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)

    Sean, are you on crack or LSD...

    "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, ".....

    THE PRESS IS UNWILLING TO REPPRT ANYTHING THT MAY HURT HIS CAMPAIGN?????????????? (see wright, ayers, bitter, flag-pins)

    oh.. i get it... YOU are one of those LIARS who TELL and SPREAD falsehood as if it were truth.


    the media in the tank for Obama... puh-lease!! give me a small break!

    July 1, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  2. Ken

    Wow, this is really bad for Obama. The wise old pundits predicted he would have a big bounce and double digit lead as soon as Hillary dropped out. Wonder what happened? 90% of Americans think McCain is patriotic – no wonder Team Obama is trying to mutilate the senator's service to his country. I'm predicting the Hope and Change theory is going to go out the window and we are going to see some down right dirty politicking going on.

    July 1, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  3. Pappu

    He needs every one of Hillary's supporters. He should have her on the ticket. It's not only the right thing to do, its the smart thing to do.

    July 1, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  4. Nova from NV

    I think Obama can gain a couple more points by sending his surrogates such as Wesley Clark to attack John's military services. Oh wait, he's already doing that. I think we can all learn from Obama's political tactics: send surrogates to do the dirty work and say that you do not approve.

    July 1, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  5. Phil, FL

    Hey Sean

    They give Obama all the attention because McShame is all negative. We're all sick to death of that !!!!!

    July 1, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  6. Dave in Saint Louis

    Just watch if it is this close people who are not sure about Obama will vote for McCain at the last second! This is a great poll for McCain!

    July 1, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  7. saga for Obama

    lets be clear...Jon McCain IS A TYPICAL REPUBLICAN...
    the maverick McCain has long been gone. he is controlled and supported by special interest groups. and why is he not far ahead of Obama, he had far more time to get his "message" out there?
    watch now as traditional republican supporters like the NRA set out vicious attacks on Barack...

    people still question Obamas patriotism...forgetting or ignoring completely the comments McCain made about not loving America until he was a POW.

    yes the Maverick McCain who earned the respect of our nation was buried by the 95% with Bush McCain we see now who has flipped on every major issue, the McCain we see now who does not pay his taxes while Americans loose their homes, the McCain now who picks the 4th of July, our independence day to campaign in South America...bad judgment...
    today we have a John McCain who endorses and supports an illegal war which cost 1.38 bill dollars a day, with over 4000 U.S.solders dead in Iraq...and all this while Bush sets his eyes on Iran?

    i read so many of these post...they make me laugh some make me cry some though make me understand why America, this great nation is in such trouble...you Americans who voted for Bush 4 years ago, i thank you...no, really. because your voting for Bush made it possible for the U.S. to see we need good candidates...as funny as it may seem, its because of your Bush vote that Hillary and Barack did soooo well.

    Obama 08

    July 1, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  8. Jeff E.

    So who's really the media darling? The candidate who got slammmed with wall to wall coverage of an ex-pastor's tirades? Or the candidate that continues to get away with more gaffs and outright misstatements than any candidate in recent histoy? McCain has nothing new to offer. He long ago threw out his principles to embrace Bush and the far right, to the point where it's hard to determine where the Bush administration ends and the McCain administration begins. How's that for "straight talk?"

    In the end, high gas prices, the tanking economy and tragic missteps in the "War on Terror" will turn out the vote for Obama, the first genuine breath of fresh air to emerge on the national scene in generations. The choice is simple. More the same old divisive, ineptitude vs. a chance for something better. Most Americans will opt for hope over the same old weary platitudes.

    July 1, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  9. Jaime47

    The headline could equally have read: "Obama's lead growing" or "Obama's lead increases by two percentage points in June", or even "Obama's lead grows by 40% in June".

    July 1, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  10. Buck Rogers, Denver,CO

    Why is it that everyone who tries to insult Barack on here, can't even spell his name right. Show some respect to your next Commander in Chief. Obama will win by a landslide, especially with the gas price crisis which will irritate and anger many more Americans up until November. That and the whole quagmire issue of Iraq...DUH!

    Vote Obama- or be willing to send our kids to die for corporate greed

    July 1, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  11. rizopause

    If you're an Obama hater, then go to sleep. If you are an Obama lover then open your mouth and speak. Look at McCain, them man is not closely educated like Obama and he thinks being an Ex-Soldier makes him a presidential material?, come on, this is ludacris. America is full of surprise. I'm shocked that individual hate causes blindness to reality. Get a life and realize that McCain ain't going to do nothing to your economic crises but make it worse. George Bush's third term. I agree with General Clark

    July 1, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  12. Christian from Utah

    McCain = McSame. Think of the cost of war and the cost of unrestricted free trade to Americans. McCain's policies will keep the US in a costly war (soldier lives and budget-busting) and will continue to allow big businesses to work unethically and with no oversight (remember Enron, mortgage crisis). If you want to keep your eyes wide shut and not have any retirement, medical care, et cetera for you or your kids, then by all means vote for McCain in November. Hopefully, the voting half of the American populace will wake up and vote for Mr. Obama.

    July 1, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  13. Shawn - GA

    as more and more people start to realize that there is no substance with Mr. Obama and the pretty words are just and nothing more the nation will swing even more toward Mr. McCain

    July 1, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  14. NC voter

    Even outspending HRC by 3 to 1 he only barely squeaked out the nomination! There is a signifigant skeptical buzz about Obama that the media just can't squelch.

    July 1, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  15. Penrose Reader

    Umm, CNN, could you please fire the intern who wrote this story. Obama is leading McCain by 5 points in your poll. The margin of error is 3.5 points.

    Just so you know, that does NOT mean a "statisitcal dead heat." It actually means that Obama is beating McCain in your poll.

    Please enroll your staff in a remedial stats course.

    July 1, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  16. SDunn

    It's also amazing to me that 90% of people polled thought John McCain was patriotic when he did not support the GI bill for our soldiers! When are people going to realize that patriotism isn't just about wearing a flag pin, saying the pledge of allegience, but it's about how we treat other people in this country. When we turn our backs on the poor to put more money in the pockets of lobbyists, to me that's not patriotism. When McCain supports tax cuts to the wealthiest americans while the rest of us have to scrap to pay for gas is not patriotism.

    July 1, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  17. Joan

    People must not have been paying attention to the national polls a few months ago that showed Clinton beating McCain by larger percentages than Obama had against McCain. Nothing has really changed since then, except of course, that Obama ended up the Dem candidate....which was GREAT NEWS for the Republicans!

    It's obvious that if the Dems lose the General Election this November, they have no one to blame but themselves.

    July 1, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  18. Jack

    The moment you have to defend your patritotism, it's game over. There should be no doubts, and blaming the Right for these smears is childish. You knew that this would be an issue. Why did you choose such an unelectable candidate? Dems never learn: stop playing with fire, and stop making excuses. Give us an electable candidate, and then and only then will you get the White House back.

    July 1, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  19. ovitshio_branco

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

    July 1, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  20. ladyatlaw2

    Linda your right this will be a landslide. When u begin to talk south of the border for free trade..this is a bad idea

    July 1, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  21. GW

    Of course it's gonna be close, geez!
    50 percent of the country is nothing but a bunch of "Archie Bunkers" !
    It's gonna take the independents to put Obama over....but he'll do it.

    Obama/Powell '08

    July 1, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  22. Beverly, NYC

    Cnn are you trying to give McCain hope that he has a snowball's chance in you know where of winning. What section of the country are these 906 registered voters from. It only July and I am already sick of hearing McCain's voice.

    July 1, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  23. Debby

    This isn't good news for Obama since we have all seen him front and center in the long Democratic primary day in and out. The Dems. will blow it and they have Dean, Pelosi, and Reid to blame for pushing the golden boy down our throats.

    July 1, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  24. susie

    Obama flip-flops too much. He doesn't take a stand, he flows with each crowd.

    July 1, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  25. Tim Hutchins

    Drop out, Obama. Noone with any sense wants you to the President of the US.

    July 1, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
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