May 22nd, 2008
03:15 PM ET
10 years ago

Polls: Clinton does better in the swing states

A new poll shows Clinton is in a better position to win some swing states than Obama.

A new poll shows Clinton is in a better position to win some swing states than Obama.

(CNN) - A new series of Quinnipiac polls out of Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania appear to bolster Hillary Clinton's argument that she is better positioned than Barack Obama to beat John McCain in the crucial swing states.

According to the polls released Thursday, Hillary Clinton would beat John McCain in all three states by wide margins while Barack Obama would lose to the Arizona senator in Ohio and Florida and narrowly beat McCain in Pennsylvania.

CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said the poll could be a "early-warning sign" for Democrats, though cautioned early polls often are not predictive.

Specifically, the poll found Clinton tops McCain in Florida by 7 points (48 percent to 41 percent), in Ohio by 7 points (48 percent to 41 percent) and in Pennsylvania by 13 percent (50 percent to 37 percent).

Meanwhile the poll finds McCain would beat Obama by 4 points in Florida (45-41 percent) and by 4 points in Ohio (44 percent to 40 percent). Obama beats McCain in Pennsylvania, but by a narrower margin than Clinton does - he beats McCain by 6 points there, 46 percent to 40 percent.

According to Quinnipiac, the difference between Clinton and Obama's performances in the state can be traced to the fact that several Clinton supporters and white working class voters there say they will support McCain over Obama if the Illinois senator is the party's nominee. (Related: Can Obama win over the working class)

"This could be an early-warning sign for the Democrats, particularly since Obama did not do well in the Pennsylvania and Ohio primaries," Holland said. "On the other hand, any poll conducted in May - particularly when the primaries have not finished - may have little predictive value."

The last presidential candidate to win the White House without winning two of the three largest swing states was John F. Kennedy in 1960. (Kennedy won Pennsylvania that year, but lost Ohio and Florida.)

But the 2008 electoral map could look different than most recent elections, both the McCain and Obama campaigns have said. Each candidate has shown to strongly appeal to independent and moderate voters - meaning more states could be up for grabs this year than has been the case in past elections.

View more polling information at the CNN Election Center

soundoff (290 Responses)
  1. HSNP

    Yeah, let's end this so Barack can go ahead and LOSE.

    May 22, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  2. JRC

    So, perhaps we should only let the swing states have primaries. Who cares what the rest of the country thinks, right?

    John in SF – I would also like to point out, while Hillary is telling young people it's acceptable to cheat, her husband taught young people oral sex wasn't really sex.
    Yeah, they are great role models......

    May 22, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  3. Frank Ontario

    People should pay attention to the CNN Republican strategists who they have as regular contributors. Anyone with a modicum of intelligence can see they are terrified of having Obama as their opponent. When they all thought Hillary would be coronated they were spouting they wanted her to be nominated because it would rally the base and put them in control.......

    Now they have shifted their concerns to make it look like Obama will be easy for them to beat in November. Obama will beat McCain by a wide margin unless the the majority of the electorate are morons.

    May 22, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  4. Greg Pottstown, Pa.

    John in San Fran ,

    Do you believe the crap that is coming out of your mouth ?

    May 22, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  5. Mar


    May 22, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  6. jc

    I really don't think these polls surprise some of us. Who really believes Obama has a chance in those traditional swing states – he doesn't appeal to the people there. As for him being competitive against McCain in traditional republican states because he beat Hillary in those places among Democratic voters. Good luck with that one. Obama is not going to bring conservative, deeply religious states to the Democrats with a left wing platform. He will get crushed in the South and will lose the important swing states (Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania) to the Republicans. This general election will be a slaughter.

    May 22, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  7. KC

    Hillary is like a bad nightmare that will not go away. Now, she is planning to go to the convention in Aug to protect her votes for Florida.
    In an article on the Huffington post under the DNC rules committee it said that she could still win this race – giving her 51% from Florida and 49% from Michigan. Obama would get 47% from Florida and nothing from Michigan because his name was not on the ballot! I am totally disgusted with the democrat parrty. Talk about playing favorites!

    May 22, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  8. Proud West Virginian

    Following the Election this year just makes me realize why I never followed politics in the's so corrupted and shame on the MEDIA for doing everything they could to twist, exaggerate and dimish anything and everthing that did not further their own interests.

    May 22, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  9. MaryE

    This is why I support Senator Casey for Vice-President. He truly likes Obama and he is from Pennsylvania. I believe he is the best choice.

    May 22, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    If Obama becomes the nomintee, McCain will win. Period. No questinos asked. However, although I am a Democrat, I'd rather see McCain win than Obama though.

    May 22, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  11. hello

    John San Francisco,
    Don't compare exam. rule in school w/election rule,here we are talking about future of our country.
    You know what? let us agree with you, Obama's guy and follow this stupid rule of not allowing delegates from Florida and Michigan to be counted so that Mr. Obama can get nomination and let Hillary leave him alone to convince this voters to vote for him in Nov.

    May 22, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  12. kaduke

    Swing states my butt! In the last century, maybe. This is a different time and a different place. What about NC, NEV, WISC, IA, VA, and on and on? If 80% of Americans think we're headed in the wrong direction, a big chunk of them are republicans. You think they want more of the same? Not likely. The old electoral map is just that. OLD! Change is in the air. A lot of so-called experts will be scratching their heads come Nov. We're out of our comfort zones folks, so hang on tight. It's going to be quite a ride!

    May 22, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  13. Jeanine

    Everyone might want to open their history books and see how well America was with Bill Clinton.... and see how bad it got with Bush....there is NO Clinton dynasty....but there was a Bush one....and they ruined America....not the Clintons.....wake up America....or have fun paying $15.00 for a gallon of gas....Post this CNN!

    May 22, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  14. Danny, Democrat from AZ

    Tony, you're pathetic. The Democrats already have Congress.

    May 22, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  15. Jennifer

    I'm sure she does, she lead in Texas by 20 and Ohio by 20 in the primaries didn't she?

    Hillary Clinton only goes down not up.

    Barack Obama is a rising star so there is nothing to worry about he is slowly climbing and once he's the nominee he'll become much stronger.

    I blame retarded Hillary supporters for being sore losers though for the polls...

    May 22, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  16. goawaymongers

    Once this thing is OFFICIAL- How Clinton does anywhere will be a moot point- Take the polls of the two nominees without HRC- Obama will win in November once all this nonsense is over with.

    May 22, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  17. PatrickTM

    I coach a Little League team. Last night, our team did not do very good when at bat compared to the other team, so they won. However, when we did get runners on base, we had more runners score. Using HilBilly as a model, I argued that we should change the rules from not how many actually came in, but who had the best record of scoring once they did get on base. Do you know what these sexist bullies said? It's unfair to change the rules after the game is over and I agreed to them when we started, so shold accept the results. I'll never let any of my players onto the all star team if the people in this league are going to treat us like this.

    May 22, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  18. Mike, Las Vegas, NV

    Dear ethically challenged –

    This debate is not about the clear intent of the voter – as HIllary would like you to believe. This debate is about awarding those votes fairly and appropriately to a candidate on a level playing field in an actual contest.

    Obama closed an over 20 point deficit down to 9 points in PA by CAMPAIGNING in the state. In Florida, Hillary Clinton is trying to unfairly take advantage of her name recognition back in January by falsely manipulating voters into thinking since his name was also on the ballot it was a fair fake primary. It's appaling to me that she is now threatening to take this to the convention if she can't successfully cheat for the results she wants. How do you reward such blatent unfairness? She should get zero delegates based on her behavior. She is no role model or leader for anyone in my view – I would ground my 8 year old for making such claims!. You can't blame the voters, but even a monkey could make the observation that the Florida fake primary cannot award one candidate over another as it was NOT a contest.

    How many Michigan delegates do you Hillary supporters give to Obama? How many votes? I have heard Clinton and all her surrogates say over and over that it was his choice to take his name off the ballot – Yes – his choice to follow the rules. She clearly AGREED in writing that both of these states would NOT count. This is the type of leadership you want? Seriously?

    Random Observations –

    1. Popular votes are irrelevant – delegates nominate.
    2. If you're going to yap about irrelevant popular votes, at least be fair and extrapolate caucus votes, and take Florida and Michigan out of the equation for obvious reasons aforementioned.
    3. If you're going to threaten to take it to the floor of the convention – the supers need to grow a pair and immediately usher you to the door kicking and screaming.
    4. Stop crying about sexism when you yourself have brought up Farrakhan at debates to scare old white people.

    There are many more – but think about this – She is whining about disenfranchising voters in these two states so she can make a stronger case to disenfranchise the other 48.

    Come on Supers –

    Please stop this shameless excuse for a leader.

    Apologies to her supporters – but seriously, she is hurting our party. Clearly.

    Thanks for your time.

    May 22, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  19. Don't Believe It...

    How in the world does CNN come up with these silly polls?? Do they have a crystal ball that goes all the way to November. Why are the states that Obama can carry not mentioned??? Let's get this over with and maybe Obama will close CNN down when he is president. They just love continuing to report what doesn't matter...

    May 22, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  20. Linda, VT

    Yes, but she lost. It's over.

    May 22, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  21. Mahesh

    Soon as Hillary vanishes , all the negativity for Obama will disappear.

    May 22, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  22. Jerry

    GERALD STROTHER May 22nd, 2008 11:53 am ET

    For you Clinton voters, you got beat fair and square. All you are doing is destroying the Party and be asured that John McCain will be the next President. I didn’t vote for Hillary but if she beats Obama in a fair contest, follows the rules ,you can beat I would vote for her. So here it is, if Hillary voters that got beat fair & square, and can not support Obama because he won by following the rules, then ya’ll have succeeded and destroyed the Demo Party and John will be the next President. Sad situation isn’t it!???!!!

    ... So Gerald if all the super Ds go for Hillary, and that is legal accordding to the rules, then we can count on you to vote for Hillary?

    May 22, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  23. Dr. Truth, Boston

    Why are Obama supporters "Obamabots" or "Obamamaniacs" while Mrs. Clinton's supporters are free thinking informed people? What's the point in minimizing people for who they support without knowing anything about why they support them?

    May 22, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  24. David

    Hillary’s argument that ALL states should count (meaning Florida and Michigan) is in direct contradiction to her claim of having the Popular Vote. In order for her math to work for the “popular vote”, she adds Florida and Michigan, and ignores Hawaii, Wyoming, Nebraska, Minnesota, Alaska, Idaho, Kansas, North Dakota, Colorado, Maine, Nevada and Iowa (because they use caucuses) – how is that counting all states?

    So are we to say that the people who voted in Florida and Michigan should somehow be given the super power of deciding our candidate? That the rest of the country’s voice should be ignored? Even if you don’t support Obama, you have to think that this argument is ridiculous.

    There is a reason that the popular vote is meaningless in a Primary, because it can’t be reliably calculated based on caucuses. That is why there is a delegate system – and if you don’t like it then petition the DNC to outlaw caucuses, change the system to a popular vote based election, and run that next time. But in the year 2008, we don’t do it that way – sorry Hillary, you weren’t robbed the nomination, you lost it.

    May 22, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  25. Brad from SC

    but Obama does better in the othe 47 states!
    This poll is meaningless, but Clinton is not an option.

    Obama/Edwards NOW!

    May 22, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
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