July 30th, 2008
04:13 PM ET
10 years ago

Poll shows Obama's trip didn't change race

Obama's trip abroad did little to alter the presidential race.

Obama's trip abroad did little to alter the presidential race.

(CNN) - It was a weeklong trip that drew blanket media coverage and sharp criticism from Republicans, but Barack Obama's recent tour abroad did little to alter the standing of the presidential race, a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll shows.

According to the survey - the first national poll conducted entirely after the Democratic presidential candidate's trip to Iraq, Afghanistan, the Middle East, and Europe - the race for the White House has remained virtually unchanged since late June, with Obama holding a 51-44 percent edge over Sen. John McCain. In a similar poll conducted one month ago, Obama held a 5-point lead over the senator from Arizona , 50-45 percent.

The CNN poll of polls, an average of several recent national surveys, tells the same story - a single-digit lead for Obama (48-45 percent) that keeps McCain within easy striking distance of his Democratic rival with less than 100 days before voters weigh in at the polls.

The new survey also suggests the trip - carefully designed to burnish Obama's foreign policy credentials - did little to alter voters' perceptions of how the Illinois senator would handle national security issues.

"Did Obama's trip help his standing with the public on foreign policy issues? Not really," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said. "Obama has not picked up any ground against McCain on foreign issues and some 52 percent think McCain would do a better job than Obama on the war in Iraq - virtually the same number who felt that way in April."

The poll also shows the presumptive Republican presidential nominee has an edge on terrorism, Iran, Afghanistan and the Middle East - in fact, every foreign policy and national security issue addressed tilts toward McCain. (Terrorism, Afghanistan, Iraq, Middle East, Iran, and Immigration.)

But in what is good news for Obama, the poll suggests few of the McCain campaign's criticisms of the trip have stuck - especially charges Obama was presumptuously acting as if he had already won the election, and claims he nixed a visit with injured troops because members of the media could not accompany him.

Instead, more than two-thirds of voters surveyed said the trip was appropriate for a presidential candidate, and 72 percent think Obama cares abut veterans and the troops currently in Iraq.

Full story

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain • Polls
soundoff (429 Responses)
  1. Naomi, Texas

    Didn't hurt him either.

    July 30, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  2. Hanging with Hillary

    I don't know who they are polling, but the trip helped ramp up my support for Obama. I was impressed by his speech in Berlin and I'm now more willing to donate to a campaign I had vowed never to fund.

    I am quickly losing any interest in McCain...he appears to be very out of touch with reality here at home AND in the Middle East. I am not impressed as I hear him make mistake after mistake while claiming to be the better informed candidate.

    Obama comes off as being more presidential and having a more open mind to accepting new information. I like his "citizen of the world" approach as opposed to McCain's goal of American hegemony.

    Yes, Obama's trip abroad made a difference in my mind–are you listening CNN?

    July 30, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  3. Greg from Big Island

    Polls don't mean a whole lot. I think it is for the media to have something to talk about. I think after Labor Day the polls will indicate something. I look for McCain to jump over Obama in August and early September and they will go back to being even. Obama is being hit negatively more and negative ads effect him more. The Olympics are coming up and people won't care until the Olympics and Conventions are over. Negative ads may heat up Obama's base if McCain gets nasty. Obama wins if young people pile up at the polls. McCain wins if angry Hillary Clinton supporters back him in droves.

    July 30, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  4. SRM - DC

    The real success of this trip will show up later after people internalize it.

    The media always look for an immediate "bounce" which is usually meaningless anyway.

    July 30, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  5. Chuck

    Typical rock star. 15 minutes are up Barry.

    July 30, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  6. Tony

    There are limits on the lead any candidate can have that are imposed by the fact that people give their support based on party line-thinking. So a poll within the general public may not be a good indicator on how well Obama is doing. Obviously this trip was a success and was viewed very favorably abroad. As for McCain he would have found fault with anything.

    July 30, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  7. Kim, KY

    That's too bad...I was hoping that it would wake up the American people to what he really is. He strutted around like he was already the Prez and then comes home and makes a statement that "he is what Americans have been waiting for" and so on...Give me a break!!! We do need a change but he certainly isn't it...GO MCCAIN...I can't believe I am saying that but with Obama as the Dem it has to be McCain. I was hoping to see his poll #'s drop tremendously...And for all you Obamamaniacs...keep your sarcasim. I think it's so funny to see all the negative comments you guys write when Hillary was supposed to be the negative one and have the negative supporters....MCCAIN 08, HILLARY we'll wait for you!!!

    July 30, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |

    The trip was not to bump his point spread (although it did), it was more to show that leaders of other countries are willing to sit down with him and for him to listen and gain insight. The bumps in point spread will come. No matter what, they will come after the first debate. I can hardly wait for that!

    July 30, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  9. J. S.

    He should have visited our wounded–most Americans support the troops even if some do not support the War

    July 30, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  10. Debby

    Well the trip was good but to over publicized and this might have killed the poll numbers.

    July 30, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  11. J.T. Jackson in Michigan

    I am a Obama supporter along with mostly everyone that I know. I knwo for a fact that the polls are deceiving in this election because most of my friends and family only use a cell phone or have restricted home phone numbers. Obama has the new generation of of voters behind him which includes mostly cell phone users and these pollsters don't call cell phones. I am confident that Obama will win. More people are seeing McCain for what he really stands for. He will say or do anything to win. All he does is attack Barack and follow his lead. He is against womens rights and the GI bill. So how much does he really care about the brave men and women he talks about so frequently?? Actions speak louder then words. The only words McCain manage to speak these days are attacks against Obama. More people want change and don' t want to continue down the same path we are on. Do a e-mail poll or a internet poll and see what the numbers will be then. More seniors support McCain and they are the main ones at home during the day to answer a call from a pollster on a land line phone.

    OBAMA 2008

    July 30, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  12. Marie in California

    Obama's sensationalist entertainment tour of the Middle East and Europe was, I guess, to develop instant foreign policy credentials (just add water and stir), while simultaneously playing to the mas*ses.

    I read from foreign newspapers....in Germany the crowd was FAR less than 200K and everyone seen in photos of the event was very young, lured there by Obama-paid free food, free beer, and free music by a favorite Reggae performer named Patrice and a hughly popular German band named Ray Monn. Only after that did Obama address the crowd, after they were fully sated with beer, brats and music. No wonder they cheered him! After all, he paid for the party!

    Helllooooo! This was just another set-up crowd! Hollywood and Madison Avenue at their best! Huge photo ops!

    I'm glad Obama didn't get a bounce in the polls after his American Idol tour. I think people are starting to get wise to his ways. Obama is sensationalist but without substance......and he can say nothing in the most eloquent manner!

    Was for Hillary, now for McCain!


    July 30, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  13. JohnS

    Barack just broke the 50% mark. 51% for OBAMA.

    A psychological milestone that will cause the GOP and McCain to spin their loosed wheels even more.

    McCain,- explain your policies and stop talking about OBAMA.

    July 30, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  14. Ex Dem

    that's because americans see BO for what he is....all talk no action.

    July 30, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  15. MikeH

    I don't believe the poll. McCain had a string of screw-ups while Obama was on his tour. Obama's only excess was the Berlin speech, a bit of a circus, but otherwise he did very well.

    Obama continues to do well while McCain continues to flub, example: concerning the 16 month troop withdrawal plan McCain says "I didn't use the word 'Timetable'" cue the video of McCain saying timetable three times. McCain says "I won't raise taxes", then McCain says Payroll taxes increases are "On the table" quickly followed by one of his campaign staff saying they weren't.

    Ancillary polls on trust with the economy, civil liberties, etc. are all very positive for Obama, so the narrow set of polls that don't show any change, in my opinion, are being guided by operatives infiltrated into polling organizations, to corrupt how the poll is conducted, or corrupt how the data is presented, to provide a sort of herd newspeak for the sheeple among us who can be swayed by what they think the group is doing. The other factor is that the pollsters are conducting telephone polling. Let them try cell phone polling and see how the results come out.

    Of course the final say will be with the voting machines. Investigation of Diebold machines used in Florida and some of the strange district vote tabulations there in 2000 gives me convincing evidence that the vote was rigged there. Unless there is a paper trail, a vote reciept, the vote could be stolen again unless we are vigilant.

    July 30, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  16. Tony

    When will Barack asked William Jefferson, the man with $90,000 in his freezer to resign?

    July 30, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  17. S. Denice

    No surprise here. Not many would expect his numbers to rise. I, for one, feel that the closer we get to the reality that a black man can possibly occupy the highest position in the USA, the more opposition he'll face. I have heard some really despicable things being said about Senator Obama due to his racial background. And in the words of Michelle Obama, they are just downright mean. Even if Senator Obama were to effectively reduce tensions in the Middle East, stabilize the economy, bring our troops home, find alternative fuel, unite the races, and restore America to her splendor and greatness, he would still be hated by those who can't get past the color of his skin. This is truly a sad time in American history and politics. In so many ways we are a nation of idiots. We would rather see a rapidly aging, can't-remember-important-stuff candidate become President just because he's blonde and blue eyes. So sad, so sad...

    July 30, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  18. Scott

    I'm just tired of polls. Since when did public opinion morph into the big bad survey monster? The real one is coming in November & hopefully I'll get the bestest, big-boy gift a birthday boy could want. Obama '08

    July 30, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  19. Willy

    Of course not. We all know he's a puppet for the DNC.

    July 30, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  20. Ms. White

    what the TV networks and other cable networks should do is an online national poll. That way we can see how people would vote ( if they are honest about their choice). Not these random samples that are not a true representative view of our great country.

    July 30, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  21. jr

    So, after all of the hoopla the magical mystery tour/media circus only mattered to the europeans who don't have a vote and absolutely don't have a clue?

    Wake up America! Obama, is not the answer we seek. He's just another empty suit politician who happens to speak well and provide good photo OP's He's just a puppet on a string being posed by his handlers in Chicago, the corrupt Daley machine.

    July 30, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  22. GOP

    Obama has been an underdog and will always be.

    Obama 08

    July 30, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  23. Joe Daley, Chicago

    0-bama has no substance, and it is too little too late.

    Where has he been in the past 3.5 years, being the Chairman of the Senate committee overseeing NATO, which contributes diminishing troops now, resulting in the current disaster in Afghanistan. Now this phony candi blames others for Afghanistan. Had he done 1% of his job that he was elected to do, perhaps, the condition of Afghanistan would not have been this bad, which requires 0-bama to put more US troops in.

    Where is his so-claimed sitting down skills to get troops from NATO?

    July 30, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  24. wendy

    Cable TV has everyone arguing and forgetting Obama's original theme. We must work together. It's getting buried deeper everyday under made up controversaries for cable TV to gain ratings.

    July 30, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  25. Daniel

    It wasn't supposed to, he was ahead when he left, and he's still ahead by all but one of the polls.

    Obama 08

    July 30, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
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