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. votehillary2008

    This debate was a disgrace. Edwards was the sane one in the political circus. I wish Hillary had stayed above the fray. There was no need to stoop to Obama's level.

    Obama was very inappropriate the way he went off topic and brought in the "he said/she said" garbage that he says he wants to avoid. He uses race to incite people because he has no substance. He does not talk about the issues. He's full of dreams, visions and a respect for dead men, i.e., King, Kennedy and Reagan, but no real talk about what HE is going to do and how he is going to pay for it. This is one African-American who is not fooled.

    January 21, 2008 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  2. Cindy in NW Missouri

    Edwards was clearly the winner tonight and I really think that the other two candidates need to concentrate less on bashing each other and more on the issues. This is too important a race for all this mudslinging. When are we going to hear more about issues and plans and less about race and gender? We have important issues such as the war, the economy and healthcare-why are we watching a boxing match between two contenders while what we really need to know is where they stand on important issues?

    January 22, 2008 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  3. Victoria

    I am a Hillary supporter but I do agree John Edwards did a really good job tonight. He called Obama out on his NO vote to cap credit cards because Obama did not like the rate and John said well if you voted NO than there is no cap..Hello meaning the rate could be higher. Hillary showed that Obama voted PRESENT on many important issuesand John drove home the point that you vote present because you don't want to make hard choices that may come back to haunt you. But as President there is no voting Present.... As for the heated exchange Obama is the one who attack Hillary first by saying she was no the board at Walmart. She defended herself. Obama sugar coated his friendship with Reko.. He did not just do five hours of work for him. He also made 650,000 on a real estate deal to buy his house which was shady.... Clinton/Edwards

    January 22, 2008 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  4. JohnS

    What really surprises me the most is the lack of Hispanic support for a black man such as Obama. One would expect that after years of slavery and the hard work of black people in this nation to fight for the rights of "minorities," Hispanics as stangers also to such a fight, would join company with African Americans to advance the status of minorities.

    I guess politics can bring together some strange fellows!!!! It could be that the Clintons have done more for Hispanics than what most of us have observed. Go Bless America.

    January 22, 2008 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  5. Susan Seattle WA

    3 of us Seattle voters gathered 'round the tube and watched the debate tonight. We all agreed on this: Thank goodness the Dems have some decent candidates this time around, and more than one! We all decided we'd be satisfied to see any one of them as president, as they're all incredibly capable and qualified, and their policies are realistic and achievable. My personal bias is that Hillary is truly ready to be President, right out of the gate on Day One/Moment One. That daunting and immense responsibility is right up her alley. She's amazing. She is the whole package we've been waiting for all these years.

    January 22, 2008 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  6. G. Parham

    The debate, while amusing at best , left me with little information that has not been shared before. The clashes between Clinton and Obama were appropriately characterized by Edwards and unfortunate at best. If that gives him brownie points, then it is of little consequence. I will also add, that folks sharing a passion for Clinton because of their love for Bill need to realize that Hilary is not Bill and to assume/hope, that things will be the way they were during his administration is a huge mis-conception.

    January 22, 2008 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  7. Bob

    John Edwards rose above the petty and showed he is the real presedential candidate that the American people need. I was there to see first hand and my observation was Edwards was on top of his game, Hillary was a close second, and Senator Obama just couldn't quite get his points across. Thats how it looked from the sidelines tonight.

    January 22, 2008 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  8. Nancy in Nashville

    I'm so sick of the snarkiness and bickering. Haven't we all had our fill? Tonight John Edwards stood head and shoulders above the rest – probably because he wasn't considered a contender by the other two. Edwards had well thought out and intelligent plans, he seems sincerely passionate about his duty to the underdog, and he's a self-made man. I respect him. Gee, if the media has their way he'll disappear – but I'd sure like to hear more from him. I thought I'd be choosing between Clinton and Obama, now I'm not so sure.

    January 22, 2008 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  9. Candi

    My scoring of the debates

    1 Edwards
    2 Obama
    3 Clintion

    don't like the attack Hillary made.
    don't like the Obama when along with it.

    January 22, 2008 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  10. Marcia

    It is too bad that Obama feels so threatened, after losing the Nevada caucuses, that he has to throw the first personal jab at Clinton (referring to lawyer for WalMart comment). It amazes me, after reading some of these postings, that when Clinton defends herself, people refer to it as combat politics.


    Obama obviously had a chip on his shoulder and came out swinging in a very personal, dirty way.
    I respected him up until tonight.
    He is unable to show on his website how he will pay for his plans. It is fair game that this is brought up, we voters need to see these differences between them. He talks a big show but truly has nothing well laid out showing how things will be done or how it will be paid for. Look for yourself, educate yourself. He has based over 100 of his votes in Illinois legislation as "Present". Basically he did not want to take an issue either way for fear of political ramifications. I KNOW I DO NOT WANT A PRESIDENT THAT IS AFRAID TO STAND FOR AN ISSUE AND JUST WANTS TO SIT ON A FENCE! OBAMA IS DISAPPOINTING. I really was hoping that he had more courage than that. I am sadly mistaken.

    I sense that people are afraid of an assertive, smart, strong woman. Even other women are afraid of an assertive, smart, strong woman. That is VERY DISAPPOINTING to me.
    Hillary proved tonight that she is the better prepared candidate for the USA. If you compare Hillary and Obama and their records, Hillary comes out on top. Hillary has substance, Obama is just talk.
    I had been leaning toward Obama but NOT after tonight.
    I really believe Hillary is best for America, especially after tonight.
    Obama does not want to take a stand on issues. Obama just wants to sit on the political fence.

    January 22, 2008 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  11. Gerry

    I think Hillary helped Obama a great deal tonight. I'm sure a number of old time democrats wondered whether Obama could weather the storm sure to come from the GOP if he won the nomination. They got their answer tonight.

    Hillary threw the kitchen sink at him, and he not only handled the mud, he did it with excellent responses and turned the tables on her. Her attack on his voting record concerning sexual abuse was classic. Hillary threw mud she thought would cause him great difficulty to answer and she fell through the floor when he answered.

    Obama proved too major things tonight-first-there's not a lot of mud to be thrown at this guy ( believe me the Clinton's looked), and second be careful when you attack him, cause he'll answer honestly and stick it right back up your nose and make points in the process, while taking the high ground each and every time.

    Although, I dislike this kind of bickering, I think it needed to happen to allow Obama the opportunity to respond to a number of lies perpetrated by the Clinton's who seek the power and nothing else.

    God help the world if the CLinton's become president. Hillary will seriously lessen the chance of another female becoming president in our lifetime.

    Obama brings credibility, honesty and freshness back to the nasty game of politics. He's the right man at the right time to seriously make a difference.

    January 22, 2008 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  12. Electress

    Press on Hill. She was a huge success, and continues to hold her stance.
    She knows what the responsiblities of the office will be, she has done a great
    job of expressing her leadership skills.

    Obama couldn't quite move on. And Edwards was much better than Obama,
    but when he mentioned it was those pictures of Katrina, I couldn't help but
    think, wrong, it was those People, not pictures!

    January 22, 2008 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  13. Judy

    John Edwards was excellent tonight. The problem was that he wasn't givent he same opportunity to speek as Clinton and Obama. It seems that CNN let Clinton take over the debate.. She was the offense and Obama the defence.

    I really don't think that either candidates were given the opportunity to fully explain their issues on Economy, Health Care, Immigration, Homeland Security.

    I don't understand why Hillary Clinton keeps making statements that she has had 20- 30 years experience. Tonight she stated that she had been in the White House for 30 years. I don't thinks so. As well as I can remember she didn't become a Senator until Bill Clinton became Ex-President. How does that account for 20-30 years experience. Is she taking credit for the years that her HUSBAND was Governor and President?

    The American people really want to hear about the issues the People are concerned about and what they plan to do about them. They don't want to hear name calling or the like.

    I don't see what Hillary Clinton has done for the average Middle Class person in this country. If she has had so much experience than why are we still debating over Health Care in this country? This was one of her main interest. Why didn't she have enough bipartican clout to have had the issue of Health Insurance not be a topic of debate this year.

    I think John Edwards would be a wonderful President . He truely cares about the working class people.

    In the future I would hope that all candidates would have the same allotted time to debate.

    January 22, 2008 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  14. jan

    edwards really had a good showing.he acted like a gentleman,politician,mediator,and baby sitter to the other 2 infantile candidates.obama never gives a clear cut answer he stutters,fumbles for words,and never truly gives evidence of a plan at any level, hilary is tempermental but answers with certainty. check out usa today online and play candidate match game,i bet if people were truly interested in issues crucial to the future of the united states-perhaps none of these candidates are strong and mature enough to run this country.

    January 22, 2008 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  15. baseman

    Once again Obama refuses to pledge allegience to the flag of the United States of America. There are pictures of this with others on stage and he has his back to the flag ,both hands by his side as the others pledge allegience. Think about this............Is this really who you want to lead the greatest nation in the world. Not me. I fought for that flag and Obama denies it. He wont ever get my vote.

    John Edwards is the working mans president. Make it official and elect the man who works for the working man.

    January 22, 2008 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  16. Ann

    My ranking for the debate:

    Its impossible for me to understand what is inspirational about this Obama guy.. zero at debates, and just declamatory at rehearsed speeches. And he lost his temper tonight. Clinton is so much in control, its incredible for a woman

    January 22, 2008 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  17. hallgay

    I would have liked to have heard more about Sen. Clinton's experience as a Board member of Walmart! It seems as though the Clintons usually get a "pass" from the media and other candidates while they attack others. I am tired of hearing the Clintons' attackss and would like Senator Clinton to be placed on the defense for once...I Have heard very little of what Hillary did in her supposed "35" years of experience in serving the public. It seems to me that ALL she has done was be the wife of a governor or President. As for becoming a Senator from NY, I have yet to hear anything substanitive she has done in her short time as a Senator. Her biggest claim to fame while first lady was the universal health care debacle.

    January 22, 2008 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  18. An empty & counterproductive win?

    Due to the likely support of Latinos and women on February 5, Hillary Clinton will likely win the Democratic nomination.

    If she's able to win in the fall though (a significant question mark), it'll be a very close vote and she will also likely be a drag on Senators and Members of Congress. As a result, we'll get more of the same nasty gridlock we've had. So, we'll have a woman President but we'll have to suffer through 4 more years of no results government.

    By the way, think Universal Healthcare will get through a Congress categorically opposed to a Clinton and one that's just lost Democratic seats? If you answered "yes," think again.

    January 22, 2008 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  19. Lily

    I agree with the comment posted by Margaret that "John Edwards was excellent ..." and also wish the media would acknowledge him more. It seems that the media more that acknowledging him want to ignore him. He's definetely a fighter and he's fight a just cause. I hope people realized that tonight and vote for him and forget about Hillary and Obama. I hope the public realizes that Hillary and Obama are trying to act as if the fight is only between them, it is just a show trying to get the attention away from the most authentic, committed and genuine candidate, JOHN EDWARDS. I think their plan actually backfired, at least among most of the people that watched the debate. While they argued and fighted back and forth, Edwards kept talking about issues.
    I agree with Gil – California, Edwards won the debate, AND MY VOTE.

    January 22, 2008 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  20. Tim, Mn

    All of these candidates are misleading voters. People who are considering voting for the Democrats are under the false impression that they will get our troops out of Iraq. The truth is ,they won't. The only candidate that will bring our troops home immediately is Congressman Ron Paul.

    January 22, 2008 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  21. Jen

    Until tonight I was a huge supporter of Hillary but Obama handle most of the questions with grace and dignity, and I have now switched sides. I was quite impressed.

    John Edwards did much better than I expected, I have a new found respect for him although his plans to withdraw all combat troops within the first year seems naive. One thing is certain if any of these candidates becomes president, our country would be in a much better state.

    January 22, 2008 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  22. lloyd kandasammy

    hillary and obama should team up they are different but they have the country;s concern at heart,,,on the debate obama was all glossy but hillary is about facts she held her ground well...VOTE HILLARY 2008

    January 22, 2008 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  23. Robert Burt

    The important issue of NAFTA needs to be addressed and explan how jobs
    will cease to be exported and keep America competative in the global market.
    Have we forgotten that substainable income provides important economic stability?

    January 22, 2008 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  24. Jamie Tankersley

    As I watched the debate tonight I was very proud that Obama stood up against the continuing slander of his name by the the elite higharchy of our goverment and I was equally uplifted by the words and commitment of John Edwards. In my opinion both Obama and Edwards are prime candidates for the highest office in the land. I do not feel that Mrs. Clinton represents change in this country for her ideas and opinions are always of a past time and they never seem to motivate or encourage equality.

    January 22, 2008 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  25. Leo - Texas

    America.... You Know what an Republican Administration, will do They think nothing is wrong..... They want more of the same. Give the Democrats a
    chance. John McCain wants us over in Iraq for 100 Years. Put a Permanent
    Base in Iraq.... People if we invested 1 Trillion or 2 in our own Country. Instead
    of Giving it to an Counrty like Iraq..... Foriegn People. Not good people
    like we have in our own Country like from Rural America.... AND
    all of our Major Cities....We would have a happier an much more prosperious
    Nation... Health care coverage for our Mothers, Fathers, Brothers, Sisters,
    Grandmothers, Grandfathers, Cousins, That's what we need instead of
    giving to some Person in Iraq that you and i Don't even know. I don't know how the rest of the Country Feels. But my Family .... And my other Family.... my Fellow American Family... Born an Raised in the U.S.A. Needs overdo Help.......
    We as A Very Needy Nation need Help.. Demacracts Please Help us........

    January 22, 2008 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
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