August 20th, 2008
06:15 PM ET
6 years ago

Poll of polls: Obama's once-comfortable lead gone

Obama's lead is down to 1 point over McCain.
Obama's lead is down to 1 point over McCain.

(CNN) - For Barack Obama, the Democratic convention and the bump in the polls that is expected to follow couldn't come soon enough.

According to a new CNN poll of polls, the Illinois senator's once-comfortable lead over McCain is down to only 1 point nationwide - potentially troubling news for Obama as he gets set to accept his party's nomination in Denver.

Obama now leads McCain 45 percent to 44 percent, down from a 3-point margin in a CNN poll of polls yesterday and down from an 8-point lead in mid July.

The seemingly rapid drop in the polls could be due to the reemergence of national security issues following the crisis in Georgia, giving McCain an anvil to hammer away at Obama's inexperience. When Russian troops invaded Georgia two weeks ago, McCain vigorously denounced the action and warned of consequences. Obama's reaction was more measured, and potential voters noticed, CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider said.

"Which candidate do voters believe is better qualified to deal with Russia? McCain by better than 2-1," Schneider said. "More experience in military matters and foreign affairs."

CNN Election Center: Check out the latest polls

In a year when the Republican brand is reeling, CNN Senior Political Researcher Alan Silverleib says the Obama campaign officials should be concerned their lead appears to have become so tenuous.

“This ought to be a landslide Democratic year, but right now the Obama campaign is at risk of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory," Silverleib said. "They’ve been slow to respond as McCain has successfully raised a series of questions about Obama’s basic fitness for the presidency."

"The pressure is mounting for Obama to regain the initiative as he heads to Denver for what is certain to be one of the most critical weeks of his campaign

But can the Democratic presidential candidate rely on the post-convention bounce? Maybe. From 1976 to 2004 every major party nominee has gained ground - 8 points on average - in polls taken immediately after the convention. But in the last presidential cycle, neither President Bush nor Sen. John Kerry received any bounce from either of their conventions.

soundoff (222 Responses)
  1. Keith

    Does CNN really expect us to believe in these rather silly, repetitive and moronic polls? Every day it's something new. For example, Obama up by 2, next day, Obama lead gone, two days later, McCain up by 6, next day, Obama and McCain tied. Sorry, don't believe these polls, never will.

    August 20, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  2. IT'S ALL DOWN HILL FROM HERE!

    For Obama that is!

    It's like this when the Georgia crisis came up well Mc Cain looks Better.
    When the Oil prices are 4$ a gallon and Mc Cain is talking about let's stop sending 700 billion a year to countries that don't like us, and be energy dependant even if it means off shore drilling along with otherenergy solutions well Mc Cain looks better>
    The only time Obama looks better is if theres no crisis and no problems then he's your man!

    August 20, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  3. Veterans for Obama and Ex-Republicans for Obama!

    Who cares about polls, they ALL can be manipulated in one way or the other. Bottom line...Americans are sick of the path they have been on and are ready for change! Barack Obama will be the next POTUS! We don't want someone who has voted with Bush 95% of the time. We don't want fear/war mongers any more. We want hope! We want a candidate that really cares about its Veterans, not only 20% of the time when corporate America is in his pockets.

    I'm white
    I'm a woman
    I'm middle-aged
    I'm a Veteran
    I'm an ex-republican

    I'm voting for Barack Obama!

    August 20, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  4. Eric

    Has anyone else realized that the majority of Obama's supporters, the younger crowd under 30, can't be polled properly. Most of them do not have land lines and thus their numbers are not listed, so there's an entire section of America that's not being counted in these polls. And let's face it, these random polls in August have nothing to do with what happens in November.

    August 20, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  5. Joan

    The simple problem Obama is facing is that he's peaked (he actually peaked during the Dem Primaries)....and the peak isn't enough to win in November. He has been stuck with the same approval rating for months, with variations of only a few points.

    August 20, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  6. ken

    positive campaigning does not work with the shallow american voting electorate. they don't care about history, about intelligence, about facts or trends...what they care about is who is attacking who and they take it to be the truth whatever is said

    Do you need help, DNC? I can help run your campaign for you. I'll pick you up 5 points in a week. I just can't believe they are standing by again watching their candidate be bludgeoned by a puke like McCain.

    I'm beginning to wonder if the DNC is merging with the GOP the way they have let, and I say LET, the Republicans win elections they shouldn't be close in.

    Again, do you need my help? GET TO WORK OR MY MONEY AIN'T COMING ANYMORE

    August 20, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  7. NO MCBOMA

    USA !!!! IS WAKING UP EVERY DAY !!! WAKE UP YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY NOW !!!

    August 20, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  8. zina

    Folks, please check out the state by state polls! You can see that Obama still has the lead where it counts: THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE.

    August 20, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  9. Isaac

    What exactly are the polls asking people? I'll concede that McCain has more experience than he does when it comes to dealing with Russia, and I would honestly say so if asked in a poll. However, that shouldn't automatically be interpreted as people swinging towards McCain in the general election. There are a whole range of other factors in determining who we want as the President.

    August 20, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  10. Linda

    This is called the Backtrack Obama Slide.

    Yep, dance to than tune.

    Hillary as the nominee,
    Or McCain it will be.

    August 20, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  11. B J

    Its funny how the polls are either not important or they are not polling the right people unless he has a 10 point lead, then they are ok. Obama had a rough week, with the abortion thing and the interview I am not surprised that he has lost some ground.

    August 20, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  12. Anita

    Where do these polls originate and which people do they poll? Has anyone written here ever been polled?

    McCain has gotten a bump by speaking falsehoods in his messages, and one poll that I saw McCain was ahead because of the economy. This guy has even said he doesn't know anything about the economy so who is being polled, all Republicans?

    I really think Obama is not hitting hard enough. McCain never makes a speech without a big dig at Obama.

    August 20, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  13. It's all down hill from here!

    For Obama that is!

    It's like this when the Georgia crisis came up well Mc Cain looks Better.
    When the Oil prices are 4$ a gallon and Mc Cain is talking about let's stop sending 700 billion a year to countries that don't like us, and be energy dependant even if it means off shore drilling along with other energy solutions well Mc Cain looks better
    The only time Obama looks better is if theres no crisis and no problems then he's your man!

    August 20, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  14. ssm

    Thanks to the LIAR PASTOR... He helped McWar.. he was telling in CNN that he saw tears in McWar's eye when he told about his dumped former wife and Georgia. This LIAR Pastor wants to get away from his nasty Cone of Silence..

    August 20, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  15. mileshigh

    One more thing: As a young person, I agree with the comment from 'Hillary and Barack- fighting for Change,' about the unexpected surge from the youth. HOWEVER, John Zogby, the most accurate pollster uses email to contact people. I would know, Im registered to receive those emails and just filled out his survery last week.

    August 20, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  16. offwallst

    I KNOW IT WILL BE VERY PAINFUL TO MAKE CHANGES TO YOUR ELECTORAL COLLEGE MAP CNN.....BUT U NEED TO GET OUT A RED CRAYON AND START FILLING IN FLORIDA,OHIO,AND COLORODO......

    AND ON TUES NOV 4....ONLY A FEW STATES WILL BE BLUE....

    AND ON NOV 5...6....7.....THE USA WILL HEAR LESS AND LESS OF MESSIAH OBAMA.....

    AND JUST TO THINK THAT OBAMA IS ON THE SAME PAYGRADE AS MCCAIN.....AND YOU THINK YOU HAVE MORE EXPERIENCE AND BRAINS THAN CLARENCE THOMAS........

    YOU WILL BE SHOCKED OBAMA TO FIND OUT HOW MUCH THE USA WILL SEND YOU A STRONG MESSAGE....GO HOME!!!!!!!!!

    August 20, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  17. applecrispbetty

    Republicans are the best at starting wars and keeping wars going. That's what the American people want.

    August 20, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  18. P, CA

    Saying "Hillary would have been (insert made-up number here)% ahead of McCain by now" is committing one HUGE fallacy. What: are you an Oracle now?

    No one can see an alternate timeline. Theorize all you want. But it would be more helpful to take that time and energy and be a bit more useful with it. Maybe you could support the candidate closest to Hillary in ideals. Maybe you could donate and help her lower her debt. Actions speak MUCH louder than words, and a million times louder than theories that can never be proven.

    August 20, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  19. Licensed to Vote

    America will vote its consciece and put the country back on track for our kids sake and their kids sake.

    This is a Democratic year and if Obama wins by 1 percentage point or by 10 percentage points it doesn't really matter. As long as we put our faith in our vote and we take back our country.

    It comes down to what America wants a critical thinker or Mr. Magoo.

    August 20, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  20. Miss something?

    Obama was on vacation while McCain remained NEGATIVE = the polls don't surprise me...

    But again, you're talking about people with land lines... So many Obama supporters are wireless...

    Wait for Nov. 4th...

    August 20, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  21. Phantom of the Oprah

    I expect NO bounce but rather a decrease after the Convention.

    Many hoping for Unity are waiting for HRC to be VP.

    When THAT does NOT happen, many more HRC supporters will feel the insulting slap in the face and even MORE will defect.

    The convention is not even going to succeed as a SHOW of unity.

    The Obama supporters remain the ugliest, nastiest, most insulting, bigoted undemocratic haters I have ever seen support ANY candidate.

    Not hopeful uniting nor inspiring but quite concerning regarding the future of the party.

    August 20, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  22. cheri

    Lisa,

    Obama will lead us to WW3 with his incompetence!

    August 20, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
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