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. Nick

    Your article claims that Obama has a lead, but it is not large enough to be considered a statistical lead. However, Obama leads by 5 points (50-45) with a margin of error of 3.5 points. How is this not a statistically significant lead?

    July 1, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  2. Big Bill from Brooklyn

    Glad to see Nader will continue his role of making the White House safe for Republican Presidents. Not since Abe Lincoln has the party had such a solid foundation. Well played, sir. Well played, indeed.

    July 1, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  3. McSame

    The media wants to be in a dead heat so people can stay toned in, typical corp media B.S.

    July 1, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  4. Marge Hibbing Mn

    And McCain is going to beat the pants off him come the GE. See how obama is changing and changing and changing his opinions. Now he is going "Christian". After he and the democrats complained that bush was giving taxpayer money to the church, which was against the constitution. But this piece of crap doesn't care. Because he doesn't plan on doing anything he has promised. He has already lied to the people who supported him. And he will continue to do so with every breath he takes. Look at how he came out with all his crap, blamed Hillary because he said his SUPPORTERS said it not him. Now he is doing the same with McCain. I guess it worked so well he is keeping it up. But McCain won't take it sitting down. He doesn't have to put up with the MSM flaming and slurring him like they did Hillary when she said she didn't do it....obama is a slug and the sooner the public finds out about him the lower he will sink back into the swamp slugs emerge from.

    July 1, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  5. Nobama 08

    You stupid liberals can hiss and spit all you want because when all is said and done you will be licking your wounds like in the last two elections. Nobody wants Nobama....get it. Especially real Americans.

    July 1, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  6. goodcitizen

    The only authentic leader for this nation is Hillary Clinton!!!

    July 1, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  7. susan

    Obama will not win.

    July 1, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  8. Hussein

    Eric

    July 1st, 2008 4:18 pm ET

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

    you're so right .. they need ratings & viewers .. people are not really interest in the MSM .. as they were in the primary .. so CNN wants to bring back this atmosphere .. for ratings & viewers ...

    so sad ...

    July 1, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  9. Lamar

    General Clark can "clarify" his words all he wants, and yes this is America, and thank God for freedom of speech. However, General Clark said what he said about John McCain's military service and it was cheap and uncalled for. John McCain is a great American and that speaks louder to Americans than "political make-overs." You can put a suit on a duck, but it's still a duck.

    July 1, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  10. Ed

    PUMA! How you like us now?

    July 1, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  11. Ardnuas

    The McCain SCAM... No one can criticize him... No one can ask any questions about his faith... we don't KNOW what he believes, and people vote for him.... this is scary!!!

    July 1, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  12. Democrat in LA

    This is not news– the fact of the matter is that Obama has been leading McCain by 5+ points ever since he clinched the nomination. This race is not as close as Bush-Kerry, and it's already clear that Obama will ultimately prevail by 6-50 electoral votes. Obama doesn't need FL and OH to win. The influx of out-of-staters from the coasts to NM and CO will seal the deal for Obama.

    July 1, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  13. Becky

    OBAMA for PRESIDENT!!!

    July 1, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  14. John Powalski

    This is America. Wes Clark can say whatever the hell he wants.

    For what it's worth I agree with the guy completely. McCain's experience crashing airplanes is not relevant presidential experience. It's kinda neat that he now wants to crash our COUNTRY, but Dubya has already taken care of that.

    July 1, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  15. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    Americans can not be that stupid to elect any GOP into the White House after the last 8 years!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    By the way, is Cindy McCain, the wealthy trophy wife going to release her tax statements; especially after chiding others to do it?!?!?!

    July 1, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  16. otto

    5% lead in a 3.5% MOE is a statistically significan lead. RCP has him up 6%
    Rasmussen 5%, Gallup 5%, LA Times 12%
    WOW McCain is down in all poll. All polls.

    Today is exactly 2 months since McCain hels a lead in any national polls (USA Today McCain up 1% 2 months ago)
    and since then a total of 31 polls have shown Obama Up from 1% through 15% with a mean of 7%.

    5% is right there in the sweet spot. However, CNN needs a horse race for rating so there it is.

    July 1, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  17. McCain 4 ever

    CNN poll of polls is actually inaccurate. I'm not voting for Obama, but Obama has 5-7 pt lead in most major polls.

    July 1, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  18. Leah DiMarco, Texas

    Don't pay attention to the national head to head polls.
    Take a look at the individual state polls.
    Obama is whooping McCain big time in the states that count! The electoral maps at ElectionProjection.com and Electoral-Vote.com and Real Clear Politics are updated more often then the map at CNN.

    July 1, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  19. Maytemenay

    What happened to the 15 points lead of Obama last week? Not reported in CNN.

    July 1, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    This poll demonstrates what a WEAK candidate Obama is in a general election. Obama NEEDS Hillary Clinton to help him WIN the presidency.

    But me thinks Obam is too arrogant to admit that he needs a Clinton on the ticket to insure that the Dems take back the whitehouse in 2009.

    July 1, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  21. Michael

    Dear Lemme Get This Straight,

    You must live in a parallel universe if you think the media treats McCain with the same deference it gives to Obama. NBC, CBS, ABC, and especially the sub-literate MSNBC literally grovel in front of the facile image of Obama. I think Olbermann and Matthews have already proposed.

    July 1, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  22. Jay

    Have you all learned nothing? We do not elect a president based on a nationwide poll. What matters is winning state-by-state. Show me some data that has Obama winning Florida, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, and then I will buy it.

    July 1, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  23. Susan from Scotts Valley

    People questioning his patriotism are just looking for a reason to not vote for him. How many times does he have to say that he loves his country before people will believe him? How many years does he have to serve his country or work for people in this country before people believe him? I believe it's just an excuse for what they really feel. As Holland said, most of these people are Republican and wouldn't vote for him anyway.

    July 1, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  24. Gaffer in Dover, NH

    50 over 45 is only statistical dead heat because of a lousy margin of error. In short "If we do a crappy job, we can't tell the difference."

    CNN is making it look close to drive up ratings. Disgusting.

    July 1, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  25. Obama All The Way

    No one wants grandpa at the helm. Especiallyin his flip flops.

    July 1, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
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