August 20th, 2008
09:23 AM ET
10 years ago

CNN poll of polls: Obama lead cut in half

A new CNN poll of polls shows Obama's lead is dwindling.

A new CNN poll of polls shows Obama's lead is dwindling.

(CNN) - In what could be an ominous sign for Barack Obama just days before he is formally named the Democratic presidential nominee, a new CNN poll of polls out Tuesday shows the Illinois senator's lead over John McCain has been cut in half in recent days.

According to CNN's average of several recent national surveys, Obama's lead is now a slim 3 points over the Arizona senator, 46-43 percent - half of his advantage in a CNN poll of polls one week ago, and down from a high of 8 points in mid-July.

Election Center: Check out CNN's electoral map

The latest poll results come amid increased attacks from McCain on Obama's readiness to be commander-in-chief and the re-emergence of national security worries among voters in the wake of the Georgia crisis.

“Over the last week, we’ve seen Sen. Obama’s lead in the poll of polls cut in half,” noted CNN Senior Political Researcher Alan Silverleib. “This change was likely driven by a renewed focus on foreign policy after Russia’s invasion of Georgia, as well as by Sen. McCain’s willingness to launch more aggressive attacks against Obama on issues such as off-shore drilling."

A Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll out Tuesday evening was the latest national survey to indicate Obama's lead is dwindling, putting the Illinois senator ahead of McCain by only 2 points, well within the poll's margin of error. The CNN Poll of polls also includes new surveys from Quinnipiac and Gallup.

But the recent downturn in the polls for Obama may not last - the Democratic White House hopeful is headed for a week of what is likely to be overwhelmingly postive coverage as he names his running mate and officially accepts his party's presidential nomination.

"The big question now is whether Obama can successfully regain control of the campaign agenda as we head into the Democratic convention," Silverleib also said.

soundoff (612 Responses)
  1. T GUY



    August 20, 2008 06:28 am at 6:28 am |
  2. Dems 4 McCain

    He's a weak candidate the Dems never should have nominated.

    McCain 08.

    August 20, 2008 06:32 am at 6:32 am |
  3. William

    All the more reason to pick Hillary as his VP, with her at his side, they would have a landslide victory.

    Obama/Clinton 08

    August 20, 2008 06:34 am at 6:34 am |

    are these polls been taken from landline phones? if so then i'm not surprise at the resultS but, if it was taken otherwise then i wonder why. the republicans have given this country a bad reputation. why will anyone in thier right mind would want to elect another republican. especially JOHN MCBUSH all he wants to do is sent more kids to war. anyone who votes for MCBUSH will have innocent people blood on their hand.

    August 20, 2008 06:35 am at 6:35 am |
  5. Jeremy

    Of course he's going to lose some ground...people are beginning to notice what an "empty suit" he is. I think Hillary said it best "He's got a speach he made at the convention"...or something like that. It's almost like the shock and awe campaign in see expect spectacular...but it was nothing. In the last month Obama has shown you what it's like to have no stand on's easy to flip flop when you "are what people make you". It's a shame that half of you are going to vote for are so uninformed.

    August 20, 2008 06:41 am at 6:41 am |
  6. Paul

    No surprise. Americans, in general, are not very bright. They vote against they're own self-interest for ridiculous reasons, like believing Obama is a muslim or to keep the gays from marrying. Such a shame – America has truly become an Idiocracy.

    August 20, 2008 06:42 am at 6:42 am |
  7. Dave

    Wow... could it possibly have something to do with the fact that people are starting to realize that he is all hype and no substance.

    After watching him on Saturday with Rick Warren, I am convinced he would be VERY bad for our country. He can't speak without mumbling or using 'ummmm' at least once per sentence.

    "McCain's attack ads"... please... I think that CNN and the rest of the media should be ashamed of themselves. Call it like it is... McCain beat the pants off of Obama fair and square and you guys are doing everything to hide that fact.

    August 20, 2008 06:42 am at 6:42 am |
  8. Ken

    Not surprising given the negativity coming from the McCain camp. As much as people claim they dislike negative ads, they sure respond to it.

    Just listen to the two candidates and its easy to tell who is having a dialogue with the voters and who is just attacking the other side while only offering cheap sound bites that mask as policy.

    Drill here, drill now is not an energy policy, its a bumper sticker, Saying we'll stay in Iraq until we win is not a war strategy. Questioning your opponents patriotism is not a debate.

    McCain talks to Americans like a father does to a 5 year old, Obama talks to them as if they were mature adults,

    August 20, 2008 06:43 am at 6:43 am |
  9. clarity

    McCain's gain with negative campaign tactics has peaked. He will not receive any additional mileage. Obama is still in the lead and will slowly pull away from the pack going into the DNC convention and sustaining a healthy margin until elecion day.

    August 20, 2008 06:44 am at 6:44 am |
  10. Larry

    Punchless. The lies, innuendo and deceit of the Right is starting to impact him. If he isn't willing to fight it will continue to trend this way.

    August 20, 2008 06:45 am at 6:45 am |
  11. Bob (NC)

    Polls don't really count because it's not a % of Americans that elect you (otherwise Sen. Clinton would be the nominee).

    However, Obama's character does count and that's been going downhill for a while now that people are getting to know him better. That is what this poll shows.

    Just depends which states the most reluctant Obama voters are in as to who will get to the 270 needed for victory.

    Should be an interesting election in November...

    August 20, 2008 06:46 am at 6:46 am |
  12. Intelligent Voter

    These polls go back and forth all the time. They've been as low as tied before, however, consistantly the've shown that Obama is ahead. The headline is worded that way for dramatic eye catching effect.

    I think in actuality, the voters that will come out for Obama will be much more, as polls typically tell you who's going to vote among "likely" voters. Many of the voters that Obama's campaign has inspired and signed up to vote are in the "unlikely voters" category.

    McCain has a group voting for him that wouldn't change their vote even if he outright litterally promised them that he would do a terrible job. They're just voting on party lines and couldn't care less about actually learning about current events or where the two men stand on issues.

    August 20, 2008 06:52 am at 6:52 am |
  13. Not surprising at all

    Three points, six points, eight points...What's the difference?

    The truth is the Democrats were handed a gift after 8 years of Republican rule. They spurned it by rallying around an inexperienced and polarizing figure who shows himself to be undeniably racist and elitist.

    The Democrats were fools for not choosing Senator Clinton who is experienced and bipartisan and a hugely strong advocate for those in need in this country. She has the ideas to turn this country around and the chutzpah to do it.

    Better luck next time!

    August 20, 2008 06:53 am at 6:53 am |
  14. Davonne from Atlanta

    I don't pat attention to these silly polls....november is where all of this really matters, and expect all of the closet racists to come out and vote for McCain....i've seen the interviews conducted by cnn and it really is a shame how some people just really cannot handle havin' a black person as prez.

    This was mostly from the older senior citizen and the over 40 white crowd....alot of those ignorant folks were born in the 30's and 40's so hopefully that racist crowd will be dyin' off soon.....and i've noticed that the younger folks are waaay more tolerable of race relations than the older crowd....i understamd that racism will always exist, but it's a shame that we have some ignorant fools that may also be deciding who the next prez will be.

    August 20, 2008 06:58 am at 6:58 am |
  15. marie - ohio

    It was just a matter of time. Hopefully it will continue until election day. Go McCain........................

    August 20, 2008 07:02 am at 7:02 am |
  16. Mark

    People are starting to wakeup and they finally see Nobama for who he really is. He doesn't have what it takes to be President. He would make a good White house speaker though.

    August 20, 2008 07:03 am at 7:03 am |
  17. Jack Mehoff, Orlando

    Pride goeth before the fall--hubris is Obama's achilles heel and it's bringing him down–

    August 20, 2008 07:03 am at 7:03 am |
  18. Marie

    If one can trust any of these polls, his lead is cut in half because of McCain's negative ads. Really, is that the real reason? I would think it would be that the ads are one thing, the the fact that the MSM's promotion of McCain is far superior than any negative ad could possibly be. Mccain can make falsehood after falsehood and either gets excused or ignored by MSM. He doesn't get questioned on any point of substance. It's as though because he is 'McCain' a 'So Called War Hero' how dare anyone even try and challenege him. Afterall, if you do, your not respecting the so called 'Hero' and your being unpatriotic. Reminds me of the same MSM characters behavior during the drumbeat of the Iraq war. It seems the McCain camp writes the talking points it wants to stress at any given time and hands it to MSM to promote and deliver. It's a cheaper way to deliver the news in corporate America and it protects both corporate interests.

    August 20, 2008 07:03 am at 7:03 am |
  19. randy

    Most armericans dont like it when somebody bad mouths the country non stop, really dont like it when he is studdering the whole time and is running for president. The marxist thing is kind of a no no also. Where is Hilliary when you need her, race would already be over. Thanks Pelosi and Reed

    August 20, 2008 07:03 am at 7:03 am |
  20. Tom in New Hope, MN

    Eighty percent of Americans say our country is on the wrong track. That means Republicans are part of the 80% and yet the polls show it to be a race too close to call. There is very little change between John McCain's and George Bush's policies, which means we will continue down the same track we are on now – the wrong track. You can't vote for McCain and hope to get this country repaired from the dire shape we are in. The Republican themselves say they have lost their way and their principles. Our economy needs to be fixed and John MCain says he doesn't know much about the economy. John McCain is willing to get your son or daughter killed in a war without end. Status quo is okay with John McCain for our country when eighty percent say we are on the wrong track. It sounds like the maverick is not listening to the electorate just as the Bush administration has done for the past 8 years.

    Vote wisely!

    August 20, 2008 07:04 am at 7:04 am |
  21. Minnesota

    Obama Looks good, Sounds Good...........Too often, I've been burned too often by those who look good, sound good and know everything. I'll go with the guy who has been burned a few times.

    August 20, 2008 07:04 am at 7:04 am |
  22. Regain the sanity

    People are finally seeing what's been evident all along... The O-man, Barack Hussein Obama, is an eloquently tailored empty suit.
    No resume, no accomplishments, no experience, no original ideas, no understanding of how the economy works, no understanding of how the world works, nothing but abstract empty rhetoric devoid of
    real substance.
    His candidacy is ridiculous and should not be taken seriously by any
    thinking American.
    While McCain may not be the one of choice if given additional options, he beats hands down and light years over what Obama has to offer in any area other than that of destroying our nation. Obama is a very dangerous man and people are finally seeing that, thank God.

    August 20, 2008 07:05 am at 7:05 am |
  23. Patriot

    Again with the Polls?
    They do not survey or poll people via cell phone, which is the majority of his base. Please keep polling and in November when it's a land slide everyone will say Wow what happened. It's called technology and the pollsters haven't caught up to it yet

    August 20, 2008 07:06 am at 7:06 am |
  24. chris

    oh god. i hate polls. they really mean nothing. who do you know that answers the phone (a land line at that) to chat with some underpaid pollster?? Losers and old people. Thats who.

    August 20, 2008 07:08 am at 7:08 am |
  25. Judgment over Experience

    The real question is – Why hasn't mccain who is very well know, been around forever and the so called more 'experienced' of the two, hasn't lead once against the new guy???? The fact that Obama has maintained a consistent lead over mccain is very interesting. Obama has my vote and millions of others and will win in novemeber despite the repugs vicious attacks and hillary and her supporters dementia.

    August 20, 2008 07:09 am at 7:09 am |
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