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. 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 unifier, not a divider like Bill and Hillary Clinton…

    January 26, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  2. John

    Maybe Bill will realize he's not on the ballot this year and will stop campaigning as if he were.

    January 26, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  3. AMR

    Mission accomplished 'Billary' poor Obama does not realize that by Clinton being as harsh as he was, injecting race into the issue. He's succeeded in putting Obama into the Ghetto. Hillary is OK with that because she is counting on at least 1/2 of the black vote ...2/3 of the white vote & 3/4 of the Latino vote. That's her secret weapon the Latino vote why do you think 'Billaey' was running around in Latino districts uttering the phrase 'Si Se Puede' which is code for Amnesty

    January 26, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  4. Reality Check

    You can only put so much lipstick on a pig.

    The Clintons are done. We all know Hillary is unelectable and Bill is just making things worse.

    January 26, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  5. Jon

    This might not be a mandate for Obama, but it is a mandate for Bill Clinton to shut up and get out of this race.

    White voters 18-29 49% Obama
    Black voters 80% Obama

    These are the two groups the Democrats need to win a National Presidential election. People fail to understand – it's not that these people will vote for a Republican if the nominee is Hillary, they will simply not show up if they are not inspired. A democratic candidate simply cannot win a national election without these people showing up.

    Bill Clinton had the black and young vote in 92. Hillary is not Bill. Hillary Clinton cannot win the Presidential Election.

    If you want a Democrat in '09, vote Obama.
    Fired up, Ready to Go.

    January 26, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  6. Neal J. King

    It might be "enlightened self-interest" for the Clintons to back off from the heavy-handed approach.

    Even if it succeeds in getting Hillary through to the nomination, it might leave a bad enough taste in the mouths of some Democrats that they won't turn out to the actual vote.

    Right now, in most places, the Democratic turn-out for the primaries 'way exceeds that for the Republicans. If that enthusiasm is maintained, they can walk away with the election in November. But if they get turned off...

    January 26, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  7. Ned

    Whoa! Clinton Slugfest versus Obama O-thentic. Slugfest loses and politics in America may never be the same again.

    January 26, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  8. jake


    January 26, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  9. Bob

    Yes, and the rest of America have a more realistic view of what bringing back the Clintons would do to our country. There is no way Hillary will win a general election, while Obama could based on what Republicans and independents I know are saying.

    January 26, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  10. Susan

    Duh! The Bubba Factor ain't working. We are fed up with your lies. JUST SHUT-UP AND LET YOUR WIFE SPEAK FOR HERSELF! ON THE OTHERHAND...BOTH OF YOU NEED TO SHUT -UP...


    January 26, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  11. rafael ferrer

    I lost friends defending President Clinton against the Republican linch-squad.
    I do not want to go back to the 90's. Having seen the damage Bush has inflicted to the US world wide, I will not vote for the Clintons and their frenzy for a third term. Obama, Edwards and with a big GULP, even Mccain. No more Clinton dramas at the expense of the public good.

    January 26, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  12. Please

    the media will now salivate over Obamas win and demonize the Clintons, how predictable. "The evidence-free bias against the Clintons in the media borders on mental illness" Obama won S.C, not a big surprise

    January 26, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  13. crazyone2

    Everybody shut up! Let's keep on rewarding the clintons. why? because they entertain us and keep us from thinking about our own problems....

    January 26, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  14. Conan

    Bill Clinton having a negative effect? You think? Bill needs to go find an intern and chill out for a while.....

    January 26, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  15. pello

    oh come on–22% of white Democrats voted for Obama.

    January 26, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  16. rick

    Can you get any more anti-Clinton people on your show. I can believe Cnn is trying to spin the poll in favor of Obama. Carl Bernstein is the biggest joke of all. As for lying, Obama said he only had 4 hours of work with the slum-lord Rezzo. That has proved to be a big lie. But you (so -called reporters don't follow up on any leads on Obama). Bill Clinton said he has proof about Obama's "92 or 94 blogs where Obama was supporting Bush going to war. No one has ever follow through. Just keep hammering that the Clinton's are liars. I expected better from CNN.

    January 26, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  17. tatertot

    I wonder if Bill will go home to Hillary tonight and, like Chief Renault to Bogart's Rick in Casablanca, say, "I'm shocked, shocked to find my pervaricating hurt you in South Carolina!"
    Give us SC folks some credit. Black or white, we've not stupid people, and most all of us have got pretty good BS meters.
    Hillary may be our political superwoman, but Bill is certainly proving to be her kryptonite. If he keeps creating a toxic political environment like he's done so far, Hillary's a goner.

    January 26, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  18. SOX


    January 26, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  19. Sherv

    I found Bill Clinton's performance in South Carolina this week to be equally disturbing and unnecessary. As voters we can clearly understand the importance of a husband campaigning on his wife's behalf and vice-versa, but for a former President to play the roll of surrogate attacker and vicious advocate on his wife's behalf was unquestionably in poor taste and damages international perception of the role of a Fmr. President of the United States. This was not the behavior of an elder statesman. What this past week illustrated, atleast to me, was the official introduction of a candidate for president who is unable to stand on her own two feet and on her own record while simultaneously defending herself against the attacks of her chief rival. Hillary Clinton without question furthered the perception that she cannot possibly stand on her own as an independent candidate. Coupled with her crying in New Hampshire, which was entirely un-presidential, and her general derisive tone on the the campaign trail, this has done more to negatively affect atleast the perception of a female candidate running for the presidency than to favor it. As a former supporter of President Clinton and Mrs.Clinton I was very disappointed at what I witnessed this past week. It is important to be ambitious in life to obtain one's goals, but to do so with questionably character and little to none of the requisite ethics necessary to be president can only damage one's public perception and ability to lead a nation in need of collaboration and unity. The Clinton's tactics this week were unneccesary and will surely have damaging effects for them and how they are viewed further in the future.

    January 26, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  20. Rod Mann

    The sooner sleaze bag bubba and his carpet bagging wife are sent packing back to their Arkansas double-wide the better.

    January 26, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  21. Coveman Jim

    He ruined Gore's chances to be president and now he's ruining Hillary's chances.

    The WWII generation sent seven men to the White House (Carter was too young to serve during the war). But Bill Clinton is going to go down in the history books as the ONLY representative of the hugely influential liberal '60s generation. Wow.

    January 26, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  22. barb, seattle WA

    Keeping talking Bill........the more we see you and hear you the more we remember what a disgrace you and your wife were..........atta boy! We won't give you a third term in OUR white house.....

    January 26, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  23. georgia dem

    good grief
    I have never seen so many folks so down on one man, Bill Clinton.
    Obama needs to quit crying and stick to the issues
    I have no faith in him
    what is he going to do if he is president and he is hit with all the problems we have??
    He can not deal with a race with Hilliary how is going to deal with our situation
    with health care, homeland security, childcare, the eldery, Iraq, Iran,IRS
    education, and on and on and on!!

    January 26, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  24. Rob

    Finally! The Clinton machine has been repudiated!!! Barack can finally get back to his message of HOPE, rather than dealing with race all of the time.

    Good job SC!

    January 26, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  25. J.R.

    Serves them right.

    If Hillary wants to be president, maybe she should make the case herself, by herself, on her terms.

    If she can't do that, she hasn't earned it. She can't use Bill as a crutch when the going gets tough.

    January 26, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
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