. Edwards
    2. Clinton
    3. Obama (all those condescending looks/comments toward Edwards – not very becoming of nice, likable candidate Obama, I thought)

    On, and an absolute ZERO goes to the moderator... wait... WAS there even a moderator??

    January 21, 2008 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  14. min

    Shame on CNN for setting a bogus "debate criteria" 1% above Dennis Kucinich's latest poll results thereby excluding him from tonight's debate as well as the upcoming Los Angeles debate on January 31!!!

    January 21, 2008 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  15. Golden Knight

    Although Hillary didn't have her strongest debate performance I stil think she delivered a strong campaign message. Obama showed his inexperience yet again and without Hillary to push around would have a tough time communicating what he would do as president without mentioning "the people."

    Can someone tell me how we would be able to pass a universal health care plan? What office do I go to again? Sorry Barack, the people are dependent on the actions of the president and we need a president that has experience and the real desire for bringing change. That's Hillary!!!!

    Tonights Debate Meter

    -Edwards
    -Clinton
    -Obama

    January 21, 2008 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  16. Jimmy, Oklahoma Feb. 5th

    Again Obama can not answer the question's, and CNN does not help him in this manner, but any how I think Edwards came off real well, he stood for his beliefs. I fully understand Senator Clinton on her stance. She has been clear on issue's. Senator Obama on the other hand, was frazzled, Tongue tied on occasion, and avoided the question's at hand. He interrupted the other candidates more when they would say something he did not like. I seen real weakness in Senator Obama, tonight more then any other. Senator Clinton was firm on her issues, I will be very proud to give her my vote on February 5th and again in November.

    Senator Clinton for President 2008. "She's, THE REAL THING"

    January 21, 2008 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  17. Mimi - Florida

    I am tired of the Clinton attack from these past few weeks. Hillary and Bill, is this the best they can do to win votes? Obama has to defend and counter attack, so they can come back with more nonsense. Tonight John Edwards brought common sense and real issues to the table. I will vote for Obama or him, no
    Clinton vote for me.

    January 21, 2008 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  18. Ryan

    Here is the problem with Obama, who is he? He has been on the stage for a couple of years but he has been through no where near the vetting Hilary Clinton has been through. What is going to happen come the general election when the Republicans start doing opposition research on Obama. What is going to happen when they don't have to split their focus between Obama and Clinton.
    Obama for all his talk about change needs experience. I am not saying their doesn't have to be change but their has to be experience if you are actually going to accomplish something. What we need is Clinton / Obama 08 for 8 years. Then Obama is waiting in the wings, the presumptive nominee in 8 years. He will still be history making, he will still have his ideas of change, but he will have the experience and knowledge to deliver on those promises. The Republicans will have to go through another brutal leadership battle, mean while the Democrats will be ready with a strong nominee. The Democrats have a chance to hold onto the White House for the next 16 years if they play the cards right.
    Its time for Obama to start backing off, the party to unite behind Hilary and for the Democrats to have their nominee by Super Tuesday while the Republicans rip each other apart.

    January 21, 2008 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  19. Freddy

    I think Edwards did a wonderful job tonight! Edwards-1, Clinton-2, Obama-3

    January 21, 2008 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  20. JAZ

    I am so amused by posters who think that in November Democrats and Republicans are going to hold hands and sing hymns. Get real, grow up. Washington is as brutal as any battle ever waged in war. Republicans and Democrats are not going to all the sudden lay down their weapons for the good of the country, folks, this is an age-old battle.

    If you want to get actually realize your dreams, you have to carry that big stick and look like you're prepared to use it to get your agenda accomplished. Think LBJ, the last president to really change the direction of this nation. He was ruthless, a bully, profane and a liar when necessary to get his agenda realized. More legislation was passed in his five years in that office than ever in the history of this nation. But it took a man with flawed qualities to get you and yours: The Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts, Medicare and Medicaid, HUD and Head Start, PBS, the National Endowment for the Arts, and so on. It took a bully to get the job done.

    If want results, pick a fighter, if you want dreams of utopia, pick a pansy.

    January 21, 2008 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  21. Bill in Mission KS

    I am sooooo sick of the whole Hillery – Obama mudslinging feud.
    John Edwards is the only one who seems to want to REALLY talk about the issues, the tough issues instead of slinging mud at his rivals. This is why I'm switching my support to Edwards.

    January 21, 2008 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  22. Ed - Georgia

    I think that Edwards won the debate by default. Did he take Courting Black People 101 from Bill Clinton. Not all of us Americans of African Decent will fall for that same kind of End-Run......from Edwards or the Clintons.

    January 21, 2008 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  23. Tim

    I was disappointed when Hillary brought up Barrack's 5 hours of work for a law firm that did a project that involved a slum landlord. Is this really relevant? More important than talking about healthcare, the deficit, the war, and unification of the country? Hillary just lacks a sense of priority. Who cares about 5 hours of legal hard work. He was young and might have lost his job if he had stood up to his boss and refused to do the work. If Hillary really wants to discuss ethics, she should finally give a truthful explanation to her unethical land dealings in Arkansas.

    January 21, 2008 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  24. Gabe Strasser

    I worry that the attacks by Democrats on each other is leaving the Republicans chortling. Meanwhile, a lot of Democratic voters will feel disenchanted and not go to the polls. We need to make the debates less personal and more about the issues. One bad thing about the Clintons is their apparent belief that winning is everything. I understand the importance of competition, but we need more sportsmanship and less oneupsmanship.

    January 21, 2008 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  25. Matt

    Edwards looked like the agent of "bringing people together" tonight, not Obama.

    Without Obama's inspirational tone, he is a candidate lost.

    January 21, 2008 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
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