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. David

    Going negative won't help him. What he needs is to beat McCain in an unbiased, un-spun debate if there is such a thing. Town-hall meetings would have been a good option, but Mr. anytime, anywhere has shown up nowhere.

    August 20, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  2. ujw, ny

    I think the polls are much ado about nothing at this point. McCain will be out on vacation next week during the democratic convention and polls will likely shift in Obama's favor. The GOP convention will likely give McCain a boost.

    Let's see what things look like starting mid-September. Then maybe we'll have something to talk about.

    August 20, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  3. Steve

    It's still very early in the process. Polls conducted have very questionable accuracy. Money talks. Which of the candidates has received the most donations (and no, you can't include McCain's allowance from the RNC). Which of the candidates is running their campaign solidly in black ink? Hillary is drowning in red ink.
    McCain is a constipated, cranky old man of questionable mental faculties who has aligned himself with Bush, Cheney and that gang. The world pretty much views those boys as irrelevant. Hillary won't receive the call; she can't pay her phone bill. And no, Hillary supporters, she won't snatch the nomination from Obama; give it a rest. Obama will do just fine, thank you very much.

    August 20, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  4. Bubba

    He's got my vote.

    August 20, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  5. WHAT?

    mCCAIN NEEDS AT LEAST ONE BLACK VOTE, AND HE AINT GOT IT

    August 20, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  6. Mitchell

    If he gets a bump after the convention, he didn't after his trip, and polls also show he isn't gaining new supporters.

    August 20, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  7. Matthew Kolken

    McCain has opened a 5-point lead on Obama and is viewed as a stronger manager of the economy, according to the most recent Reuters/Zogby poll.

    August 20, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  8. IT'S TIME!!!!

    It's time for Obama to get off their high horse and go negative. If he doesn't he will join a long list of Dem candidates who lost an election

    August 20, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  9. Eric

    Who really cares either way, this country is going down the crapper.

    August 20, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  10. Matt

    CNN has run the "Obama's slipping in the Polls" story atleast a dozen times since the end of the primaries. Working EVERY single angle to a) take down the front runner, thus b) dragging out the competitive aspect of the race, thus c) making more people tune in to CNN and d) selling more expensive ad space because of higher ratings as a bi-product.

    They've done it to every single frontunner since the primaries began. It's LAUGHABLE!

    The American media is a joke. Don't listen to the bozos!

    August 20, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  11. Matt

    CNN has run the "Obama's slipping in the Polls" story atleast a dozen times since the end of the primaries. Working EVERY single angle to a) take down the front runner, thus b) dragging out the competitive aspect of the race, thus c) making more people tune in to CNN and d) selling more expensive ad space because of higher ratings as a bi-product.

    They've done it to every single frontunner since the primaries began. It's LAUGHABLE!

    The American media is a joke. Don't listen to the bozos!

    August 20, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  12. GO MCCAIN

    Hey LT for Obama–be careful quoting autobiographies. Someone might actually start questioning your man Obama's autobiography and pointing out a lot of discrepencies.

    August 20, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  13. CC Reston VA

    It has been written that America is going down and it starts with the vote for McCain. This is the vote that will doom America forever because of fear and racism America will destroy herself having learned nothing yet from the last 8 years. It's a pity but it will be fun if American elects McCain and starts crying one month after that. Stupid I tell you, some Americans are so stupid.

    August 20, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  14. NIKI

    I hope McCain and his Jerry Springer Campaign will not get away so easily

    August 20, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  15. Kiah

    Being that CNN reported on someones death which was NEVER confirmed by any credible sources, I NO LONGER TRUST your reporting because it's probably factless!

    Obama WILL WIN! Thanks for raising doubts everyday, giving us our daily HRC update, and most important ALWAYS giving typical MSM information!

    August 20, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  16. Carolina Girl

    I'll take this so called "fraud" anyday over the "richman" with twelve houses and the botox wife running this country. I want a real man that will get in there and roll up his shirt sleeves and work to fix the problems in this country. I don't want a Mickey Mouse President who says he knows how "real" Americans feel with the economy in crisis. None of my real American friends have twelve houses. Most of us are cutting back so we can continue to send our children to college, put food on the table, pay the house payment and continue to feed the dog.

    It is time for Change and McCain is just more of the same!

    August 20, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  17. Will from NYC

    oh yeah can CNN please post the electoral college polls... Obama leads there and is tied in some key states...

    Enough NATIONAL polls... they're utter nonsense and CNN knows it.

    August 20, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  18. Cardsgal

    I think people are starting to realize that Obama is all sizzle and no steak. As a Hillary supporter who believes the DNC and the media stole the nomination from her, disenfranchising me in the process, I look forward to Obama's defeat.

    Cardsgal
    Nashville, TN

    August 20, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  19. Nick - Arlington, VA

    ObamaBots are funny August 20th, 2008 3:55 pm ET

    Obama is going down. People are now waking up to see this Obama is a Carter.

    I will take a Bush over a Carter any day.
    -----------------------------------
    Really? what a joke you people are. That goes for you too PUMAs.

    August 20, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  20. CM

    It'll be a close one but it'll happen for Obama.

    You don't become the first black presidential candidate in US history and waltz into the Oval Office no matter how fed up people are of the GOP. Before this race the question was asked if America was ready for a black president.

    Some people aren't but the people who can put that aside are looking at the man best equipped to lead us out of the dark Republican ages.

    This bad press will just serve to energize the ground movement which is aggresively campaigning for Obama.

    August 20, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  21. Smart1

    Obama is just a more likeable and trustworthy guy with solid, sound, good judgment. Little baggage is also a huge PLUS! The choice is really a no-brainer.

    August 20, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  22. LIbertine, Fort Myers

    Great news..it looks like they two knuckleheads will have a split decision–thereby creating an opportunity for the only qualified candidate to lead us out of the mess we are in.....

    Bob Barr 2008
    Realistic, common sense, traditional values–grounded in our constitution and bill of rights.

    Libertarian Party–visit, donate, help us make "real change" in Washington.

    August 20, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  23. John

    Hey CNN, where did you get your statistic degree? The only way a poll can have no margin of error is if they poll every voter in the country. A poll can have a statistically insignificant margin of error, like 0.25% if 5000+ voters are polled, but when you take the average of a bunch of other polls, you need to add up the number of people polled in each individual poll to calculate your margin of error, not just blow that step off and say your poll in perfect.

    August 20, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  24. therealist

    McCain will win because McCain will put America first..

    August 20, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  25. Independent from FL

    The Tide is Turning!

    August 20, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
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