July 1st, 2008
04:14 PM ET
6 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. Ravi

    Its simple – if the color of their skin was the same, Obama's lead would have been much more – at least 5-10 points more

    July 1, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  2. Proud American

    4 years of McCain is another 4 years of Bush! Have we not learned anything these last 8 years?!? Come America we need to correct what is wrong NOW! No McCain.

    July 1, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  3. Pat Riot

    Linda, I seriously doubt that the citizens of this nation would shackle themselves to socialism "by more than a slim margin". Obama is running a Santa Claus campaign; promising everything to everyone. Sure he is inspiring but it is a show, a sham, a fraud. You've been duped by an opportunist into believing that government is the solution to your problems; that one man can unite a nation. Freedom comes with responsiblity, civic duty, and charity. I hope the people vote to limit the size and scope of government and reestablish our liberty. The best is out but IMHO John McCain is much better than Obama.

    July 1, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  4. Sara

    I really hope Obama wins this thing. But I've learned not to listen to the polls anymore. Kerry was supposed to win in 2004 and look what happened.

    July 1, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  5. asas

    mccain is a fraud to me

    July 1, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  6. Obama 2008 and 20012

    McCain = Bush = Lies Lies Lies = USA hated and moked by the world!!

    McCain = Bush = Lies Lies Lies = USA hated and moked by the world!!

    McCain = Bush = Lies Lies Lies = USA hated and moked by the world!!

    July 1, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  7. Obama 2008 and 20012

    Go Obama! PLease save the US from embarrasment!!

    July 1, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  8. Nick

    I don't understand how a week ago a five point lead was a five point lead. Now a five point lead is a statistical dead heat. Where statistics being ignored last time around?

    July 1, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  9. Ex-mod-GOP for Obama

    OK, let's get this straight. What people really mean when they say "patriotism" is nationalism. Obama has plenty of the former and little of the latter, and that's a good thing.

    July 1, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  10. Susan

    Obama......pick Hillary for veep, and you two can win!

    Obama/Hillary 08

    July 1, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  11. Robert

    I'm confused. The poll has a 3.5 point margin of error and Obama has a 5 point lead. How is that a statistical tie?

    July 1, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  12. Florida-livin

    Thank You CNN.. You want the race to be close so people will stay tuned in. But we know Obama is way ahead regardless of how you manipulate the polls. Young people will come out in droves for Obama. They hate the way this country is going. Too late McBush the 3rd gets NO young votes. We know that if you report Obama ahead 10 to 15 points that poeple will get discouraged so you suppress that News. Too bad. You Sound like Joe Scarborough. Obama is winning and winnng big. Colorado. New Mexico, Florida, Penn and Ohio. Report real News.

    July 1, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  13. Sandra

    Gosh, guess those Clinton voters didn't fall in line like you thought they would, eh? You would think that with the Repbulican bran so flawed right now, Obama would have a much bigger lead. But he barely has a lead and there are still 4 months to go. Wonder what will come out about him next? Wonder how that will impact his poll numbers?

    July 1, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  14. McBride, SLC, UT

    That is hilarious! CNN come on! 5 point lead is a statistical dead heat? Not to mention other polls that show Obama up by double digits. Keep working CNN and alll other Media Giants of the good old US of A. Keep trying to defeat Obama.

    July 1, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  15. JohnLee

    A vote for McBush is a vote for 4 more years of the same!

    I'm not an Obama supporter, but I sure won't vote for McBush!

    July 1, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  16. Steven-----TN

    This is all ridiculous anyway, anyone with half a brain knows that when it comes down to it, Republicans will vote Republican, Democrats will vote Democrat, and Independents will vote for whoever is more charismatic. Why you ask, because most of America is full of ignorant voters who don't know about the issues, listens to a liberal media, and only sees the candidate a few times and doesn't truly know their positions or how they intend to execute their plans.

    July 1, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  17. Dave

    Sean, I can't believe you think that CNN is a liberal site. There is no liberal television network, just extreme right wing (Fox, CNN's Beck) and right of center (MSNBC, except for Olbermann, and CNN).

    And CNN, why don't you report this as a 5% Obama lead within the +- 3.5% margin of error, instead of a tie? It is certainly a more accurate description. Moreover, since every other poll has Obama up by that amount or more, it is patently obvious that he is leading outside the margin of error, since the combined sample sizes of all of these polls would make the margin of error for their combined results less than +- 1%.

    No intelligent analyst of polling results thinks that this race is currently a dead heat.

    July 1, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  18. fafa

    much ado about nothing. Let november come and the sun will rise and we will change the world. John McCain? who cares.

    Let the winner wins and common sense prevail

    Obama 08

    ps btw CNN stop with the polls. it doesn't make sense anyway

    July 1, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  19. Mary M, Houston, TX

    If there were a REAL Republican running, he/she would be ahead in the polls.

    July 1, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  20. WestCoast

    Realistic-

    You are 100% correct. The only people that should vote Republican are millionaires. The rest are fools.

    July 1, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  21. TRUTH

    Let me put it this way: those of us that are BITTER about the current state of our nation, that are clinging to our CELL PHONES and COMPUTERS are not going to be reached by landline phones.

    OBAMA '08

    July 1, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  22. Nick

    Based on polling Obama is much stronger. The Obama camp has 3 months to register and turn out thier core supporters. Three months of feel good stories about his I pod and bike rides. Sure Obama is getting beat up a bit by McCain and the NRA, but all he has to do is keep his head above water. His ground game and public relations skills are amazing and they will win it for him if he doesn't screw it up.

    July 1, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  23. Michael

    Uh-oh, beginning to worry you who litter this site with adolescent screams like "OBAMA88" or "GOOBAMA"? Becoming frightened that early lead of Obama will become as ephemeral as lead McGovern, Carter, Mondale, Dukakis, and Kerry? You should be.

    July 1, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  24. DEAD HEAT!!!

    Obama holds a slight advantage over McCain, though not a big enough one to constitute a statistical lead............A lead is lead ........NEXT!

    July 1, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  25. Jimmy P - Chicago

    Oh CNN, you are taken even less serious than Obama. You are so over the top foir this nothing, empty suit it's becoming a joke! NoObama08/NoBama's Ever!

    July 1, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
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