September 1st, 2008
10:58 AM ET
10 years ago

CNN Poll: Obama 49, McCain 48

Obama and McCain are in a statistical dead heat.

Obama and McCain are in a statistical dead heat.

ST. PAUL, Minnesota (CNN) - On the eve of the Republican convention, a new national poll suggests the race for the White House remains dead even.

Watch: Bill Schneider reports on the new poll

A CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll released Sunday night shows the Obama-Biden ticket leading the McCain-Palin ticket by one point, 49 percent to 48 percent, a statistical dead heat.

The survey was conducted Friday through Sunday, after both the conclusion of the Democratic convention and McCain’s selection of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate.

A previous CNN poll, taken just one week earlier, suggested the race between Sens. McCain, R-Arizona, and Obama, D-Illinois, was tied at 47 percent each.

“The convention - and particularly Obama's speech - seems to be well-received. And the selection of Sarah Palin as the GOP running mate, also seems to be well-received. So why is the race still a virtual tie? Probably because the two events created equal and opposite bounces - assuming that either one created a bounce at all,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

Barack Obama’s acceptance speech in front of a crowd of more than 80,000 people at INVESCO Field in Denver on Thursday night wrapped up the Democrats’ convention. It was one of the most widely watched political conventions in history.

The poll suggests that the convention made people who watched more likely to vote for the Democratic ticket. Fifty-one percent of registered voters said the convention made them more likely to support Obama; only 32 percent said they were less likely to back the Democratic nominee.

“Sixty-four percent rated Obama's acceptance speech as excellent or good, giving it significantly higher marks than any other recent acceptance speech. The Democratic Party’s favorable ratings went up, and the GOP's favorable ratings went down. Historically speaking, the convention was better than some and worse than others in the public's mind - not a home run, but a hit nonetheless,” says Holland

Less than 12 hours after Obama accepted the Democratic presidential nomination, McCain introduced Palin as running mate, surprising the political world.

So far, according to the poll, four in 10 Americans are not familiar with Palin. Thirty-eight percent of those questioned viewed her favorably and 21 percent unfavorably.

Men appear to have a slightly favorably opinion of Palin than women; 41 percent of men view her favorably, five points higher than women.

Americans seem evenly divided on whether McCain made a wise choice in selecting Alaska’s first term governor, who’s been in office for less than two years.

Fifty-two percent rate the selection of Palin as excellent or pretty good; 46 percent rate it as fair or poor.

Is Palin qualified to be president?

Fifty percent say she is unqualified to assume the presidency if that becomes necessary; 45 percent say she’s prepared for the White House.

In recent history, the only running mate to earn less confidence from the public was Vice President Dan Quayle in 1992.

Ultimately however, the Palin pick may have minimal effect on the race for the White House.

Almost six in 10 Americans say Palin’s selection as McCain’s running mate will have no effect on their vote. One in five say it makes them more likely to vote for McCain; one in five say it makes them less likely.

Three quarters of all voters think McCain chose a female running mate specifically because he thought adding a woman to the Republican ticket would help him win in November.

“If McCain was hoping to boost his share of the women's vote, it didn't work,” Holland said.

“Women now appear slightly more likely to vote for Obama than they did a week ago, 53 percent now, compared to 50 percent. But McCain picked up a couple of points among men. More important, McCain solidified his party's base with the Palin selection, dropping Obama's share of the Republican vote six points to just 5 percent now. The Palin selection did not help among women - that may come later - but it did appeal to Republican loyalists.”

The CNN/Opinion Research Corp. Poll was conducted from Friday through Sunday, with 927 registered voters questioned by telephone. The survey’s overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

soundoff (175 Responses)
  1. John Air Force Vet

    CNN why is your poll the only one like this. Gallup up by 6 – other up ,too. People check your pols at it is a bigger-better average and shows many states.

    September 1, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  2. c

    I do not have a landline just like millions of people in our country. My grandmother does, but she’s voting for Obama! So let us all laugh at this new poll. Maybe we should take a poll about this poll. Call me!

    September 1, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |

    I know that CNN will not show my comment because of what I have to say. CNN is 1# supporter of the Clintons. They tried to devide the dems when they found out that their sweetheart was never vetted, they ran a PHONY POLL on how over 50% Hillary supporters will not vote for Obama and now they have another extra, extra PHONY POLL on how Obama did not get any bounce. CNN, keep it up. If Obama loses this election, Hillary will not will never become a president.

    September 1, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |

    If the polls show things so close why is the feedback from blogs so one sided

    September 1, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  5. Barack Smith

    If I didn't know any better, I'd say CNN is creating their own "polling data" to manufacture the "narrative" of a close race where none exists.
    If a candidate REALLY drops 8 points OVERNIGHT, as the CNN "poll" suggests, that's truly news!

    September 1, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  6. Irene 4 Obama

    On Sunday, the Gallup poll had OBAMA UP by 6% over McCain.

    The best poll of all will be when we VOTE. It is the VOTERS who will decide the future of our Country. Senators Obama and Biden are the ones who will bring that CHANGE America needs. McCain is more Bush – heaven help us!

    With eight years filled with FAILURES........we are now offered the opportunity to DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.........VOTE!

    September 1, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  7. Mark, VA

    Wait until McCain get's his bounce. Prediction post Republican convention: McCain 50% Obama 47% Other 3%

    September 1, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  8. Clinton/McCain

    What happened to that 15 point bump the pundits were talking about? Looks like the party isn't united, as I suspected. It doesn't look good for the Democrats. They should have chosen the stronger candidate to run for president (Hillary).

    September 1, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  9. The Lady

    Obama rasied 51mill and John McCain raised 27mill, I am just confused on why more people are giving money to Obama but not voting for him????????

    September 1, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  10. Melanie Jones

    CHARLIE COOK, the director and founder of the "COOK REPORT," one the most respected polling organizations in the world, referred to the polls being cited by the capble news organizations, as JUNK POLLS. These polls are designed to generate ratings and/or mainly for entertainment purposes. According to him, the race is still OBAMA's to LOSE.

    September 1, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  11. Wendy

    I spent an hour last night going through Palin's views on the issues, once others do the same Obama will have a considerable lead in the polls. I hope everyone will do their research on this woman, including the CNN team. There is much info. out there, some video & audio clips of her which was shocking. She may be a female but not at all on the side of women. Her views on science & environmental issues are extremely out of touch with reality. Scary. I doubt the average voter would have anything in common with her.

    September 1, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  12. McWho?

    for having a three month head start, 26 years of "experience", being a "maverick" and the congress ratings so low...John McCain is surly under performing...i would think that he would be far ahead of the underdog Obama...i guess America has better judgment than McCain....and just think the Millions and Millions of Obama supporters who only use cell phones that have not been polled like my self

    September 1, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  13. Texans for Obama

    I am from Washington State and I have many friends that reside in Alaska. They were shocked she was chosen. She is being investigated for for using her power to try and fire her brother in law. Now, what does say about this woman> She is too emotional and puts her personal life ahead of good judgement.

    McCain has put this country in danger by selecting a no experience woman with 5 kids and one who has downs syndrome as VP choice. Who is going to raise this woman's children? What kind of mother puts her career first?

    What about our national security? I am scared to death he will die in office and this woman with zero foreign policy and national security experience will be our commander in chief. McCain has shown he has no judgement. I am sure behind the scenes most of the Republicans are also shaking in their shoes. Would you marry someone you only met twice? Heck No!

    McCain is going to lose by a landslide American's are not stupid!

    September 1, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  14. V London

    these polls are useless, most of them don't even follow all the statistical rules, making them infeasible for accuracy. Obama is going to easily win over 55% of the votes come november

    September 1, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  15. Rob

    there was a poll yesterday–Obama- 49–McBush-41–how come your polls are so different. why are you asking?

    September 1, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  16. Janet, USA via Canada(Toronto)

    What about us who don't own a land phone?

    In today's society the old polling system really doesn't hold weight!

    September 1, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  17. independentmind

    obama's support comes from those not polled. republicans will lose by 10 points nationwide in nov.

    September 1, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  18. Tennisguypitt

    Did anyone hear about Palin's daughter being pregnant at age 17, keeping the baby, and marrying the father? How's that for FAMILY VALUES? Oh the irony...

    Polls don't mean anything at this point. Let's wait until November.

    Obama/Biden '08!

    September 1, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  19. Chris Arendt

    Comparing only Palin and Obama on bringing change we would find that Palin is a better candidate than Obama.

    Both have minimal experience (Obama state legislater and 3 years as US senator, Palin small town mayor and 2 years governor) and both have no foreign policy experience. These things cancel out.

    However, Palin overthrew a corrupt system that was controlled by her own party and worked her way up that way. Obama, though, embraced a corrupt system to work his way up, changing nothing.

    To fix a broken, corrupt Washington, do we need someone who embraces the system or one who overthrows the system?

    September 1, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  20. sharon

    please stop with the "experience"debate. How about debating credentials and knowlwdge.(re foreign policy,economics,domestic policy,the constitution ,workings of congress etc etc) Does Palin have any credentials and knowledge re above to be selected VP? McCain touts her 12 years of executive experience and implies that the Obama/Biden combined don't compare to her record.She spent 10 years part time as a small town (not a city) councilor and mayor and a short stint as Gov (the campaign is into it's 19 the math).If that is "executive experience" , it is highly over rated no matter how McCain trys to spins it. Her economic credentials........her small town was left 20 million in debt when she left office as mayor.I think credentials and knowledge trumps her so called "executive experience".canada

    September 1, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  21. Brian B (Va)

    This Palin nomination is a smoke screen. The GOP is running an covert, underground campaign to register voters that will never vote for Obama/Biden. Recent history is that Bush received 12 million more votes than he did in 2000. Don't be surprised that McCain will recieve more than 75 million votes...these will be the good ole boy votes...people that have never dreamed of voting before...people that don't participate in the polls...we have no chance here.

    September 1, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  22. Robert

    I think the lack of bounce for Obama clearly shows that all the talk about Obama is a main street media making and NOT HOW THE PEOPLE REALLY FEEL.

    Obama and the DNC have remarkably blown the year that the Dems should have had the White House in a cake walk. that Obama is against a real opponent, one that the Dems cannot pull strings to have undermined.....well, time to lose once and for all Senator Obama. And, when it comes time for re-election.....try doing some work between now and then so you may actually have a record to run on. HA HA HA

    September 1, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  23. Mar in calif

    Obama followers are afraid of MCcain and Palin, that's why they're talking so negatively about them. Now turns out that Hillary has more experience than Palin??? YOU Nobama followers hated Senator Clinton. I am a Hillary supporter who will be voting for MCcain, and not because he chose a woman, but because NObama just cares about himself, all he cares about is to become the first black to be a president. He is going to say anything we want to hear so he can make history. Nobama and Michelle are disgusting. NO WAY, NO HOW, NOBAMA

    September 1, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  24. mollygonz

    That's funny because the Gallup poll for the last three days shows him up, first by nine, then by six. Anyway, the Obama Campaign pays little attention to polls as alot of the polls are taken with likely voters, not first time voters. No way, No how, No McCain!!

    September 1, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  25. Chris Arendt

    People say McCain chose Palin simply because she was a woman. Did the Democrats pick Obama simply because he was black?

    Neither has any experience and Palin overthrew a corrupt political machine in Alaska. Obama embraced a corrupt political machine in Chicago.

    On bringing change to Washington, I would want Palin over Obama anyday.

    September 1, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
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