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. Diane

    Doh – they must have agreed with me- they just changed the description on the homepage!

    July 1, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  2. John

    If Obama leads by 10 they say why not 15, if he leads by 15 they say why not 20...Actually state to state polls are more accurate showing Obama leading most states by at least 10 points or greater.

    July 1, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  3. Not surprising

    The AOl Straw Poll – REAL people voting REALTIME: June 27-July 4, with 147,184 total votes cast, McCain 62%, Obama 38%.

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

    Repubs...don't get your hopes up. This race won't even be close!

    July 1, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  5. Rom, NY

    CNN is a loser !!

    July 1, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  6. Nt

    The Republican attack machine is going to pull out all the stops to paint Obama however they want. I"m so glad he opted out of public financing. Just as we speak, the Nra is ready to roll out 40 million dollars in attacks. I believe that Americans realize the gravity of this decision and will vote for the candidate with the best judgement – Pres. Barack Obama

    July 1, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  7. Paul, Tampa

    45% supporting McBush??? I guess Einstein was right when he said "only two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity..."

    July 1, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  8. Mike D

    "If a liberal site like CNN has him in a close race with McCain."

    please. CNN has been anti-obama from day one. they are the equivalent of these "hillary or mccain" loudmouths.

    July 1, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  9. Gail

    I figure the more people learn about what Obama stands for the more they'll turn away and vote for the other guy.

    I cannot help but think of Aespo's fable of the Tortoise and the Hare.

    July 1, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  10. Jennifer

    How can this be? How can anyone in their right mind vote for McCain?

    July 1, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  11. Jim

    This is interesting. The democrats voted with their heart and not the brain to have Obama over Hillary. If Hillary is the VP Obama will be president, if not we could have McCain as president.

    July 1, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  12. Mark Anthony

    This is getting boring, CNN has so many polls out there than these numbers change EVERY day. People change their mind frequently, most people have stop making this a big part of their day. The American public has a short attention span and won't start paying attention again until Late October. Unless some entertainment tonight type of crap happens.

    July 1, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  13. Sam

    Obama will not win the election without Hillary. He needs to add Hillary Clinton to his ticket.

    July 1, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  14. Sean, what planet do you live on?

    CNN constantly reported about Rev Wright as opposed to Hillary's Bosnia gaf, they did everything to keep the idea going that the primary was tight even when there was no way in hell that Hillary was going to win it, and they accentuated the controversy of a divided democratic party. CNN did it for no selfish reason other than its ratings, and none of that helped Obama one bit. So where do you come from by saying that CNN doesn't report anything that may hurt his campaign?

    We keep hearing about Obama's skeletons, but how about McCain's? Since everyone calls him a "hero", nobody dares bring up the fact that he cheated on his wife, then dumped her for a richer one. If that's not playing favoritism for McCain, I don't know what is

    July 1, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  15. bill for barack

    Why does the CNN poll always show a tighter race than other polls do ?

    July 1, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  16. Randall

    This is awful news for MSNBC's candidate – Barack Obama.

    LOL McCain in a landslide in November.

    July 1, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  17. geoff

    If Obama leads by 5 and the margin of error is 3.5, they why isn't it a statistically significant lead?

    July 1, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  18. RyandD.

    lol @ Sean

    "the press is unwilling to report anything that may hurt his campaign"

    The press has glossed over any and every McCain gaffe for the past 6 months. What news are you watching?

    If you'll notice, Gen. Clark's statements have gotten 3 days worth of play now...and he's not even part of Obama's campaign nor did he say anythign that controversial.

    Black's fear-mongering about "attacks" helping McCain died in the press after 2 days.

    You tell me whats fair.

    Obama 08'

    July 1, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  19. Little Lulu

    Well, it's about time some of you Obamanots wake up and smell the coffee. He "ain't" what he's claiming to be – a messiah. He IS nothing more than an arrogant, egotistical, self-righteous, self-proclaiming savior of "change".

    He is just the back-handed kind of person that let's someone else do his dirty work and then he claims he "knows nothing about it" and lets others take the fall. He is SLIM in its worst form.

    Just sit back and wait – he and his wife are hanging themselves each and every time they open their mouths and come out with this little innocent "Did I do that"??? mentality. I'm quite frankly glad there is time between now and election date so that more and more of you Obamanots can wake up and get the wool off your eyes and see what he's up to – and it's NO GOOD. He has the gall to have his people slam McCain on his POW record yet has he served a day??? No, I didn't think so. ANd 143 days in the US Senate has not made for a President to save the world. You all follow him like you don't have a clue how to get out of a shower of dog pooh. I'd hate to be that pathetic – have a mind of your own and stop following him so closely or you might wind up in a dark stinky place you won't want to be.

    July 1, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  20. Roger from CA

    The only reason it is this narrow (and why there are people out there who think Obama isn't "patriotic") is–pure and simple–racism. I don't see any other explanation for the mean-spirited and just simply erroneous comments made about Obama in these ticker comments; the writers of these nasty comments obviously DO NOT WANT to acknowledge anything positive about Obama and insist on the most twisted, negative take on everything.

    Also, I am just sick to death of those with the fetishistic view that the only real "patriotism" comes from military service. Yes, we must honor our service men, service women and vets. Many give the ultimate sacrifice. But the military is NOT the ONLY road to true patriotism or public service. And it certainly is NOT a requirement for public office, including the presidency.

    July 1, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  21. Bob Indianapolis, IN

    Polls Schmolls! Grandpa McSame will have plenty of napping time after November 4th...Maybe he and Shotgun Dick can go puma hunting...

    July 1, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |


    And BO's numbers are always inflated...like his head

    July 1, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  23. DB

    With Wesley Clark out there swift-boating McCain and tarnishing Obama's image, McCain should be able to close the gap and pull into the lead in no time.

    July 1, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  24. Nicholas

    Sean you are an idiot.

    July 1, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  25. Realistic

    This year should have been an easy victory for the Democrats given the downturns in the economy, gasoline prices, etc. etc. Had the Democrats chosen a good solidly vetted candidate with substantial experience then the Democrats could have looked forward to an easy victory. Since they chose an inferior candidate with a questionable back ground and very little experience, it will be another year for a Republican victory!

    July 1, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
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