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. Arthur J.Goodman

    By what method do you have Nader getting 6 per cent of the vote.
    Any person with any sense at all knows he"s going to get practically
    nothing this year.

    July 1, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  2. Kathy in Oregon

    Why am I not surprised?

    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 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  3. Griff

    Still trying to make the News I see?... McCain by a street....

    July 1, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  4. Justin from Alabam

    Can someone please explain to me why people think Obama is unpatriotic? I just don't get it....

    July 1, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  5. Iowa Voter

    I'm a democrat who is very disapointed in the democratic party. Come this fall I will be voting for the person who I feel is better qualified to lead this country and it is NOT OBAMA. Democrats for McCain will decided who will win this election. GO MCCAIN 08. Clinton 12.

    July 1, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  6. Ryan

    Uhh. You guys need to hire an editor. The headline says "statistical dead heat." The article says Obama is up by 5 in a poll that has a 3.5 percent margin of error. That is, by definition, not a statistical dead heat. Did your headline writer read the article?

    July 1, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  7. Rob indetroit

    Obama will pull ahead , while mccain changes his mind like he change's wive's, and diaper's.

    July 1, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  8. Rick

    "America is starting to wake up.

    Obama is starting to lose ground.

    By November, McCain will be up by 15 points.

    No way we can afford to have Obama as President."

    With gas prices and the price of corn going up, nothing is affordable

    July 1, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  9. Mariel, Ohio

    obama is going down in Nov. and I cant wait :D

    Nobama '08

    July 1, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  10. Len, Colorado

    This is a CNN poll. Newsweek has Obama up by 15 and California poll has him up by 12.

    We need a new direction and Obama will give us a new direction.

    Please look at McCains voting record....last year he voted 95% with this administration and this year 100%. He only voted about 6 to 8 times. He did not vote for the New GI Bill. He was not influential in that bill. In fact go to the congressional record and you can see all his votes. Let us not be swayed by the bias in news coverage. See Newsweek for July 7-14th....Did not pay property tax for condo in San Diego...(4 years of not paying). If that was Senator Obama or Senator Clinton the major news media would be all over it and hanging them by thier toes...

    July 1, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  11. Greg K

    Funny how a so-called liberal site calls a 5point lead a statistical dead heat. Even if the MoE is +-5%, the 95% confidence interval is that it is less than that and the implication is the lead could just as likely be 10% for Obama as it is a dead heat.

    Understandibly those not educated in statistics will simply read the headline and take it at face value because of the word 'statistical'. Take home message is journalists are questionable mathematics writers.

    July 1, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  12. margo

    That anybody would be dumb and stupid enough to vote for Obama Mr. Ho great Obama??????? You magesty!!

    When the time to vote gets here! You will be happy to vote John McCain,Be realistic!! HE IS THE ONE !!! McC!!AIN 2008!

    July 1, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  13. Benson

    All lies? Seriously?

    Gallup has the same exact numbers, with other polling agencies in the same area. Sorry to rain on the parade of the Obamites, but this election is going to be closer than you thought.

    As for the Newsweek and Bloomberg polls, they were flawed to begin with. The sampling of the latter even gave Dems a 17-point ID advantage. In 2006, the advantage was only 2 points. Following Watergate and the epic defeat of Ford, it was only 15 points.

    July 1, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  14. John Powalski

    Only in CNN's crazy math world is a 5 point lead with a 3.5% margin of error a "statistical tie".

    I guess the poll they had to use simply didn't fit their narrative. Why not try REPORTING the news for a change??

    July 1, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  15. voter'svoice

    Put Hillary's picture there, that's the true American Image!

    July 1, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  16. jfs Memhis, Tn

    WAY TOO EARLY................ both need to go through the nomination process and several debates. People are currently concentrating on paying bills and eating................voting is too far away to be bothered.

    July 1, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  17. C from Texas

    Don't worry democrats, as soon as Obama start dropping more points he'll add H. Clinton to the ticket as VP.

    Have you guys not learn? this guy will say or do anything to win this election. The more he opens his mouth the more damage he does to his self.

    McCain '08

    July 1, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  18. Tera Patrick

    Back to the issues ....

    So today it was revealled that most people killed by handguns are not from criminals intruding into people's homes but rather by their own hands because of suicides.

    In fact, when "accidents" and suicides are combined, there hasn't been a time in more than 20 years when they where the number one cause of death by hand guns.

    Senators, what say you now?

    July 1, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  19. Chris

    Aw crap. I'm really, really tired of tied presidential elections. I mean it. How can this even be possible with the horrible track record displayed by the last Republican to win the presidential election? HOW DOES THIS KEEP HAPPENING? Where is the outrage at the GOP? There's such a long list of offenses against the interests of the American people, you could fill up an encyclopedia of the current administrations and the GOP congresses miss deeds.

    The keys of victory seemed to be all but delivered to whichever democrat won the primary, and in true fashion, the DNC has somehow found a way to OR was the other way around? Has the GOP stuck to their formula of disinformation and found the right candidate for the task?

    I think I'm going to buy a cabin on the beach of some tropical asian paradise. This has got to stop soon.

    July 1, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  20. billygoat

    Read Realistics comment down below. That about sums it up. He's 100% correct!

    July 1, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  21. edmond

    IT IS DISTORBING THAT ANY NORMAL HUMAN BEING WILL EVEN CONSIDER VOTING FOR THE REPUBLICAN
    GOD BLESS AMERICA
    GOD BLESS OBAMA.

    July 1, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  22. Ken Pittsburgh

    Why is it that we have a new poll every day enough already wait till fall

    July 1, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  23. Anthony Falkowski

    I am an Obama Supporter. I am also a Wesley Clark supporter.
    But in this exchange between Gen. Clark and the McCain Camp, I am appalled at how Gen. Clark is being portrayed. It is these Soundbites, that offer almost nothing to the conversation that I abhor.
    And I strongly applaud Gen. Clark for this most recent clarification of his statements. This is what intelligent, informed, and civil discourse looks like. I am hopeful that we can raise the public commentary to this level of information. Our Democracy is predicated on an informed
    electorate. Let's accord our fellow countrymen the respect of a high minded discourse so that they can make a reasonable judgment at these most critical times on our Nation, our Great Nation.

    July 1, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  24. OBAMA 08

    get out of the race you old man.

    July 1, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  25. voter'svoice

    WHERE IS MY POST?

    HILLARY IS THE BEST FOR OUR COUNTRY! WEAK UP AMERICA!!!!

    July 1, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
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