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. Alex

    A more accurate poll is Rasmussen Tracking with 3,000 people, bigger than Gallup. Obama leads by 5 point in the latest poll..

    July 1, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  2. EDW

    YOu guys are polling regular phones and not people on CELL PHONES. The younger and savvy crowd that are voting for Obama do not use home phone numbers. We're at work!!!!!!!!!!

    July 1, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  3. John

    I don't think it even that close. I think McCain will end up winning big in November. I live in upstate NY and I can't find to many people here that will vote for O'bama. Of course we are the people that are working all day long when these polls are conducted and not sitting at home living off the government like O'bama wants

    July 1, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  4. Reality Check Richmond Virginia


    CNN conducted the poll among a random sample of US citizens, not San Fransico residents. So whatever bias you and your paranoia belive CNN has, has nothing to do with the findings.

    I don't know what planet you are on, but the "media" doesn't seem to want to report anything but process concerning either of these candidates.

    July 1, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  5. Virginia


    July 1, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  6. SNORE!!!!!!!!!!!


    July 1, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  7. Enlightened Voter

    906 voters is not alot of people. If they surveyed my town of 3,000 I beta it would be more like 80-20 in Obama's favor.

    July 1, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  8. aware

    It is the change question Americans have a problem with. Americans do not want to change America's foundation or its identity. 😦

    America was founded on Judeo-Christian morals/values/principles and Obama's Universalism or "Christianity just one of many ways" might please hard core Liberals, Progressives and Multiculturists but not Mainstream Americans and Evangelicals.

    Listen closely to the obfuscating candidate Obama!

    This former Democrat, Educator and Evangelical will not vote for Obama!

    McCain 08! 🙂

    July 1, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  9. JfromNC

    Where do you get those pictures???

    July 1, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  10. James Nelson

    Please. Like every poll, this should be taken with a large grain of salt. Last week he was up by double digits, now it's a "statistical dead heat" even though he's up by five. Next week, it'll be some other story with numbers.

    In my experience, most people don't waver back and forth like palm fronds in the wind. They make up their mind and then they stick to it, barring anything earth shattering. No such event having occurred, I can only conclude that CNN needs to fill up some space with a "news" story. Even if they have to make one up.

    July 1, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  11. tjfacts

    Overall popular vote-let alone polling--doesn't matter, so I'm not sure why CNN.com continues publicizing these. The only thing that matters is electoral votes.

    July 1, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  12. Eric

    Can we just call "questioning his patriotism" what it really is? It is a euphemism for religious bigotry and racial prejudice.

    July 1, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  13. Jeff Long

    Obama looks like he is about to stutter in that pic! LOL!! Go McCain!!

    July 1, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  14. John in Ohio

    There's still some settling down to do, once the conventions are over the gap between Obama and McCain will widen. Then Obama will win in November.

    July 1, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  15. joan

    The patriotism problem is because the damage Clintons has done in part. What is the matter about his patriotism? Come on, this is supposed to be the enlightened age. Patriotism and religion are too old for that.

    July 1, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  16. SDunn

    Excuse me Sean but when has any difficult questions been asked of the media's darling McCain??? I haven't heard any difficult questions. They seem to protect him at every turn and they won't report on any of his flip flops. That's the reason why it's a tight race!

    July 1, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  17. Vote Nader

    What's the point of asking and reporting on polls that include only the two corporate-controlled party candidates? It is guaranteed there will be more than 2 and up to 5 candidates on every state's ballot.


    ** Nader/Gonzalez 2008 **

    July 1, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  18. Bill

    Yeah, but CNN also has ratings to protect. It is the media's best interest to keep things tight and interesting.

    Personally, I don't know one person who can say with a straight face that they are voting for McCain – and I live in Ohio!

    July 1, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  19. Chad, Wisco

    The reason its close is that as much as people hate Bush and the Repubs, Congress and the Dems are hated just as much. Plus it makes for more news if it stays close. One will pull ahead and then the media will bring them back. This will happen all summer.

    July 1, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  20. Diane

    I'm voting for Obama, but I don't understand why the CNN homepage indicates "big challenge" for McCain and then, when you click on the link, it shows they are statistically tied. Huh?

    July 1, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  21. Linda

    The headline reads McCain in trouble from all that has been on the news I thought Obama's lead was much greater, and am suprised to see it so close. With back stabbers like the Clinton's standing behind Obama maybe he is the one who is really in trouble.

    July 1, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  22. nita in houston

    CNN is NOT all that liberal! Obama will win the election. Whether he wins by 1 point or 10, a win is a win.

    July 1, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  23. RyandD.

    Just last week you stated adding Bob Barr and Nader WIDENED the gaps, now you're saying the exact opposite. Newsweek has Obama up by 12, Bloomburg has him up by 15 and ahead in all swing states.

    Stop with the hourly polling, CNN.

    Obama 08'

    July 1, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  24. Gram

    If he chooses Hillary as VP, his numbers will double...remember 18 million chose her.

    July 1, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  25. Oren Ovadia, California

    Again....That shows Obama needs Clinton as a VP. As soon as he announces that Hillary will be his VP, his numbers will jump way up.

    July 1, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
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