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. Linda from Prescott

    Come on folks, you all know the general plays out different than a primary.. Stop fueling this fire.

    May 22, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  2. Independent-woman-voter-for-Obama

    Four points????? I believe that when the presidential campaign begins in earnest that Sen. Obama will be able to reach that "four per cent" ...... it is a very SMALL margin well within the margin of error. DO NOT underestimate the PEOPLE! WE are ALL sick and tired of the MESS the republicans have made!

    May 22, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |






    May 22, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  4. Patriot

    If Hillary Clinton were to become the nominee, I would vote for McCain.

    Obama or McCain!

    (two can play this game, huh?)

    May 22, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  5. "The Great Elephant Is Wounded"-Kareem From Hampton, Va

    After the past mid-term election and all of the other elections where Rep lost seats saying that you know what a swing state still will be this year lets me know that you havent been watching ANYTHING! Florida isnt swinging anywhere this year! However states all over may swing this year so its really premature to say who does better! All the states that Obama won that are traditionally Republican may swing this year!

    May 22, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  6. Say no to McBush

    This reminds me of the SNL skit. 2. My voters are racists.

    How can someone that agrees with Clinton's platform do 180 turn and vote for McBush? I think that is what you would call ignorance or racism.

    May 22, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  7. Bill, Florida

    This is why the super delegates should nominate Hillary. She'll be ahead in the popular vote after the June 3rd primaries (not including Florida and Michigan), and she's more competitive in the swing states. Why choose the riskier candidate? Not that my opinion matters. I live in Florida, after all.

    May 22, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  8. Christopher, Madison, WI

    Does your poll reflect Rush's Chaos events? Wake up people this is exactly what Karl had planned all along. The Peter/Paul case is coming soon and Clinton will be found guilty as a felon. Ohio, PA and Florida will not matter as Obama will turn some states blue this round! How can we trust this states that brought us Bush. They are idiots and participated in the Chaos votes.

    May 22, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  9. David, Silver Spring, MD

    In other words, we no longer should look for the person who can best run the government and lead our country in the global environment, we should look for the person with the appropriate party affiliation who can best appeal to the residents in these so-called "swing" states.

    California residents don't count because they live in a solid Blue state; Alabama residents don't count because they live in a solid Red state. The only people who count are the "working Americans, hard working Americans, white Americans" who live in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida.

    Why vote anywhere else? Why campaign anywhere else?

    May 22, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  10. Dallas, TX



    It's over, done...let's get this race started, OBAMA '08!

    May 22, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  11. larry

    Its over...Time to move on CNN. I know how disappointed you must be.

    May 22, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  12. Ya Think

    It's a big mistake not to pick Clinton.
    SD need to get this throgh there heads.
    Nominate Clinton.

    May 22, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  13. White Independent

    Clinton won't be the nominee so who cares. Maybe I could do better in the swing states but who cares. The director of the poll says"any poll conducted in May — particularly when the primaries have not finished — may have little predictive value." Why do you report this as news Clinton News Network oh yeah you guys want to keep the ratings up.

    May 22, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  14. Mat

    That's great – polls, polls, polls – maybe we should stop voting and let the media decide our president – clearly voting doesn't count for much! When Obama is ahead in every, every count but there is still doubt then why do we have voting? Why do we have rules if Cliton thinks they can be changed and fuzzy Math can be used to change the result!

    Honestly – this whole thing stinks, typical politics, it corupts and changes people. Look at Clinton over the past 5 months, not someone I'd trust with that phone call at 3am – it would probably just be Bill anyway saying he's staying out late, again!

    May 22, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |

    I think it is funny that CNN keeps trying to convince us that red states will turn blue with Obama. GA, VA, ect. Those states have no history of voting for Dems and the Republicans out number us by a wide margin.

    States to watch MO, CO, KY, WV, OH, FL, NM, NV, IA, and NH.

    AR will be a swing state for Hillary as well.

    Lets see. Hillary won: KY, WV, OH, FL, NM, NV, AR, and NH.

    I'll put my money on Hillary.

    We aren't as stupid as you think CNN and DNC.

    White college educated 30 year old male for Hillary only.

    May 22, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |

    Today's poll says she will do better in swing states... BUT IT DOES NOT SAY THAT OBAMA WILL "LOSE" THEM....

    Please remember, Hillary Clinton is one of the MOST polarizing figures in politics.


    On the race and gender cards being played.... has anyone noticed that the storm winds blow ONLY when a Clinton opens their mouth to start the subject... ?????

    May 22, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  17. Sal, SD

    you mean Bill does better in swing states.

    May 22, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  18. Jack, Chapel Hill, NC

    So what?

    May 22, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  19. New York rrrrr

    Clinton democracy- look at the polls to make decisions. CNN, is it easier to state what polls are saying than to do real reporting and inform your readers/viewers? Tell us what we think.- thanks.

    McCain 08

    May 22, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  20. joann

    Hey this is to the blogger going as "the truth" – Waaah, don't pick on ma wife waah, waah Hillary's talking about how inexperienced I am, waah waah I'm not a muslim, waaah waaah I can't disown my racist reverand, waah waaah but don't pick on my wife or else waaaaaah! waaah John Mccain is picking on me waaaah!

    May 22, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |

    oops..... I misread the article... ok.... pounce on my mistake from my earlier post....

    I'm ready....

    May 22, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  22. Eva North Carolina

    Hillary Clinton had the same rights as Barack Obama. She was better known, and she possibly had more money thatn he initially had. But she chose her campaign representatives, and they along with her slimy adultress husband sank it for her. If she tries to take this thing, she might as well kiss her political career good bye. She did n't do that well ast the beginning, and now it the end–so end it. Polls are very deceiving because in North Carolina Hillary had a closer margin. According to the polls, she was withing 4 points of Obama and it ended with over a 10 point spread. Get a life Hillary! You agreed to Florida and Michigan not being counted when you thought you were going to be the nominee. But after you were bashed in Iowa, and about nine other states you changed your mind. You can't have it both ways–liar.

    May 22, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  23. Asia

    The Clintons just need to accept that its over. That point aside...

    I think we have to acknowledge that the 2008 election will be different than its predecessors. Given the nature of McCain and the presumptive Democratic nominee Obama, a different set of supporters exist. This year's election will not model those of 2000 & 2004 as a newly energized base exists for both candidates. It's hard to define who does better in the "swing" states because those states (along with their demographics) are changing. However it goes, it stands to be one that will wildly stroke the interests of even the most junior of armchair political analysts.

    May 22, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  24. Chris from San Antonio

    Wake up, Mainstream Media.

    A>C does not equal C>B.

    Just because Hillary polls better does not mean McCain will automatically beat Obama. Stop trying to manufacture news to appease Hillary supporters.

    May 22, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  25. sb

    Obama should give the nomination to Clinton and run as an Independent.

    May 22, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
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