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. James

    So, nothing new. More people still prefer Obama to McCain even with his perceived lack of foriegn policy experience.

    The republicans continue to only influence the people who don't like Obama anyway. They see the right wing media blitz for what it is, an empty bag of distortions and in some outright lies.

    It's still too early to say anything definite.

    July 30, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  2. Bubba

    Yeah, like I vote for whoever's leading the polls. Get a reality check. McCain has to sling mud just to get a headline, while Obama's making news.

    July 30, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  3. Obamalism

    Of course it didn't, no one wants a socialist for president... at least most of us don't.

    July 30, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  4. Bob Bacchus

    So Obama has moved from a five point lead to a seven point lead but all that means is that McCain is within "easy striking distance"? Seems to me that McCain has been within "easy striking distance" for over three months now but he just hasn't done it. I'm wondering why McCain has been unable to make a dent in Obama's seemingly permanent lead, kind of an interesting question. It would be nice if somebody, say a "journalist" would look into it. There wouldn't happen to be any of those around here still would there? Perhaps something conveniently missing is that for two polls in a row now Obama has over 50%, kind of puts the chill on at least one media criticism of him.

    July 30, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  5. Capt. Smash, Salt Lake City, Utah

    Obama would poll better if they would quit calling everyone over 65 and cling to there guns. I have yet to have anyone call me and poll me. You can buy polling list and tell the list company what demographic you want your list to be.

    July 30, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  6. MMN-Milwaukee WI

    I think McCain is putting together a new ad to blame Obama for Alaska GOP Senator Ted Stevens’s legal woes.

    If you spit into the wind, it will blow back on your face McCain

    July 30, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  7. Bob Indianapolis, IN

    The fact that the race is so close shows how terminally ignorant some people are...I guess the past eight years were just about everything the country could ask for...endless war for oil, politicization of the Justice Department, government scationed torture, stolen elections, the looting of the treasury by cronies in the military-industrial complex...UNFREAKING BELIEVABLE!!! Does America have a death wish? Seriously...a vote for McSame is a vote for the Death of the American Dream. It's that simple!

    July 30, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  8. Marine Vet

    Who cares if it changed the race. The fact is McCain is a scumbag millionaire pig who has nothing on his agenda beyond bomb the pants of Iranian civilian women and children. He has absolutely lost who he claims to be and shown he is a snake in the mud – VERY DANGEROUS!!!!

    July 30, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  9. Allison

    Hmmm...probably b/c most sensible Americans can see that he did it for the photo opp.

    July 30, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  10. Jeb

    The polls are very misleading.
    They don't call first-time voters, and they don't call cell phones.
    So that leaves out the majority of those that will most likely vote for Obama.
    I will safely predict a landslide victory for Barack in November.

    July 30, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  11. H-ROD


    July 30, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  12. jean paul

    Not so many American care about foreign policy. We now know that Obama is likely to build American foreign relation than John McCain with the Warm welcome he got. Americans are more focus on the Economy and will be moore like to choose Obama over McCain since current President(G Bush) has not done better on the Economy

    July 30, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  13. KG

    Why would the trip change anyone's mind about how Obama would handle international or national security issues? It was a "grip and grin" trip. Just a bunch of photo ops. Everyone on their best behavior. Let's see how Obama would handle it in a true national or international crisis when the tensions are skyrocketing. I can see it now, Obama comes in all smiles and starts to talk about his world utopia and the other countries tell him he can take his utopia and shove it. Flowery talk and photo ops are cheap and easy. Reality is hard work.

    July 30, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  14. A Nightingale Sings in Berkley Square

    No wonder there is no bump, He didn't say anything worthwhile except to say we need change. Hello? what kind of candidate is this who doesn't say anything of substance.

    talk is cheap Obama. You must say something of value like John McCain. McCain wants to ease our pain at the pumps and all obama and his zealouts can do is make fun of McCain's efforts.

    Obama is risky and gets riskier daily. What a pair of real Americans Bill and Hillary would make if Hillary were the nominee. They wouldl defend our values. Unlike obama who continues to "dis" our values.

    Obama is the riskiest candidate we have ever had for the office of POTUS.

    He does not share your values and will re-energize the welfare system. Why else would 95% of the African Americans support his candidacy. The only change he offers is the change in your purse when he gets done with you.

    July 30, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  15. Dave in Orange County, CA

    What in the world?!
    How can anyone following this race not be impressed by Obama's meeting's with Gen. Petraeus and the multiple heads of state *and* opposition leaders?

    Sen. Obama is about 10x more prepared to lead than that cranky old man that confuses Shiites and Sunnis.

    McSame foreign policy consists of giving Billions $$$ to Oil companies and continue to pay for Iraq while average Ameriacans suffer through this recession....

    Vets for Obama!

    July 30, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  16. Jonathan

    I mean the campaign was mistaken to believe that just traveling through those countries would boost Obama's foreign policy credentials. The fact still remains that Obama is a first term senator running for president. He has no experience in really any aspect of government which is causing this Democrat to vote for McCain!

    July 30, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    cnn you're retarded.

    July 30, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  18. No-one cares about foreign affairs.

    Sad but true, the impressions of each candidates abilities in foreign affairs is grounded largely on the fact that few Americans actually care enough to look at each candidate's platform and ability with regard to foreign affairs.
    People simply repeat whatever the echo-chamber says and move on.

    That's great for McCain, since the echo-chamber largely (illogically) holds him to be the better candidate on foreign affairs. However, since the only reason the voters give him that title is because they don't care enough to look into either candidate carefully with regards to foreign policy... I don't think that his "advantage" on foreign issues will help McCain in November.

    What people DO care about is the economy and energy. Neither candidate is correct on energy, but Obama clearly holds the advantage on economic matters, and the more people gradually understand the correlation between threatening Iran and higher gasoline prices... the less they will favor McCain on energy – regardless of the fact that the Obama campaign is a bit misguided there as well.

    In short, Obama might not have gained anything in foreign affairs, but there is little to gain there... and he's leading on the issues that matter.

    July 30, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  19. A Voter for Intelligence/Honesty in Govt

    so what the poll really says is that the constant bashing by McCain and the media's attept to capitalize on any slight error on Obama's part did not hurt him.

    You have published what McCain was ahead in but have overlooked what Obama is stronger in.

    July 30, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  20. Texan for Progression

    We Americans are fickle. What exactly has McCain offered regarding foreign affairs that makes him more qualified than Obama? Think about it...he did and still does support the war in Iraq, he only recently agreed that we could leave Iraq within Obama's timeframe, he doesn't garnish the same level of enthusiasm outside our borders as Obama, and yet he claims to have better judgment and more experience. That my friends is empty rhetoric. Even worse, Americans overwhelmingly disagree with the war in Iraq, but only marginally support Obama over McCain (according to the polls anyway). Unless you are a PUMA, racist, or wealthy, this makes no sense. God help us if 40 plus percent of Americans fall into either of the first two categories.

    July 30, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  21. Texas trail puppy!

    Watchout GOP Fear Machine we shall not be SwiftBoated this Year, Americans are taking back the Whitehouse.

    July 30, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  22. Joe Unger (San Francisco)

    This makes sense to me.
    Obama's tour was so short and rushed, going from country to country for a quick stop, that it was fairly useful towards determining how effective he would be with world leaders.
    The Obama supporters, however, seem to feel that since no world leader punched Obama in the face, then that demonstrates he would be able to get along. All in all, what I gather is the only ones who thought this trip "proved" Obama to be effective regarding foreign policy were the diehard Obama supporters who most certainly had their mind made up before the trip even started.
    I won't say Obama will be ineffective but this trip was all window dressing and too lightweight to be of use.

    July 30, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  23. A.J.in Fla

    A recent ad from the McCain Campaing quaters calls Mr. Obama the best known celebrity in the world. He is now in the same league with Hitler, Mussolini and Osama BinLaden....!!!!!

    Folks, wake up to reality...!!! Mr.Obama is a political Impostor with global ambitions and heaven only know how many deals have he already made with liberals, socialist, anarchist, communist, extreme radicals and other undesirables all Over the world The media should investigate, in fact they should have correspondents in every country
    in Europe, the Far and Middle East and as significant In Latin American Countries,most paramount in Venezuela.

    July 30, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  24. Jaime in Texas

    I knew is wouldn't. Having campaign rallies in Europe does not make you qualified to be President.

    July 30, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  25. H-ROD


    July 30, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
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