DAVIS (CBS13) – Students at UC Davis are testing a new smartphone app that gets debate reactions in real time.

This is all done on computers. People anywhere are forming the country’s biggest focus group by clicking on what resonates with them, and the results are available in an instant.

UC Davis is part of a group behind a new app focused on getting feedback in real time.

“We saw a lot of responses, people seemed engaged,” said Amber Boydstun, political science assistant professor.

The technology was put to the test with people watching the first presidential debate. More than 17,000 people, mostly students, from around the country participated.

People got to click on either candidate or the moderator to decide whether they agreed, disagreed, used political spin, or dodged a question.

“It was nice to be able to react immediately in real time,” undecided voter Gordon Ballingrud said.

Ballingrud says Wednesday’s debate didn’t help him make up his mind, but forced him to listen careful to what the candidates had to say.

“I dinged Romney quite a bit for stepping on the moderators toes a lot. I gave him credit for his references to states’ rights,” said Ballingrud.

Obama supporter Dominique Davis clicked agree when President Barack Obama took shots at romney.

“I thought he was just very clever during this debate, and had some good comebacks a lot of the time,” said Davis.

So what did all this clicking really amount too in the minds of historically left-leaning student voters?

“They really liked it when either one of the candidates said anything in support of education,” said Boydstun. “They seemed strongly supportive of ObamaCare, and strongly negative of the Romney tax discussion.”

But, who really won? Well, there’s no app for that just yet.

“Many of the users were probably pro-Obama but, again, it seemed like a nice balanced sample. We will have to look at the demographic information,” said Boydstun.

Now the researchers will be crunching the numbers and have the data in the morning to say who won this debate, at least amongst the group mainly made up of students.


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