September 8th, 2008
06:45 PM ET
10 years ago

CNN poll: Convention bounces cancel each other out

The presidential race remains close with just 57 days left until the election.

The presidential race remains close with just 57 days left until the election.

(CNN) - Why is the presidential race dead even after both parties have had their conventions? In a nutshell, it's because the conventions have not changed the basic dynamic of the race.

Earlier: CNN poll shows race dead even

New numbers released by CNN Monday explain just how the presidential race remains so close with 57 days to go until voters weigh in at the polls: the conventions were so successful for both parties that that each essentially canceled the other out.

The candidates' favorable ratings are identical (60 percent) - and almost identical to what they were before the conventions began. The GOP convention made Republicans more enthusiastic (an increase of 17 points). But Democrats are more enthusiastic as well (up 14 points), so an 11 point "enthusiasm gap" favoring remains: 71 percent of Democrats say they are enthusiastic about the election, compared to 60 percent of Republicans.

The candidates' strengths and weaknesses on the issues also have not changed over the last month - Obama retains his edge on the economy and health care; McCain's advantage remains on Iraq and terrorism.

Full poll results [PDF]

In fact, the Iraq issue is instructive of just how effectively the conventions molded public opinion. Before the Democratic convention, McCain had a 9-point edge; after the Democratic convention it was a tie, and now McCain has a 14-point lead on Iraq.

But not every convention theme appears to have resonated - although the GOP convention portrayed McCain as a maverick reformer, more Americans see Obama as a "real reformer" (48-41 percent) and as someone who is "not a typical politician" (56-34 percent)

Who would Americans be prouder to have as president? That's a tie - 46 percent say Obama, 44 percent say McCain, despite the emphasis on McCain's war record at the GOP gathering in Minnesota. On the other hand, McCain may have managed to best Obama on values (49 percent say McCain is more likely to share their values compared to 45 percent for Obama; in mid-August Obama had a 4-point margin on that measure).

It appears McCain was able to gain some ground on "change," a theme that the Obama campaign has long called its own. But in the wake of McCain's pick of Washington outsider Sarah Palin, the Arizona senator has narrowed Obama's lead on that item from 18 points to 8.

CNN Polling Director Keating Holland says both party's conventions clearly had their desired effect.

"Although McCain's acceptance speech did not get the same rave reviews as Obama's speech, the two conventions appear to have had the same overall effect - 48 percent said that the GOP convention made them more likely to vote for McCain, 51 percent said the same about the Democratic convention and Obama," he said.

But even as polls tighten in McCain's favor, a slim majority (52 percent) of Americans still think Obama will win in November.

"We'll see if that number changes later this fall once the public sees the latest round of polls," Holland said.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Extra • John McCain
soundoff (304 Responses)

    The blogs dont reflect the polls.And Bush with a high approval in 2004 was even in the polls.Now another 4 years later low ratings and a broke and ruined economy and you are trying to tell me the polls are still even.I have a bridge for sale.

    September 8, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  2. Jo in NY

    My fellow Democrats:
    McCain will enjoy this week of finally tying Barack Obama in the polls. This is a first for him. Let the Republicans enjoy their tying victory! For now...
    But do think all those of us without eight houses will let McBush win again for a third term.
    No Way, No How, No McCain!
    I'm gonna donate to Obama tonight and I am more comitted than ever to supporting the restoring of the USofA.
    Obama/Biden in 08!
    Wait until the debates and the issues and you will hear a lot of complaining by McCain about biases to his issues!

    September 8, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |

    It is amazing how a Beauty queen pans across the stage and give a gruesome attack speech and the polls are all of a sudden in the GOP corner.

    This really shows the epitomy and the disasterous turn this country has taken; to vote for BEAUTY OVER POLICIES. Sad but true!!!

    September 8, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  4. Kelby from Houston, TX

    More polling. I can't even thing of something funny to say....AND I'M WITTY. this is so depressing... not your poll, stupid. the fact that all of this polling is going on. If I didn't see the overwhelming support of Barack Obama in the city of Houston on these blogs and with everyone that I talk to, I would be worried. If the support for Obama wasn't so tangible, I would be worried

    September 8, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  5. Jim in Orlando

    How many Kool-Aid drinking Democrats does it take to populate a forum with a complete lack of knowledge ? Not too many !!

    The Obama plan ... "Ummm .. uh ...well ...uh ....if .... ummm ..... and .....uhhh".

    September 8, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  6. TyWebb

    You can't spell Sarah Palin without L I A R.

    September 8, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  7. pat

    To all who belive in the power of prayer go into your prayer closet or room or wherever you go to pray and ask for gods gudience and to intervean in this eliction and to reveal all lies whoever is telling them and to reveal his well for america do this from your heart and not your head no matter what your religon or your politcs are becaus we are all americans and a house divide cant not stand and this divide will take us down faster then anything ! If america fails them the whole world will faile so we need to seek god ubove anything else and we need to get our eyes off of these men and the so called POLLS ! and on to god because if we are changing everyday then we are really in trouble, because we know what god says about an unstable mind. People please stope leting politics and religon divide us as americas have we forgotten why people came to american or do we just want our way and we really dont care what god wants or do we think we know what he wants without asking him . maybe that is what happen to us last time or maybe we just listen to our pastors and church leaders without asking god for ourselves and forgetting that they are just woman and men and we all need to go to him for ourslevs and listen to him ourselves and not through someone else. GOD knows a mans heart no matter what he says he belive if we cannot see a mans heart then how can we really know him or her so lets trust god and rember he said that the nations are his and he puts over them whom he chooses ! I dont think we did that last time I think we just flowed our politics, our preachers, our pastors, our friends, and others but iam sure if we would have ask god we would not be in this mess that we are in now!

    September 8, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  8. Donyea Ringer

    people says obama plays the race card. So is Mccain /palin playing the gender card? I'm from Dayton,Ohio and the First thing I Thought When Mccain picked Palin is he's doing this because she a woman. Nobody can talk bad about her or question her or your a sexist.every public move she makes he's right there behind her checking her out. Their going keep her away until they are finished programing her. so it doesn't matter about her personal views. the mccain campaign is going use her as they see fit. in my opinion that's sexist

    September 8, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  9. Jill

    I am a Democrat and I love Hillary and wish she were on the ticket. With that being said I would not vote for McCain/Palin as a disgruntled Dem. Sarah and Hillary share a Y chromosome and that's it. They don't believe in almost any of the same things so this is actually an insult to woman if they Repub party thinks she will get a woman's vote merely because she is a woman. Are you kidding me? That's such an insult to women.
    Sarah believes in the constiutional amendment to ban gay marriage. She is against abortion rights. She has no foreign policy experience. She is not the woman for the job and cannot compare to nor should she be compaired to Hillary. We cant afford 4 more years of same old same old. People are going to loose thier homes and cant heat the ones they can keep, cant drive to work because gas costs too much and there are no plans to deal with education or the economy that make any real sense being spoken about.

    Please ladies if you are reading this...don't disappoint me or prove me wrong. As much as I would love to see a female in the White House, she is not the one and I guess its not our time. "No way ,no how, no McCain, No Palin"!!!

    September 8, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  10. Palin Lies Continuously!

    The fact that this woman stood in front of the nation and lied continuously and then talked down to community organizers as if they were nothing should really scare people. But the fact that mccain picked her is even more frightening. What was he thinking? Or did he? She is at best trailer park xxxxxx. She is ultra conservative, a huge spender, left Alaska in millions of dollars in debt and advocates teen pregnancy like its no big deal. Obama/Biden, the wise, enlightened choice!

    September 8, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  11. Karwolo

    Lets face it, the Dems don't know how to win elections. Americans don't vote based on the economy, war, health care, cost of education, home foreclosures, etc. These issues are boring. Americans vote on flag pins, middle names, moose hunting, pastors, anything that create drama. The Repubs understand this and they based their campaign on the latter 'issues'. Obama and co need to forget about this hope and dreams and get dirty. Americans love a good fighter (we really don't care what you are fighting for or why). The Dems are weak: if they can't fight the republicans Americans don't trust them to fight our 'enemies'. Americans love an opportunity to shout USA. GET DIRTY OBAMA, GET DIRTY OR YOU WILL JUST BECOME AN ALSO RAN.

    September 8, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  12. milo

    "Washington outsider"? Come on, is this a news story or a McCain press release? The woman was the queen of earmarks, she traveled to washington on a regular basis to get them and even hired a lobbyist. A number of the ones she requested ended up on McCain's list of shameful earmarks.

    What happened to honesty from the press? Well, here's one example disproving the old "liberal bias".

    September 8, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  13. Fred in Santa Fe

    "I don't even know what the vice-president does" - Sarah Palin, July 2008

    September 8, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  14. Robert Louisville, KY

    I believe that McCain's popularities is just because of Palin's popularity right now. Soon as that dies down and people see that it is the same McCain it will end. His policies changed just to get elected that is it he is still the same republican he has always been.

    September 8, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  15. deroy

    why haven't the media hosed out bill burton OBAMA spokeman?
    he knew about the mark foley page scandal in april 2006 but withheld the information from voters until sep 29th?

    does bill Burton support child abuse?

    well he didn't tell anyone about it?

    September 8, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  16. CA

    It's still a long time until November. The debates are going to be what decides it, I think. Just my humble opinion. It depends on who can get through them without making a major gaffe. Tensions will be so high at that point (they already are) that the potential for a big mistake is huge.

    September 8, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  17. Eli, Ohio

    I am less concerned about how much Obama or McCain are ahead or behind right now and very concerned about the reports that tens of thousands of voter registrations are being purged from the lists in Nevada, Colorado, Ohio and Florida.. What in the world is our democracy coming to when voters are having their registrations thrown out for apparently no reason?? This is not the America I want for my children. America's backbone is our democratic ideals, and if we are taking away the right of American Citizens to vote, we need to reconsider this whole idea of 'government of the people'.

    September 8, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  18. Rada in Florida

    to the idiots that keep bringing the cell phone polling... stay ignorant and dismiss what's happening. Obama will not prevail. We are going to loose this one.

    After the election we need to demand the resignation of Howard Dean and a complete overhaul on how we conduct the primaries. We should always put the voters first. Every time I have call the DNC in regards to this they have been rude and dismissive.

    The arrogance of Obama and our party is not to be believed. If Obama had done the smart thing, he would have picked Sen. Hillary Clinton for vice president. If he had, he would have united his party for sure and energized his base.

    September 8, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  19. Freedom of Choice --as long as it's only Obama or McCain

    Why is CNN not reporting how the Libertarian Party is the only one to submit their candidates on time for the TX ballot?

    The Democrats and Republicans (and anyone else) has the same deadline and the Dems and Republicans missed it. By TX state law, they cannot be included on the ballot!!

    The deadline was before McCain even announced his VP choice, and BY LAW in TX the candidates must be listed on the application for the ballots by the deadline.

    But what happened? TX Secy of State looked the other way and just is going to put them on the ballot. In fact, in other states, McCain's aides are trying to have Barr removed from ballots so that the process remains tidy–which I guess means that Americans have no choice and the two buddy parties keep their power.

    You should be outraged!!

    September 8, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |


    September 8, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  21. Dale

    Everyone who voted for Bush feels responsible for our bottomed out economy and our skyrocketed deficit, they won't make the same mistake twice, and if they do, McShame on them.

    September 8, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  22. California Girl

    I guess crying about how the media did not cover the McCain and Palin had its advantage. I cant believe the people are falling for them for real I am so dissapointed. Today my sister left to the Navy and my heart sunked when I heard my mother cry. He baby has left to the Navy !!! I dont want Palin nor McBush

    September 8, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  23. Independent Pam

    If Obama would have picked Hillary there wouldn't be so much drama going on right now. He missed the boat in a BIG way!!!

    September 8, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  24. Young Republican

    This presidential race is a no-brainer. We are involved in a war in two country's, we have Iran trying to get nuclear weapons, and an increasingly hostile Russia. You have Barrack Obama the most in-experienced, under qualified man to run for the white house in over a century and then you have John McCain a man with 22 years of military experience who has fought for this country. He's also a maverick who will free us of our dependence of foreign oil and give us alternative energy. He wont be able to walk on water and heal the entire world with his bare hands like Obama but it's a start.

    September 8, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  25. Shari, NY

    Wow, look at the picture, the man in the Obama hat is looking forward while we are seeing the back of the McCain hat!

    September 8, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
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