Video Voting Site Shows Surprise in 2008 Presidential Campaign

Share Article Voters Split Between Obama and McCain on Iraq, Afghanistan – but Democrats Feel McCain is Better Qualified to Keep the U.S. Safe Democrats Favor McCain on That Question More Strongly than Republicans Do, but Margins are Slight: Snap Poll Shows Neither Candidate is Strongly Favored on Military, Terrorist Issues, a Groundbreaking Independent Web Video Voting Site, Lets Voters Compare and Vote on 2008 Campaign Videos and Soundbites

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The results also show that can bring real value to the 2008 campaign – by enabling voters to pick apart pre-packaged statements and show how they feel, and how strongly they feel, about the underlying issues

NEW YORK (Business Wire EON) August 7, 2008 -- Voters on groundbreaking independent political Website are split between Barack Obama and John McCain on Iraq and Afghanistan. But surprisingly, Democrats feel McCain is better qualified than Obama to keep the U.S. safe. And by a slight margin, Democrats favor McCain on that question more strongly than Republicans do.

Only Libertarians, voters 35-64 and women thought Obama was better qualified on the overarching issue of national security and U.S. safety, but margins were again small. Overall the 317 votes cast in the snap poll showed a divided electorate that doesn't strongly favor either candidate. Most votes were close to the center of the site's sliding scale that shows how strongly voters lean toward one candidate or the other.

The votes, which compared McCain and Obama statements on Iraq and Afghanistan made to ABC News on July 21, were recorded on – the first site that allows voters to directly compare and vote on video soundbites from the 2008 Presidential election campaign.

pollClash Snap Polls Show Video Soundbites Side by Side; Votes Reflect How Strongly Voters Feel

Voters who visit can watch campaign videos of candidates and other key players. But unlike other video sites, shows them in side-by-side windows, then lets voters vote on which are more credible, which are more effective, and which make the better case about critical campaign issues like the economy and national security. Voters cast their votes on a sliding 0-4 scale that shows how strongly they feel about a series of questions pegged to the two videos. Zero is the neutral point between two and four in either direction shows the strongest preference. New pollClashes are posted on twice a week.

Most Recent pollClash Focuses on Iraq, Afghanistan and U.S. Safety

In the July 21 videos, first aired as Sen. Obama visited Iraq on the first stage of his fact-finding visit to the Mideast and Europe, Obama told ABC that the Bush administration's decision to focus on Iraq was a strategic mistake that had put success in Afghanistan at risk. Sen. McCain countered that failure in Iraq would put Afghanistan at risk and that "the surge is working." pollClash voters were asked:

Which candidate is right about Iraq and Afghanistan? Which is right about the war on terror? Which is better qualified to keep the U.S. safe? Results Show Most Voters Sitting on the Fence – But Democrats Feel, More Strongly than Republicans, that McCain Would do a Better Job of Keeping the U.S. Safe

Among key results:

On the Iraq/Afghanistan question, most votes were clustered dead center on the scale, showing no preference for either candidate. Republicans and male voters slightly favored McCain (average vote 0.5 for men, 0.6 for Republicans). Democrats and female voters slightly favored Obama (0.6 for women, 0.5 for Democrats). Young voters (age 18-25), independents and minor-party voters (Constitutionalists, Libertarians and Greens) were all at zero. The strongest preference was expressed by voters 35-64, who skewed to Obama by a vote of 1 on the 0-4 scale. On the broader war on terror, preferences were slightly clearer, but not by much. Young voters (age 18-25) skewed toward McCain (average vote 0.4), as did independents (0.4). Republican preference for McCain was slightly reduced (0.5). Democrats leaned somewhat more toward Obama (0.8) The big surprise came on the final question, "Which [candidate] is better qualified to keep the U.S. safe?" Democrats preferred McCain – and did so more strongly than Republicans (Democrats with an average vote of 0.8 for McCain, Republicans with an average vote of 0.6 for McCain). In fact, most voters shifted toward McCain on this question – only voters aged 35-65 (0.5), Libertarians (0.5) and women (0.1) preferred Obama. But McCain didn't win decisive support – no category of voter preferred McCain by more than a vote of 1 on the 0-4 scale, except for Green Party voters (1.1). pollClashes on Energy, Housing and the Economy Show a Split Electorate

In previous pollClashes, votes were more decisive, but the overall voting still showed splits in the electorate. Two June pollClashes showed that voters leaned toward Obama on the need for economic change – but strongly preferred McCain's views on energy policy and the need for offshore drilling. Those snap polls showed Obama performing better with young voters and generating the strongest support for his most general statements. McCain performed better with older voters and on specifics. McCain's Republican support was stronger than Obama's Democratic support. The crucial independent vote was either neutral (on the economy) or favored McCain (on energy).

In a pollClash snap poll on the housing crisis, Republican support for McCain was stronger than Democratic support for Obama on two questions – which candidate has the better approach, and which did a better job of articulating it. But in the same poll, Democrats felt more strongly than Republicans that their candidate would be the next President.

These past pollClashes are available to be viewed on's sister site

pollClash Results Suggest Voters are Still Testing Candidates on Issues

"These results show that voters are looking hard at the candidates and testing them on the issues," said John Hughes, co-founder of "A significant number of voters – both registered major party voters and independents – are sitting on the fence, and are not clearly committed to either candidate. Preferences are clear on some questions, but not overall."

How pollClash Works – and How It Brings Value to 2008 Campaign

"The results also show that can bring real value to the 2008 campaign – by enabling voters to pick apart pre-packaged statements and show how they feel, and how strongly they feel, about the underlying issues," Mr. Hughes said. "The question behind every campaign statement is 'compared to what?' and lets voters address that question directly – in a way that's direct, clear, objective and measurable. It lets them fight back against spin and hype, and creates new levels of accountability. We are independent of influence, our results are immediate and we present the issues in the candidates' own words."

The videos are served from leading public video sites like YouTube and similar sites. enhances the videos by adding direct comparisons.'s technology – created by software firm Clashware allows side-by-side viewing and issue-by-issue voting. Viewers can also post comments – and even create their own pollClashes by posting the videos on YouTube and similar sites, then setting up the clashes on's sister site questions are developed by Clashware in collaboration with Sommerfield Communications through its Pulse polling unit. Both Clashware and Sommerfield Communications are committed to objectivity in the development of the questions and the reporting of results.

For more information, to view results, or to schedule an interview, contact Katarina Wenk-Bodenmiller of Sommerfield Communications at (212) 255-8386 or

About is a simple way for voters to share their opinions and get their voices heard on key issues in the 2008 campaign. On voters can compare two videos side by side – then vote on them. By choosing between two viewpoints by using a simple slider, voters are able to show how strongly they feel about a question, issue or position. They can also see instantly how their vote compares to the overall total, comment on the videos and submit video ideas for future polls. was created by Clashware and Sommerfield Communications/Pulse. Both organizations are committed to objectivity in developing the poll questions and the summaries of poll results.

About Clashware

Clashware is a software tool that allows direct comparison of content. It's designed for marketers, advertisers and researchers who need to create head-to-head comparisons of videos, pictures, music or text in an environment that's highly entertaining for users, while producing accurate and useful results. Clashware works by embedding content in an easy-to-play interactive game that enables participants to compare two pieces of content, then answer questions on a slider system that shows what they think and how strongly they feel. It can be incorporated in Websites, embedded in viral marketing campaigns or used to power focus groups online and in real-world settings. Clashware can be used to improve sales, increase lead capture, create greater user engagement and improve brand favorability and customer satisfaction. For researchers, Clashware provides user comments, segmented demographics and time-of-response tracking. For more information visit

About Sommerfield Communications

Sommerfield Communications is a full-service marketing communications, public relations and corporate communications consulting firm based in New York City, specializing in image management for financial, technology, professional services and emerging growth companies, as well as for not-for-profit organizations and educational institutions. Sommerfield's clients range from some of the largest, most recognized organizations in their industries to start-ups. Sommerfield's Pulse division is involved in various dimensions of opinion polling.

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Katarina Wenk-Bodenmiller
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