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. Hillary HATES CATS

    Hillary thinks America owes her, we know her nothing.

    Give it up Clintons, Obama is the man for the Democratic ticket.

    We need a stong candidate to take on Economy Romney in the end.

    January 22, 2008 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  2. Oscar

    Hiliary did what she does best, lie and attack. If the Democrats are dumb enough to nominate her, she will lose to the Republican candidate. She is not a unifyer, she will divide the country more than it is now. If, heaven forbid she wins the presidency, for sure the country will be divided. Come on USA, don't give us another Clinton lying presidency. Enough of the Clintons and Bushes, lets get someone new in the White House. 20 years is enough of the two of them!!!!!!!!

    January 22, 2008 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
  3. john L Cerrato, Rockville Centre, NY

    Obama keeps talking about his Community Organizing skills and experience as a requisite for being the Commander in Chief. Being President doesn;t require you to bring people together, You select your cabinet members and all the appointees to run your gov't, How you manage these people and make them accountable is your job.

    He already said he is not the CEO Type. Well he admitted that he is not suited to be President because it requires a CEO Type to manage the diverse nature of our Gov't.

    Has anyone noticed that Obama never does well in a debate. He likes to "pontificate" his views and let no one question ordiffer with him. He attacked Hillary several times only to find that Hillary could punch back. Obama should have become a minister of a church, that he is suited for.

    January 22, 2008 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
  4. Mary G Cordero

    I am a big Hillary fan, and do intend to vote for her, but that being said I believe that Edwards won this debate.

    I truly believe that Hillary is the best person for the job. I only wish she would of handled this thing with Obama better.

    January 22, 2008 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  5. Paula

    I agree with the other comments – the press has been too kind to Obama. It's time to be fair. Tonight he showed he could not take the heat and was very slippery in his answers. Not sure why the moderators did not dig more deeply into the allegations about his slum lord friend and fund raiser who was recently indicted on fraud charges. He has not returned all of the money his friend raised and would have dodged the question completely had Blizter not brought it up. I am part latino and asian – Obama seems false to me. He attends a church that is very divisive where only blacks are welcome. He will be as controversial as Clinton – though she has been attacked so much we know everything about her. We do not know everything about Obama – the present vote explanation was not good enough for me – I would like to know what the 128 other present votes represented – he slipped through that response too. We need the best candidate for president our country deserves it and one who will stand up to the hard choices.

    January 22, 2008 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  6. Pamela

    Billary Clinton, as I prefer to call her/him has showed nothing other than the "old" politics style. It's IS time for change!! Please America, don't let the status quo back in the Oval Office. Have you not seen the disgrace the Clinton name has brought to it in the past? It was all good and play nice till Obama started to get the positive message out and now the REAL Clinton morals and ethics are showing. I vote for Change/Obama!!

    January 22, 2008 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  7. Laurenn

    Mr. Obama's connection with Americans, integrity, vision and energy trump Mrs. Clinton's desperation, reliance on negative attacks, issue dodging and tears (real or manufactured). Mr. Obama will need to ensure that he does not get caught up in responding to the comments that are intended to derail him. Instead, he must step over them and back to the issues about which so many Americans are concerned. Mrs. Clinton should realize that most people can see through the tactics she is using – including having her husband make negative comments about Mr. Obama. Surely, the good cop/bad cop game of her campaign is well known and backfiring. The Clintons are losing considerable respect in various communities. I applaud Mr. Edwards for his drive to take care of the nearly forgotten among us.

    January 22, 2008 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  8. Matt Brooklyn

    Any woman planning to go up against the Republican establishment will have to show that she is strong and a fighter. I feel that Hillary only did what she had to do. Obama attacked first, and she fought back. John Kerry was heavily criticized in 2004 for not defending himself or fighting back against attacks.

    January 22, 2008 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  9. Ruth

    Has anyone heard of the Senate bill 1959? The homegrown terrorism and violent radicalization act? I am personally opposed to this bill which has now passed congress. I feel the wording in this bill is too vague and opens the door for our government to dictated what we think and speak. My interpretation of this bill allows the governemnt to target anyone who speaks out against our governement, disagrees with the current administration or publishes any thing that could be regarded as "violent", "radical" etc. This should be of grave concern to each and every person that values their right to personal freedom.

    I wrote to Senator Obama, who happens to be the senator of my state and asked that he vote against this bill. He replied that he supports this bill and feels that this is what we need to protect our people. Take anyone one that opposes the decisions our administration makes, put hand cuffs on them, detains them indefinately with no actual crime committed except self expression. Way to go Senator/dictator Obama.

    This is why I will not vote for Obama. Instead i am voting for Dr. Ron Paul who values each persons right to individual freedom. Liberty is what makes this country strong.

    I despise the medias biased exclusion of Ron Paul. CNN is just as guilty of simply leaving out Dr. Ron Paul. He is ahead of Giuliani, yet receives no media coverage.
    This is disgusting and shameful. You obviously take you viewers for fools. You think we are not going to notice that you are blantanly leaving out a candidate?

    January 22, 2008 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  10. TheTallesTree

    The links do not show the "people meters" but just the regular view. Booooooo!

    January 22, 2008 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  11. curiosityhasme

    Hillary was in command the entire debate. Edwards was in command the entire debate. Both spoke with absolute conviction. They both want the same health care plan, basically. Both are strong on advancing civil rights, ending poverty, and education. Obama, on the other hand, hem-hawed, stuttered and stammered, was sarcastic (his true self) and soft on issues, hedging on answers, and flip-flopping all over the place. He'll win South Carolina, but that's his last bastion. If Clinton and Edwards could form an alliance, they would make a strong team, and complement one another. They both need to go after Obama, and finish him off.

    January 22, 2008 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  12. andy

    Its sad to watch the Clinton political machinery in action... slingling mud and cherry picking facts to make everyone else look bad. And all this coming from Bill Clinton, didn't he lie to the Supreme Court about his affair?

    The Clintons are simply dragging Omaba into a street fight and make him look like a black candidate whereas no one is more American than Barak Hussein Obama.

    I came to this country 10 years ago, and my heart feels heavy that even in the most advanced country in the world we are still arguing about race and religion.

    Personally, Obama is a leader in the making. He is learning and will grow to be a dynamic leader that can lead America beyond corporate interests, petty politics and jingoism.

    January 22, 2008 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  13. James Brown ( Independent )

    There is no doubt after tonight that Obama is the right person for the job if you want people to work together for the common good of the American people.

    He can get things done.

    A vote for Clinton is exactly like voting for a third Bush term , she thinks like Bush.

    Edwards did do better tonight , but the best he can hope for is a VP slot.

    January 22, 2008 01:00 am at 1:00 am |
  14. Lisa

    As we all know, (and it is the main focus of the media) , that this is a historical time in US history, Black male, female candidate, however, I for one can not and will not just sit back and relish it. Unfortunately this time around, we can not afford to continue to focus on that because, right now we are in the fight of our lives. It will go down in history either way, but we really truly need to look beyond all of that and get very serious! How many times will I hear that someone will vote for BO or HC because of their chances of election!!! that's so over! I personally support John Edwards, not because he is white, not because he is a man, not because his dear wife has cancer, not because I want him to be a spoiler or a king maker. It is because I have been diligent in listening to the candidates intently, exploring the records, consistancies and very importantly, not just what they say but their ideas on how to do things. Please, what ever you do in this election, don't pass up this opportunity to make an informed decison, then vote with conviction, not popularity, not what the media guides you to do but what you have a right to do with pride.

    January 22, 2008 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  15. Amy

    I call this one for Obama. Hilary reminded us tonight why eight years of Clinton partisanship left us with Jr. Bush in the White House. They are old-fashioned party insiders for whom no tactic is too low if it gets them elected. Their cheap end-run around term limits makes me mad. It's time to turn the page. Obama showed that he can tussle with the best of them in a national campaign, and he has the charisma and moral authority to unite this country so we can move forward.

    January 22, 2008 01:13 am at 1:13 am |
  16. Geoff

    I was happy to support Clinton, Obama, or Edwards whomever won the nomination although all of them were a little too liberal for me. I am more of a new democrat/ centrist democrat that loved the John Glenns, Sam Nunns, Gary Harts, and Chuck Robbs of the party. I was disappointed when Evan Bayh decided not to run. But I leaned towards Hillary early on. I was turned off with Edwards early because of his caustic approach in early debates against Clinton and his poor vs. rich pitch. I don't think his view of economics is valid in the new world high tech economy. Now after watching the Clintons over the past couple weeks I am getting turned off on the Clintons. Now I am leaning towards Obama because I am sick partisan bickering in Washington whether it's the GOP or Dems. The Clintons' behavior just reminds me how much I despise what Washington is today under Bush. And no politics has not always been soo partisan. The Clintons' tactics have put me in a situation that if I don't think Obama is ready that I might consider voting republican. I am sick of the the torch earth strategy of the Clintons and all the controvesry that always seem to follow them. Its like hearing another news story about Paris Hilton or Britney Spears...just sickening and tiring. I want a president that will end the Bush/DeLay/Grinwich era of bitter partisanship. If the Democrats don't present such a choise I might not vote or vote Republican depending on their candidate choice.

    January 22, 2008 01:17 am at 1:17 am |
  17. Declan

    Do we really want either of these people as our next President? Clinton and Obama acted like spoiled children in a playground this evening. Their personal attacks showed they are only interested in themselves - not in the problems facing the American people. They both clearly arrived with prepared attack soundbites - not really wanting to discuss the issues.

    What a great night for John Edwards to stay above the fray - and act presidential in his responses.

    But overall, what a sad night for the Democrats.........(Too bad Bill Richardson, Chris Dodd, and Joe Biden had dropped out - they could have all added some class to this mess).

    January 22, 2008 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  18. JohnS

    Susan, you really think the Republicans or any Independent, for that matter, is going to spread the RED CARPET for Hillary's policy to flow? Any president, elected by the people and for the people will NOT givern, if she/he is very divisive; unfortunately, Hillary foots this bill well. She should leave the scene gracefully!!!

    Bill is much stronger and smater than Hillary. If you are old enough to rememeber, by the time the Republicans were done with Bill, the democrats have not been in office since!!! Think again, what you wish for, you just might live to regret it, as some of us have lived with Bill's sins all these years!!!!!

    January 22, 2008 01:21 am at 1:21 am |
  19. Floyd

    I am a 47 yr. old black male. Until I watched the debates tonite I was undecided. The mis-representations of Obama's votes and positions by Bill and Hillary Clinton amounts to nothing more than a hatchet job. John Edwards talks a good game, but it is hard for me to vote for someone that pays $400.00 for a haircut! Bill and Hillary are furious, they had not anticipated a strong enough candidate to challenge her shoo-in as the democratic nominee. I am voting for Obama!

    January 22, 2008 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  20. David from Texas

    Edwards really impressed me tonight. I wish the media would give him more attention. I felt Obama and Clinton were very disrespectful to each other and tried to talk over the other. When Clinton was talking Barack was constantly waving his hand at wolf, and if Obama was talking Clinton was waving her hand at him. I thought to myself, if one of them was to be elected president, how would they react if a foreign leader put them on the spot. I don't think Obama nor Clinton looked very presidential this evening. My mother taught me when I was very young to respect the other person when they are speaking. I learned this as a child and it became apparent to me this evening that neither of these adults showed much respect when the other was talking. I was leaning toward Clinton, but will reconsider and have another look at Edwards. He looked the most presidential and the least combative.

    January 22, 2008 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  21. Sherry

    I thought tonight was a good thing. The candidates need the practice of debating personal issues. I'd rather see them do this in-person, in a debate, rather than to deal with constant back & forth through the media. If people think it was rough tonight – they are wrong – this was nothing. Whoever is the democratic candidate will experience these same arguments at a much deeper level and more frequently when the republicans are the ones making the accusations during election time. So it's good for the voters to see how they handle such situations in-person.

    I am an African American woman who supports Hillary because I value years of experience, plus someone with a detailed plan and someone with a long term demonstration of commitment to issues that matter to me.
    However even though I have voted as a democrat for years, if Hillary Clinton is not the democratic candidate, then I would not automatically choose Obama. Instead I would give serious consideration of the Independent and Republican candidates in search of an experienced candidate.

    I do not see Clinton & Obama as the same despite how similar the media may state they are. I think the media is too often making the assumption that African Americans will accept either candidate. I hope the Democratic Party is aware that it cannot assume that African Americans who support Hillary Clinton would automatically transfer their vote to Obama.

    January 22, 2008 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  22. Susan

    Hillary Clinton was a big disapppointment. She doesn't get it. She is divisive and is not capable of bringing this country together. She lacks the basic skills necessary to be an effective president. She does not know how to build a team. There are more than one parties in this country and you have to build bridges otherwise you have gridlock. She has been in the combat mode so long she has forgotten you don't have to fight every moment. After watching the debate I am convince mored than ever that she is absolutely the wrong choice for the country. We need someone who can bring us together as one nation..not petty politics. It's the same old mantra with her...fight the republicans..fight this and fight that...that has gotten us no where. Of course Hillary wants Edwards to stay in the campaign. She knows a lot of his support would go to Obama. She is so phoney it was starting to make me sick.

    I am also disgusted with her husband. He is a sexual predator and unless he has gotten therapy that hasn't changed. If he's back in the White House he will again be hitting on the help. Plus after watching his actions this past month I believe he wants a third term.

    Obama made some excellent points about the war and the distortion of his record. He was smart, articulate and demonstrated the ability to build a consensus. The Clinton campaign has done nothing but try and misrepresent his record, his religion and his family. That is disgraceful. I was impressed with Obama and I feel he has some skills necessary to be an effective president.

    John Edwards did very well. I was very impressed with his style and thoughtful answers. I really think if we had an Obama/Edwards ticket we could win this in November. I don't think Edwards has enough support to get the nomination..but he would be great with Obama..

    Hillary needs to learn a few lessons from both Obama and Edwards about what it will take to run the country...now is not the time to slash and burn..now is the time to work together. I am still undecided..but I know who I will definately NOT vote for..Hillary.

    January 22, 2008 01:23 am at 1:23 am |
  23. Eric

    I felt that the debate tonight was quite interesting. I am a Hillary Clinton supporter, but I actually felt that John Edwards performed the best in tonight's debate. I was a bit distracted by the arguing between Clinton and Obama, and I was also a little bit concerned about the fact that Obama seemed to dodge almost every question he was asked. From healthcare to the war in Iraq, when he was asked a question he immediately shot back to his whole stump speech that he can unify the country, and while I feel that is great to have hope and energy, I would like to also get a straight answer. When Edwards asked him about committing to a timetable for getting out of Iraq, he went right back into his bringing the country together speech, and I was a bit thrown off by it. I also felt that it was nice to see Hillary and Obama going after each other, instead of Bill Clinton, only because I would rather see them argue about issues than her husband. I like Bill Clinton a lot, and I think he was a great president, but this is Hillary's race, not Bill's. I did feel, however, that most of the time, Clinton and Edwards were ganging up on Obama, which I suppose can happen in a debate, but I felt that the topic kept leaving the issues too fast for my taste. As a college student, I wanted to hear about how I'm going to be able to afford to finish my degree, and issues that are much more important to myself. I realize that Obama has huge support in the younger generations because he promises hope and is an admittedly great speaker, but I have never been completely satisfied with his stance on education reform or anything of the sort, which I feel is one of the biggest issues facing college students in the coming years. I also feel that he is the one that keeps saying he is going to not be involved in the bickering, but he somehow ends up in the middle of all of it. He keeps saying he's going to unify all of us, but yet he participates in the mudslinging just as much as Clinton does. I hope Clinton performs well in South Carolina. If she does not, however, I would personally not lose hope, because there are still more than 40 states left that need to vote, and I feel that we place too much importance in the first few states. My state doesn't get to vote until April, and it seems to me that I would be quite excited if we could still be having these sorts of conversations 3 months from now.

    January 22, 2008 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
  24. JohnS

    Dear nieve listerners/readers; Edwards did well BECAUSE that was the Clinton game plan for this debate– very simple:
    Attack Obama, so that he LOOKS MORE and MORE LIKE ME (thinks Hillary); the nation will come to hate him as they hate me (Hillary knows well); and I will later point to the whole WORLD that Obama is not a UNITER, as he has been preaching (thinks Hillary). Yes, another factual attack. Why is it that a man is NEVER allowed to defend himself, after all false rumors are out there about him?

    The very fact that most (nieve) people are now saying that Edwards won the debate goes to show HOW HILLARY knows how to manipulate people, like you..

    It took my wife to confirm this observation to me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 22, 2008 01:30 am at 1:30 am |
  25. ...

    John Edwards is the clear winner.

    Very Patient and Good Demeanor.

    Everyone, please vote for a candidate who has some real issues and can actually defeat the republicans in the General.

    We should not vote for a candidate because they are the first woman, or the first black candidate. What does this mean? What will the candidate do to lead America in the right direction.

    The only candidate I think consistently gives me some real information about what he will do is JOHN EDWARDS. I am tired of hearing what you did in the Senate. We know that all three of you have experience.

    NOW....What is your plan to help heal the US, and to help heal our relations with the World. It is not about having our troops over in IRAQ forever.


    January 22, 2008 01:30 am at 1:30 am |
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