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. Ann

    Bill Clinton did the right thing. He helped earlier than later reveal that the race card is a reality. And SC people didn't vote based on objective decisions. I still hope there are enough people out there to realize the mess in which is the country and understand that more than ever, United States need a pragmatic president. Also, hopefully, the white people will realize that they are not treated as 'brothers' so how will that 'unity' work? If they were, the black vote, even if majority was given to Obama, would be more balanced. If not Hillary, why wasn't the black vote shared with Edwards? I think the white voters tried to be more objective.

    Hillary'08! Not all states have same demographics and not all states have same issues. Wait for the West ... not Hollywood celebrities, those are other spoiled people who need extra excitement in their lives..like Caroline Kennedy.

    January 26, 2008 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  2. Barbara

    Is it possible that Bill doesn't want Hillary to win? Could he be afraid that she might be a better President than he was? Is his mouth merely reflecting his subconscious? Surely the man is aware of the negative impact he is having on his wife's campaign, and yet he continues his diatribes. And this from a Rhodes scholar? Hmmmmmm.

    January 26, 2008 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  3. The truth will set you free!

    Thank you Democrats for finally seeing the light.....that the Clintons are thoroughly dishonest and power hungry. Oh, loved the tears Hillary......some gullible people bought that too! Wise up the rest of you...they'll do and say anything to get the power back and that would be dangerous, disastrous and shameful for our country. And Bill, how dare you say "shame on you" to anyone.....you don't know the meaning of the word.

    January 26, 2008 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  4. Richard, Mckinney, Texas

    The klinton's are running as if this is a 3rd world country....

    January 26, 2008 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  5. Jack

    I was undecided between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama until I saw some debates between the two Democratic hopefuls. This race is not about personal politics but, in the end, is about who can lead our country out of a recession and into the position every patriotic American wants to see it in. If you pay attention to the debates between Senators Clinton and Obama, it becomes strikingly clear who can lead with substance and clarity, bravado and wit. Hillary Clinton can. In response to questions, Obama stumbles, looking for grand words of change. When asked specifically about his plan to bring the nation out of its economic crisis, boost jobs, and save our health and education systems, he would divert the question into more general statements of inspiring grandeur. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, was strikingly lucid in her plans to combat these issues, clearly outlining her strategy to *solve* the problem, rather than blustering her way with empty, albeit inspiring, words.

    January 26, 2008 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  6. Cant Standit

    Enough attack on Hillary and Bill. Enough pointing fingers on each other. Enough attack on each other, democrats. If you people keep it up, Republicans are going to laugh their way back to the White House again and this country will continue to deteriorate for another four years.

    January 26, 2008 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  7. Frankie

    this tells you that regardless of race or colour, we are one people with the same concerns and ideologies. the Clitons lie, and will lie to get what they want and will prefer to divide us. the old days of black versus white and vice versa are gone and we have to move forward and love one and understand each other, and the only person capable of this is OBAMA.

    January 26, 2008 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  8. June (California Voter)

    Bill Clinton has had a negative affect on his wifes campaign as I here other voters.

    January 26, 2008 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  9. June (California Voter)

    I voted for Bill Clinton twice but he ought to remember he is not the one running.

    January 26, 2008 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  10. Graduate Student

    I am a very strong Clinton supporter, but Obama won fair and square in SC. The African-Americans actually showed that the pride of voting for another African-American got in the way of the issues. When we go into Super Tuesday, it will be a far different story. The votes will more than likely be evenly split between each candidate with Clinton coming out on top in the majority of the states. If Obama wins the nomination, he will be destroyed by the republican party and we will have another republican as the president of the United States. The results of Super Tuesday are going to be very interesting. This is more exciting than the presidential election itself. Congratulations to Obama for this round. Hillary will definitely get the democratic nomination though. Just keeping it real.

    January 26, 2008 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  11. Roz

    Be gentle with Bill...he is just getting Hillary back for all those things she said to him when he shook his finger and said "I did not have......with that woman" 🙂

    January 26, 2008 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  12. Ray

    Had nothing to do with Bill..This was all about race and showed that black people are just as racist.

    January 26, 2008 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  13. maryblu

    Thank you South Carolina!

    Barak Obama will be a president to be proud of!

    January 26, 2008 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  14. Jr., California

    I have personally asked Bill to chill out.

    January 27, 2008 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  15. lakerman

    I have read letters – supposedly random – to several newspapers, all saying the same thing. Obama is no JFK. Now Caroline Kennedy endorses Obama, and essentially says that yes Obama is like JFK. An interesting development, which could affect some votes in Florida on Tuesday.

    The Clintons have done their best to run a racially-based campaign, cornering Obama as the black candidate. It remains to be seen if it will be effective, but I hope they fail. I am really tired of this repulsive dysfunctional couple, Bill and Hillary, as well as their daughter, who is working for a hedge fund! And Hillary just criticized Edwards for working at a hedge fund. Is there nothing they will not do to win? Sickening.

    January 27, 2008 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  16. Mike M.

    So...among those who thought Bill's politicking was important, more voted for Hillary or Edwards than for Obama, Message seems clear... Bill makes people look past Oprahbama.

    January 27, 2008 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  17. eddie

    I think that Hillary will be very happy about today's results.

    January 27, 2008 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  18. John Adkisson

    It appears that the first "black president" has become the second black celebrity to lose his beautiful color - the first being Michael Jackson. Is Bill's rosy, ever-growing nose the next thing to disappear after plastic surgery? After further study, and a few remarks about Jesse Jackson and fairy tales, I think it is now safe to say that Bill Clinton is no brother.

    January 27, 2008 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  19. Harry Gooper

    Thank you SC, lets keep the Hill/Billy out of the White House.

    January 27, 2008 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  20. Spencer

    The Clinton's showed how greedy they are for power with their good cop, bad cop strategy against Obama. I am glad it backfired. Please, Gore, enter the race and send these two lightweight candidates home.

    January 27, 2008 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  21. Will Gainesville, FL


    January 27, 2008 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  22. do the math

    with 80% of the African-American vote, which was over 50% of the total vote, that means he had 40% or more even if not one single Caucasian person voted for him. with the other 60% split in some way for the other two, he couldn't lose unless he ran down the street naked or something. but the national vote isn't 50% African-American, more like 12%. so he doesn't start with a 40% lead, just under a 10 percent lead (80% of 12%). he needs the rest from Caucasians, Hispanics, etc. It's a long way from 10% to a majority and getting less than a quarter of the non-African-American votes (1/4 of 88% = 22%) won't do it.

    January 27, 2008 01:11 am at 1:11 am |
  23. Luvee

    Again – what race card did Obama play? I have never heard a speech given by Barack Obama that said vote for me because I am black. He is a true AMERICAN that is leading a movement in America for change that Hillary Clinton can't even begin to be a part of. In fact I do believe she has said vote for me because I am a woman. AND Obama wasn't whining about Bill Clinton campaigning for his wife – Bill Clinton distorts the facts and tells lies – BUT again to explain this to someone who supports a Clinton. NO MORE LIES would be part of the change Barack Obama is leading!!

    January 27, 2008 01:23 am at 1:23 am |
  24. Alf

    Race is a factor to African Americans. If Obama were white they'd vote for Hillary for what she's done for the community and not vote for Edwards. A person should not vote based upon race or gender and that is what is happening. Obama would never win the main goal-President. His inexperience would cost everyone, he'd be better off as Vice President then President.

    January 27, 2008 01:23 am at 1:23 am |
  25. paul

    The way all you people sound makes me feel like im living in 2000 again when Bush told people he would give them a little money in their pocket and you all sold out cheap then also now the man says change and you all melt. try putting him on your lie machine and see what happens. suckers

    January 27, 2008 01:36 am at 1:36 am |
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