During their coverage of yesterday’s presidential debate, CNN included a graph of “audience reaction” at the bottom of the screen.

The graph contained three lines that were supposed to judge the reaction of the audience, second by second, to what the candidates were saying. One line was for Independents, one for Dems and one for Republicans.

I found out today that the “audience” being tracked was actually 32 likely voters here in Columbus Ohio.

I hunted around and found this CNN transcript as verification:

SOLEDAD O’BRIEN, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT (speaking from Columbus, OH): The group we have assembled tonight, the panel, consists of students and a woman who works in insurance, the bartender, an unemployed machinist, homemaker, a teacher, a retired 62-year-old man, a plant manager, and much more. We’ve got 32 people seated here and the breakdown roughly equally, roughly. Registered independent, registered Democrat, registered Republican.

I’m pretty sure there is no such thing as being “registered independent” in Ohio- unless you just haven’t voted in a primary. But I’ll give Soledad a break.

It’s really no surprise though. Columbus is the test market for all kinds of products (mmm… mcRib) because it does a good job of representing the rest of the country with its demographic mix.