July 1st, 2008
04:14 PM ET
10 years ago

New CNN Poll: Obama, McCain in a statistical dead heat

 Obama and McCain are in a statistical dead heat.

Obama and McCain are in a statistical dead heat.

(CNN) - With the dust having finally settled after the prolonged Democratic presidential primary, a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll shows Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama locked in a statistical dead heat in the race for the White House.

With just over four months remaining until voters weigh in at the polls, the new survey out Tuesday indicates Obama holds a narrow 5-point advantage among registered voters nationwide over the Arizona senator, 50 percent to 45 percent. That represents little change from a similar poll one month ago, when the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee held a 46-43 percent edge over McCain.

CNN Polling Director Keating Holland notes Tuesday's survey confirms what a string of national polls released this month have shown: Obama holds a slight advantage over McCain, though not a big enough one to constitute a statistical lead.

"Every standard telephone poll taken in June has shown Obama ahead of McCain, with nearly all of them showing Obama's margin somewhere between three and six points," Holland said. "In most of them, that margin is not enough to give him a lead in a statistical sense, but it appears that June has been a good month for Obama."

But the new CNN/ORC polls shows the race gets even tighter when the two most prominent third-party presidential candidates are considered. In a four way match-up that includes independent candidate Ralph Nader and Libertarian candidate Bob Barr, Obama's lead over McCain dwindles to 3 percentage points, 46 percent to 43 percent. (Nader registers 6 percent while Barr gets 3 percent.)

But it remains unclear just how much effect Nader and Barr will have on the election, as summertime surveys often overstate the eventual Election Day showing of third-party candidates.

"A useful rule of thumb is that third-party candidates in November get no more than half the support polls show them having in June or July," Holland said.

Meanwhile, one day after the Illinois senator sharply defended his devotion to America during a high-profile speech in the crucial swing state of Missouri, the new survey shows some voters continue to have lingering questions about his patriotism.

One quarter of all registered voters say Obama lacks patriotism, according to the poll. That breaks down to 10 percent of Democrats, 29 percent of Independents, and 40 percent of Republicans who say Obama lacks patriotism.

But it's likely the issue will not have a significant impact this fall.

"Strategically speaking, the question is not how many people consider Obama unpatriotic - it's how many people consider Obama unpatriotic who would have voted for him otherwise," Holland said "Most of the respondents who think Obama is unpatriotic are Republicans. That indicates that Obama may not have lost a lot of votes - so far - on this matter."

McCain, a former Navy pilot and prisoner of war during Vietnam, is viewed as being patriotic by 90 percent of all registered voters.

The poll, conducted June 26-29, surveyed 906 registered voters and carries a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (414 Responses)
  1. Lisette Chicago, IL

    General Clark is absolutely correct!
    Since when are we not allowed to say what we think?
    This is still America!

    July 1, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  2. CW4Barak


    Obama '08

    July 1, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  3. Eric

    The media is going to try and make this seem close.

    They are not tied nationally right now and everyone knows it.

    Rasmussen must do its polling at corporate management meetings or something...

    July 1, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  4. Man From Atlantis

    All lies!! Obama is rocking him

    OBAMA 08!

    July 1, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  5. Independent for McCain

    And why is this article titled "challenge for McCain"? I think that it presents a challenge for Obama, who should way ahead of his day of Unity.

    Go McCain!

    July 1, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  6. Mike - Texas

    What happend to the 12 or 15 point lead that Obama had over McCain in last weeks polls??????

    July 1, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |

    The right's incessant negativity must be beginning to pay off

    July 1, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  8. Realistic

    'Tis only amazement that with gasoline selling for $4 a gallon, with 4,000 dead U.S. troops in the desert, with the economy going in the tank, with the conflict in Afghanistan going backwards, with Bin Laden still roaming around free, with the dollar in free fall, with veterans being denied basic care, with U.S. jobs going to India, etc., etc., etc., that anybody would be dumb enough to vote for a Republican for anything.

    July 1, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  9. jen

    Wishfull thinking CNN. We know you want it to be close but look at the state polls. It will be Obama in a blowout....

    July 1, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  10. Franki

    This is getting old. By one inch or one mile a win is a win.
    Obama 08 & 12

    July 1, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  11. Giovanni

    And Polls at this time are worth how much? As time goes on people will turn against Obama's pop culture appeal as they look at his policies, I hope.

    July 1, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  12. For Change

    Nader needs to go....This undercover republican knows he can't win.....

    July 1, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  13. Al - NYC

    Considering that Bush has a terrible approval rating below 30%, and that the democrats are trying to paint McCain as a 3rd Bush term, its amazing that Obama has such a slim lead. If Bush's approval rating gains 3-5 points in the next few months, this race is even.

    July 1, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  14. Lemme get this straight-

    Obama consistently leads by three to six points, yet it's a dead heat statistically?

    Okay then-

    But that lead would be even greater if the media would do their jobs and report on BOTH candidates-

    Obama can barely breathe without some pundit saying he's elitist or arrogant-

    McCain says something idiotic daily, yet it's barely a blip as far as the media is concerned-

    Anyway; polls schmolls

    July 1, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  15. Linda from Prescott AZ

    Obama will win the White House and by more than a slim margin.

    July 1, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  16. Lisa

    Bill & Hill 08!!!

    July 1, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  17. Angela

    If I didn't serve in the military and got shot down in a figher plane, and/or was a prisoner of war, does that mean I am not as patriotic as he/she who did???? Is it possible to be a patriot if I missed voting in a presidential election? What if I am holding one hand over my heart but the other hand is holding my husband's during the national anthem??? I only own one home but pay my taxes on time. Am I less a patriot than the very wealthy couple who owns 7 homes but "forgets" to pay taxes for 4 years on one of them???

    July 1, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  18. barbara campbell

    Senator Obama's lead will likely increase as McCain's baggage (including his military record!) gets exposed. McCain is neither a moderate nor a maverick, but has cultivated that image to climb the political ladder.

    July 1, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  19. Sean

    That is bad for Obama. If a liberal site like CNN has him in a close race with McCain.

    I think that the headline should have been directed toward Obama's challenge. With the guy getting the vast majority of media attention, the fact that the press is unwilling to report anything that may hurt his campaign, ask any hard questions of him, and the fact that many of these polls usually take place in heavily Dem areas doesn't bode well for Barrack.

    July 1, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  20. Patriot Woman

    When they poll me, I tell them I'm voting Obama. I'm really voting McCain. Whether there are others doing this, I don't know. But I sure do get a chuckle out of it! Vote. Sen. John McCain=Experience

    July 1, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  21. The Weatherman

    As people see Obama is a house of cards, they look for credibility instead of excuses. Playing the victim card to get sympathy get real old real fast.

    Stick to the subject and answer the questions without a teleprompter, Obama!Race and political party has nothing to do with getting the job done.

    If we can put a man on the moon: We can drill for oil without damaging the ecosystem.

    July 1, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  22. Lisa

    The more speeches Obama gives the more his numbers drop.

    July 1, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  23. Willam from Texas

    Put Hillary Clinton on the ticket and watch Obama's numbers go Up, Up, and Away!!!

    Obama/Clinton 08

    July 1, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  24. Michael

    CNN, I believe you poll is somewhat misleading, according to Real Clear Politics the average is Obama = 47.2 McCain =41.2, a difference of six points.

    The Gallup Tracking Poll as of 6/30/08 is Obama = 47 McCain = 42
    The Rasmussen Tracking Poll as of 6/30/08 is Obama = 49 McCain = 44

    The other polls Democracy Corps, Time LA Times/Bloomberg and Franklin & Marshall have Obama up by between 4 to 12 points, however these polls have not been updated and ended between 6/23 and 6/25.

    You claim you are fair, if that be the case then report all the polls not just one that fits your news cycle for the day. I have not heard you report that Nevada is a tie or there is 0.3% difference between Obama and McCain in Florida. Give all the facts or none at all.

    July 1, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  25. Alex

    You do a 3K national poll not a 900...

    July 1, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
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