January 26th, 2008
07:57 PM ET
11 years ago

Exit polls: Bill Clinton's effect

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/01/26/art.billclintoneff.gi.jpg caption=" Bill Clinton has campaigned heavily for his wife."]

(CNN) - Bill Clinton's aggressive campaigning in South Carolina in the days leading up to the state's primary may have had a net negative effect among South Carolina’s Democratic primary voters, CNN exit polls indicate.

Roughly 6 in 10 South Carolina Democratic primary voters said Bill Clinton's campaigning was important in how they ultimately decided to vote, and of those voters, 48 percent went for Barack Obama while only 37 percent went for Hillary Clinton. Fourteen percent of those voters voted for John Edwards

Meanwhile, the exit polls also indicate Obama easily beat Clinton among those voters who decided in the last three days - when news reports heavily covered the former president's heightened criticisms of Obama. Twenty percent of South Carolina Democrats made their decision in the last three days and 51 percent of them chose Obama, while only 21 percent picked Clinton.

Bill Clinton's presence on the trail was "very important" to roughly a quarter of those surveyed. Among those voters, Hillary Clinton edged out Barack Obama, 46 to 42 percent.

On Monday, Obama said he felt as if he is running against both Clintons, a charge the New York senator’s campaign said was borne out of frustration. The former president himself later dismissed Obama's comments, saying “I thought he was running against me.”

Campaigning in South Carolina Friday, Obama noted that the Clinton campaign had stepped up its attacks since his Iowa win, and joked that it's good practice for him, so "when I take on those Republicans, I'll be accustomed to it."

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

Filed under: Exit Polls
soundoff (529 Responses)
  1. Ben

    I questioned this. Is Bill Clinton running for president or Hillary Clinton is,anybody?

    January 26, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  2. Jacob, Savannah, GA

    oh it worked far better than people will give him credit for tonight,, Obama is now the "black candidate" which is exactly what the outcome was supposed to be!!

    January 26, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  3. George from Minneapolis

    as an african american male for bill to imply that the main reason blacks will vote for obama is because he is black is an insult. tjhe clinton campaign know exactly what they are doing, basically saying to whites "blacks are for obama so you whites should be with us."

    i will laugh daily till my stomach hurts if hillary wins the democratic nomination then loses to a republican in the general election. i for one will vote for a republican if obama is not in the general election.

    america will deserve another term of a republican president if it allows hillary to win the nomination after which the democratic party will come crawling back to obama to save it.

    why go through all of that when you can elect the best candidate NOW..

    Barack Obama

    January 26, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  4. Robert M. Reidy N.Y.

    Don't you just love that picture – He looks like the poster boy for con-men !

    January 26, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  5. sean c

    Seems like you guys at CNN have your work cut out for you , NOW.


    January 26, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  6. independent thinker

    Oh Yea! I hope that Billy's campaigning hurt the Clinton campaign. What was he doing anyway? Why does Hillary need a man to back her up so much? Is it because she is afraid that she cannot win becasue she is a woman?

    Who knows. These Clintons are so unpredictable. It looks like the South Carolina voters see the superficiality in Bill and Hillary.

    STOP HILLARY!!!!!!!!!!

    January 26, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  7. Sam, Chicago, IL

    Face it Bill nobody wants you around!

    And by the way you weren't as great of a President as you think you were!

    January 26, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  8. Laurence

    Bill and Hillary were not concerned about being 'hurt' in SC. They want to make sure the race issue is front and center in the later states; the hidden 'race card' that will move poor white voters to vote for the Clinton's. A very cynical move by them, but they have never had a problem doing whatever it takes to win.

    January 26, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  9. Ralph Houser

    no more Clintons, no more Bushes.
    Time for change, and something knew besides Bushes and Clintons.

    January 26, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  10. Andy, New York, New York

    This is the guy who many Blacks deemed the first Black President, until the time came for him to show what that title really meant: Only he must be called that! Obama must never be known as the second Black President!

    Who would have thought a former US President would ever play the race card in a national elections? And this guy wants to return to the White House?

    Vote John McCain!

    January 26, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  11. Mamie

    Keep it up Bubba. Oh and keep up the race stuff as well! Why don't you just go home, or better still go overseas.

    January 26, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  12. FlyOverMan

    Well, imagine that.....

    No Third Term for you Mr. Bill Clinton

    January 26, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  13. Uthea Romero

    Hillary Clinton should be the winner if the party plans to win!!!!

    January 26, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  14. Josh

    What's the margin of error for the exit poll results, though? This really isn't that much of an effect, based on the data reported here. Seems like journalism trying to "fit" data into a pre-determined story...

    January 26, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  15. joe

    Obama' fairy tale that he is above negative attacks is over after SC. As we move into nationwide election, he has to face the fact that he made a boneheaded deal with the his friends of 15 years who is under an indictment. He has to answer how his health care plan is gonna cover all americans without any mandate. He has answer how he implement his wishy-washy vision with the GOP mean machine if he got elected president since the GOP Kerry eating machine already sent a talking point memo how to attack and eat Clinton/Obama for lunch in their fund raising letter.

    January 26, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  16. Barbara Burns

    Whine and cry so this is the new hope of the Dems. If the fire is already HOTTTT and he's not man enought to understand this is a race for the top job of the United States , what must the world leaders be thinking ? This is the the best we have to put forward. This is also the first Woman america has presented to the world. there are other world leaders with both black s and women.So America make up your minds , think really hard Do we want to put a Black man who whine to get his way, or a very educated ,strong woman?

    January 26, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  17. Tony

    I think it was expected that Bill's strategy would only work to a certain extent. The Clintons introduce the race/gender controversy after they lost in Iowa but the effect was seen to fade out in Nevada. And although they "won" Obama still got more delegates. So it was expected that distorting the truth and stirring the pot should back-fire at some point and here we go. Still, the Clintons benefitted a lot from it. After Iowa they faced the real possibility to go to super Tuesday with no victory. On the other side, the benefit to Obama from all this is that it gives him experience when he faces the Republicans and proves he can handle very well all kinds of attacks. Go OBAMA, you represent a bright future.

    January 26, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  18. james robb

    Well, old Bill can always get a job doing commentary for CNN...

    January 26, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  19. e frederick

    John Edwards made me feel like a LOSER because I am not rich. I may be poor but I don't need some rich lawyer telling it is my bosses fault. How many people has he saved who are living under a bridge.

    Just one name.

    January 26, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  20. kalliope

    Thank you President Clinton for reminding us what politics looked like in the PAST. Thank you for reminding us how polarizing the Clinton name can be. THANK YOU for reminding us that NO ONE can do what you do, UNITE the REPUBLICANS. You are the best at what you do President Clinton.

    Thank you for reminding Americans what a primary vote for your wife would really mean. A return to obsolete politics and tactics. Most of all, thank you South Carolina for breaking the rhythm of the past 16 years. The country will take your lead!!!!

    OBAMA '08 Stand for Change

    January 26, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  21. Democrat in MO

    I had eeeeeenough of the Clintons, the Billaries, the HillBillies, Queen Hillary! This is not a monarchy ... despite King George II !

    OBAMA is the force of change, the new AMERICA and ONE UNITED COUNTRY !!!


    January 26, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  22. Clarence Styles

    Clintons will pit black against white, latino against asian, wife against husband, democrat against republican and when they win, the rest of us will lose. We all need to come together to solve our problems and Obama will lead the way.

    January 26, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  23. tess

    Is anyone going to bring up the fact that so many of our good citizens "..died.."
    if they were connected in any way to the Clinton Husband and Wife Group?

    Will anyone mention that so many of Bill Clinton's guards died deaths that were
    called suicide even if they were shot in the back of the head?

    Will anyone remember that a man named Park had told his family, especially
    his son, that he was probably going to be killed....and sure enough he was
    shot in the back of the head while sitting in his car....

    I get the feeling that no journalist will ever go near this long list of deaths because
    anyone that speaks out against the Clintons – sees an early death.

    January 26, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  24. shaun

    I still like you bill...You did alot of good for the american people in the 90"s and I'll never forget that, but you are not running now. You need to hold the dignity of being an ex president and let your wife compete...

    January 26, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  25. jt thomas, Beverly Hills, CA

    the end of the bush/clinton/bush/...clinton dynasty ended in south carolina today... Thank you So. Carolina.... We need real change, and why not, Obama??? We need a unifer, not a divider like Bill and Hillary Clinton...

    January 26, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
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