Winston-Salem, NC-- On Wednesday night, during the presidential debate, Wake Forest students listened to candidates and provided instant polling by providing real-time feedback.
150 Wake Forest students from five communication classes watched the debate as part of the "Wake the Vote" initiative. The idea is to promote public engagement and encourage students to vote.
The students who watched the debates provided instant polling through an audience response meter. The system provides real-time feedback from the students.
The debate watch was spearheaded by Allan Louden, a WFU communication professor and other WFU political and debate experts.
News 2's Liz Crawford was at the WFU Debate Watch, gauging the student response and tracking the real-time feedback.
Students were split almost down the middle in terms of party affiliation. However, 57% said they would vote for Obama compared to Romney's 36%.
The point of the debate watch at WFU was not about political affiliation, but instead to see how the debate impacted these voters.
"I want to see Romney blow him out of the water but it's hard, Obama's a great orator," said Philip Rohrer, a Wake Forest junior republican.
Richard Min, a junior democrat said, "He needs four more years to continue to improve his policies. We shouldn't back track with a republican candidate as president."
As the students watched the debate, they laughed at the jabs, smirked at the jokes, and even cheered from time to time, but the polling device really revealed what they were thinking.
"It's really interesting to see what our peers think, how the university's thinking about this election, and how informed the students actually are," said Ryan Bauder, a sophomore at Wake and a republican.
The system takes student engagement to a whole new level.
"It gives us a fun atmosphere to watch the debate and learn about different policies," added Philip Rohrer.
With just 15 minutes left in the debate, 48% of the students thought Romney had won. 34% thought Obama won the debate, and 14% said neither candidate won.
Watching the debate and participating in the polling system was required for 5 Wake communication classes.
WFMY News 2