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. Jeff

    This will be the first election in 20 years that I will not participate in. I have been a lifelong democrat but cannot support Obama. He is running on nothing but rhetoric and arrogance. As for McCain, well all I can say is uggghhhh...

    August 20, 2008 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  2. Terry in New York

    Barack will flip flop back as needed to get support back.

    August 20, 2008 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  3. Worst...Resume...Ever....

    The rock star crush is getting stale and folks are actually taking the time to look under the hood. Oprah's worst nightmare.

    August 20, 2008 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  4. fred

    ya know something. Barack Obama says he will notify his supporters via text message before anyone else knows. However, I'm sure CNN has people who will receive that text message too, as will all the other media people, so really, it would be much better for him to just introduce the guy at a rally. Does anyone else agree? The texting thing is a dumb idea. Maybe if he publicly sent the text message during a rally, right before he said who it would be, that would be better.......It will be weird that it will be sent through a text but that the media will pick up on it before Obama speaks.

    August 20, 2008 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  5. sandy

    He is going down, down, down.....yeah!!!!!Without Hillary the democrats will loose yet again....maybe he will wake up. I doubt it, get ready to see him loose.

    August 20, 2008 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  6. JohnC

    It's too bad Obama is blatantly non-committal towards the nuclear power issue. Yucca Mountain is the current repository under construction for nuclear waste that year after year gets underfunded so construction can't move forward at the pace it needs to. Obama's answer to greenhouse gas emissions is emission credits. In my opinion that's the wrong answer. Emission credits aren't new so Obama's solution is the same old same old. Low sulphur coal isn't news either. We need more nuclear power plants and lots of them otherwise fossil fired power plants will continue to pollute the air just like they've been doing for the last 30 years. There's nothing new in Obama's energy plan and there should be.
    I like John McCain's position on nuclear power and for that reason I'll probably vote for McCain this November.
    If Obama is saying we need changes in this country he needs to look to nuclear power to effect changes in the way we generate power. They are safe, quiet, and don't polutte the air or the water. There's no thermal impact either. Fossil power violates all of the above.

    August 20, 2008 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  7. Melvin

    I think too much is being placed on the McCain effort and not enough on Sen Obama and his own short comings. Yes, Sen McCain's campaign is having an affect, but the more we get to see and know Sen Obama, the less we like what we see and hear. He continues to back track on his positions prior to being annoited as the "presumptive nominee". The latest, paying volunteers in Philadelphia, when he had stated he would never pay volunteers who worked for his campaign.

    Last Saturday during the Evangelical Debate Sen Obama looked very uncomfortable, out of place and his answers seemed like they came from some internal hard drive.....he just did not sound natural. Then, after a poor showing came the "...McCain cheated" charge. McCain on the other hand looked and sounded relaxed, his answers seemed natural and not carefully contrived.

    And then there is Sen Obama's weak position on drilling for he really SHOULD change. We all want the alternative sources of energy. But dear Senator, they are years away and you know it. We need to start today with a plan which includes drilling, nuclear, conservation, change in life styles and alternative fuels. These must be taken together to solve our energy problem.

    The fact that Sen Obama has changed his mind on other issues, and not this one, is very hard to understand.

    I believe that the more we get to see and hear the Senator, the more we get to know him, the less attractive he becomes as our choice for President of the free world. As well, I am not sure I could listen to him for 4 years!

    August 20, 2008 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  8. Lynn


    August 20, 2008 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  9. Former Hillary supporter now McCain supporter

    This is wonderful news. GO MCCAIN GO!!! Keep chipping away at Obama's lead.

    August 20, 2008 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  10. Tom

    Why isn't the latest Zogby poll no news??? McCain is in the lead according to Zogby by 5 points, even though the media heavily favours Obama.

    August 20, 2008 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  11. Kevin

    The days of smug arrogance by the green (for inexperienced) candidate are over. The freshman senator is learning the cold, hard truth. The future is too risky for a novice.

    August 20, 2008 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  12. Denise Groves

    These national polls mean nothing. It is too early. It is the state polls that tell the story. Obma would be POTUS by now.

    August 20, 2008 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  13. Richard

    No suprise here. McCain will be the winner in November. We should have nominated Hillary because she could have beat McCain. Four more years of the same ol' same ol'. Thanks Barack supporters. No change in the future.

    August 20, 2008 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  14. Paul in NC

    McCain's 43% is his ceiling. Obama's 45% is his floor. But, as usual, this is great news for McCain!

    August 20, 2008 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  15. AF Vet

    Anyone who would support a man who feels its ok to kill an infant that survived being aborted has issues.

    August 20, 2008 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  16. ch

    Just released Zogby/Rueters poll shows McCain with a 5 point lead over Obama.

    Maybe the Obama nuts now see that Hillary was the stronger candidate.

    Yes, we can – ugh.

    August 20, 2008 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  17. Zet

    Give me a break! First claims are made that they're basically
    tied with Obama at the far edge of the statistical margin of
    error *ABOVE* McCain–i.e., the margin of error doesn't matter.
    Now you claim that movement within that margin of error
    is "ominous?"

    August 20, 2008 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  18. Suzanne

    He will not win unless he puts Hillary on the ticket! She represents HALF the Democratic party! Did I mention HALF? Eighteen million votes! All the other choices are ho hum and do not represent winning – Especially Biden who LOST by incredible margins!

    August 20, 2008 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  19. Tom

    Is this the same democratic convention where one of his chief rivals and critics is going to have her name on the "ballot" as well so that the world can (again) see just how many people didn't want Obama to be the nominee? THAT should be a positive moment. The man is simply not ready to lead, particularly in the days ahead of us and the Georgia/Russia conflict bore that out again as he first delayed making a statement, then made a weak one, then changed it to what John McCain had said a week earlier.
    Mr. Obama may very well be a great leader someday – Lord knows he has the charisma. But right now he is (understandably) showing his inexperience time and time again. Experience will bring real confidence (not youthful arrogance in an attempt to hide a lack of knowledge) and true convictions based on knowledge only time and practice can bring. Stick with politics, Mr. Obama, but step aside for another term or two and let a truly experienced candidate lead the way we all know she can.

    August 20, 2008 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  20. kathy

    that is some funny stuff, i am loving it

    August 20, 2008 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  21. A C-Span Junkie

    HEY BARACK !!!!! are you listening to the word on the street. Main Street says, HILLARY your handlers and bloggers are all wrong. My question is if you need a VP to give you credibilty i.e., national defense, economy etc. Then why would I not VOTE for the total package Clinton. I'll let your petty self centered rude nasty bloggers answer the question....

    Its Hillary to win all else is smoke in the wind 🙂

    August 20, 2008 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  22. Brian G, Sugar Land, TX

    Polls go up and down. What matters is how people feel on election day. The major issues confronting the US are not unknown, even the newly arising issue about Russia and Georgia.

    Certainly our military has played "war games" regarding a major power suddenly invading a weaker neighbor. Up until 2009, the problem is George Bush's to handle, neither McCain's or Obama's.

    August 20, 2008 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  23. PulSamsara

    Barack Obama for President of the UNITED States of America.

    August 20, 2008 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  24. Todd

    WHOOP WHOOP WHOOP!!!! GO MCCain... If no HILLARY, then NOBAMA!!!!

    August 20, 2008 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  25. ricardo williams

    Obama will prove the Polls wrong. America will know that their Greatest Fear will be their Greatest Victory. I remember when I was a child I was afraid of a gentleman who lost half his face in the Vietnam war. He could of hide with his wounds, but instead he went on to become a great leader and helped many wounded American soldiers and gave them the care they deserved, The Republicans want us to fear Obama. but he will prove America wrong, Obama will change the our path for the past 8 years that is not working and we will see the light of a new day in America. Americans know the definition of insanity "Doing the same thing over and over and getting the same result."

    August 20, 2008 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
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