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. shadowgovernment

    Hey look, kids, it's the trustworthy CNN Poll of Polls that CNN loves to mention every CNN minute it possibly CaNN!

    ~ the Shadow Knows

    July 30, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  2. Tanya

    Trip to Iraq and Afganistan was completely appropriate.
    The rest was a totally unnecessary, costly fluff.
    Does average US voter care whom adoring Berlin crowds want for a President?
    After all that screaming died down, it is still an economy, um.., Senator!

    July 30, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  3. Maritza

    Of course it didn't change race, that's a no brainer , why? the substance is not there,,the lack of real backbone knowledge of the issues that plague our country, Obama is the surface "candidate , the bright flash bulb on your face, beneath the over exposed exterior is just fog, millions are mislead by the fluff, if you listen carefully to his speeches , they are very general statements, most consist of simply what people want to hear, no examples of how he will fix things , no broad understanding of whatever he's rambling on about , just surface , generic words, back it up with the experience form executing change , and actual actions he's taken on any issue it simply does not exist, that's why he hates Town hall debates , only there we see how uninformed he really is , how he lacks tramendous experience, he gets by with the help of the liberal loonies on the far left , the media is his biggest base of support, don't you dare ask our boy any challenging or difficult questions , the hype is overkill , it's a shame . The issues we face in this country and abroad while we are in a war are far to important to leave it up to a frivolous candidate , too much power to hand over to someone so underqualified.


    July 30, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  4. therealist

    CNN your message board has become a joke. Little more than a hate forum for drunken liberals at a progressive kool-aid party.

    July 30, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  5. Mike in MN

    Obama finally goes on an way overdue trip, snubs the troops in Germany because he can't use the them for a political photo, says the US troops have performed magnificantly but at the same time the surge really has not made much of a difference and there are people who really thought he should get a bump in the polls? And Democrats say Republicans are stupid. Who was supposed to change their mind? Insulted Republicans? Troops supporting independents? Oh, I forgot maybe angry Hilliary supporters who say they are voting for McCain, that's it. Guess they aren't in Obama fantasy land yet.

    July 30, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  6. David in Illinois

    It wasn't supposed to prompt a tectonic shift in the polls. It was a fact-finding mission, a chance for Sen. Obama to see firsthand and hear firsthand what's on the mind of our friends and allies. No matter what McCain would have you think, it wasn't purely political. Yes, it was political in the sense that Obama IS a presidential candidate, but that's about all. He didn't go over there just to score points in the polls.
    McCain should go over there again. He might learn more about where the borders lie, and the difference between Sunni and Shia, among other things. But that would be a start for this "highly experienced" senator/statesman. Hah! Give me a break!!!!

    July 30, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  7. Sammy

    Obama's trip did have some political gains for him, just not enough to change peoples opinions much. If nothing else he didnt screw up (the hospital bruhaha depends on your POV about listening to the militarys admittedly minor concerns). But if McCain wanted to complain he should have focused on Obama's foreign policy positions and forget about how he appeared in front of the crowd and the canceled hospital visit. At least that way his arguments would have actually dealt with something important.

    However, I do find it interesting that the military waited until the last minute to raise their concerns.

    July 30, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  8. Lorna, NY

    This is because 48% of the people is not paying attention to their future. How stupid can Americans be? Do they love the way things have been for the past 8 years? Anything would be better than that.

    July 30, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    No, it didn't change Race, Obama is still not Black.

    July 30, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  10. shannon

    I think that McCain's next ad is going to be that Obama is responsible for global warming.

    July 30, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  11. Ekuwa

    It wasn't about polls it was about building bridges with leaders.

    July 30, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  12. jimtranr in Oregon

    Keep in mind that a good portion of that trip was taxpayer-funded and that two other senators, Chuck Hagel and Jack Reed, were along for the most important part of it (i.e., Afghanistan and the Middle East). And just how much did the media bother to air _their_ views about what they saw?

    I really don't like the fact that I had to pay what amounts to a forced-against-my-will campaign contribution to "burnish" the foreign policy and national security image of the junior senator from Illinois.

    July 30, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  13. Tejano

    Campaigning abroad with the media in tow and nothing to show for it.
    Welcome to the real world Obama. We the people don't give a crap about what Europe or the Middle East thinks about you. This contest is for the Presidency of the United States. We will NOT elect someone that we cannot trust with our nation.

    McCain will triump on a single issue. He is America and was willing to die for it, That sirs is true Patriotism, not wearing a flag or claiming
    to be a Patriot. Like McCain said we would rather him lose the election than concede defeat agains the Islamic Jihadists.

    July 30, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  14. banderson

    I hope this stuff backfires on all the conservatives. Their entire mantra is to deceive, misdirect, and propangandize everything, It doesn't matter if it is true or not.

    July 30, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  15. JH

    MSM was constantly asking why Obama can't break 50%. Now he's done it and the headline is 'Poll shows Obama's trip didn't change race'. No surprise though. Looks like CNN took McCain's media whining bait.

    July 30, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  16. Vanessa

    Sure it did. It showed the detractors that Obama would be welcomed in the world and that people across the globe would like to see him as the leader of the free world. Your polling is off.

    July 30, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  17. brenda

    It is hard to believe that people still are falling for the scare tactics that the Republicans are famous for. It is time to grow up and not believe in those scary stories McCain and his buddies tell to get your vote and make a choice based on reality. The press worked hard to make sure that Obama didn't get a bump for his speech and travels. Where was that so-called "Liberal Press?" Yet another untrue myth the old cronies are always putting out there to get their way. I'm sick of it.

    July 30, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  18. Turnabout is Fair Play

    The ONLY reason Obama's poll numbers haven't risen yet (they will very soon) is because the media have been on full tilt with Obama no matter what he does. Once they turn their spotlight on McLame and see just how bad his memory and gaffes and lies are getting, this will become a media circus with him as the clown and Obama's ratings will climb steadily as people see McStain for the old, tired, Geritol drinking warmongering fool that he is. Watch and see what happens after their first debate.

    July 30, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  19. The Other Jon

    The perception of Obama as a leader and executive still survives, and perception is key for any campaign.

    Plus the trip gave McCain time to demonstrate exactly what kind of campaign he plans on running: one based on slinging mud, blatant lies, and devoid of substance.

    July 30, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  20. MZ


    July 30, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  21. Wayne

    An Obama trip to Europe, the Middle East or to the moon will not change the fact that he is a black man with a funny name running in a country that is 70% white and has a poor history with regards to race relations.

    How can a country that elected a bafoon Bush twice look at a brilliant and intellectual Obama and say he's risky?

    July 30, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  22. kim hussein taylor portland, oregon

    we all know polls are nonsense! but i think all of the polls that have the race so close are fake, there is just no way it's that close. i think they're pretending it is cuz mccain is doing soo poorly and they dont want to disocurage repubs from voting in november.

    i know of only one person who is even CONSIDERING voting for mccain, and even he says he will probably vote democrat in november for the first time, cuz mccain is such a disaster! and this is a guy who is a die-hard bushy who listens to rush and even QUOTES the bloated windbag! i dont know of a single person who is definitely voting for mccain.

    July 30, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  23. Cindy Hussein McCain

    The trip was not meant to change the race.

    July 30, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  24. Clyde

    Who's winning Mr. McCheese? I think not.

    Obama 08.

    July 30, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  25. josh

    Umbama's trip didn't change race... dispite the medias best attempts.

    July 30, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
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