September 9th, 2008
06:14 AM ET
4 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
soundoff (256 Responses)
  1. elm

    Just say no to:

    More War McCain and
    Taliban Palin!

    His choice of a VP shows that indeed 5 years of brainwashing in a North Vietnamese prison camp has left damage.

    September 9, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  2. zack,new york, ny

    let's wait until debates

    September 9, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  3. gl

    I believe the polls will change in Obama favor. When the dust settle down. Polls really don't mean must becasue they do not count first time voters. Obama have the highest rate of getting younger people to get Register to vote. The suprise will be if they come out to vote in Nov. if so, Obama will win by a land slide. I have been campainging for the Obama camp all over in the Pittsburgh area, and each time it was over whelming with supporters from younger, black and white, men and women so I would not read to much into these polls.

    Post this one with corrections!

    September 9, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  4. Lone Star Wolf

    Not the way i see it CNN. John McCain and Palin seemed to have got a huge bounce. The momentum is plainly in their corner now.

    September 9, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  5. Roger

    WOW...THE HATRED SPEWING OUT FROM THE OBAMA SUPPORTERS IS INCREDIBLE. DO YOU REALLY THINK THESE PERSONAL ATTACKS YOU ARE LAUNCHING IS GOING TO MAKE INDEPENDANTS MOVE OVER TO YOUR SIDE?

    i REALIZE YOUR SCARED NOW AND SEN OBAMA HAS BEEN TAKEN DOWN FROM HIS THRONE, BUT YOU HAD TO EXPECT THAT HIS THIN RESUME WOULD BE QUESTIONED.

    September 9, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  6. Donald Of Orange County

    Voting for McSane says you have nothing in this world to live for. You already lived your life. So this election is all about having petty on an old out of touch Rep.

    September 9, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
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