September 10th, 2008
04:08 PM ET
2 years ago

CNN battleground polls: Race a dead heat in key states

Sen. Obama campaigned in Virginia Wednesday.
Sen. Obama campaigned in Virginia Wednesday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – New state polls indicate that the race for the White House remains a dead heat in four crucial battleground states that could determine the outcome of the election.

CNN/Time Magazine/Opinion Research Corporation polls for Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire and Virginia out Wednesday suggest the race between Senators Barack Obama and John McCain is statistically tied.

The survey has Illinois Senator Barack Obama up 4 points, 49 percent to 45 percent, in Michigan and ahead by 6 points, 51 percent to 45 percent, in New Hampshire. Both states voted for Democrat John Kerry in the last presidential election.

The poll has Arizona Senator McCain up 5 points in Missouri, 50 percent to 45 percent, and leading by 4 points in Virginia, 50 percent to 46 percent. President Bush kept both states in the Republican column four years ago.

Virginia hasn't voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since Lyndon Johnson took the state 44 years ago. But Obama is working hard to try and turn the red state blue: He's made numerous campaign stops there, including events Tuesday and Wednesday this week.

"The geographic patterns in Virginia are pretty much the same as in 2004, with one exception: In the area around Norfolk, Hampton Roads and Virginia Beach - a region John Kerry lost by four points - Obama appears to have a 13-point advantage. That's surprising for an area with several naval bases, and the headquarters of Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network. “Obama's getting about the same support in Northern Virginia that Kerry did four years ago,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “But that wasn't enough to turn that state blue in 2004, and it's not enough in 2008. Obama needs to do better in Northern Virginia if he hopes to carry the state."


Michigan has voted for Democratic presidential candidates in the past four elections, but it's a state that McCain hopes to turn red this time around. McCain and his running mate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, campaigned in the state on Friday.

“Something may be happening in Michigan,” adds Holland. “Oakland and Macomb counties, the Detroit suburbs that were the home of the Reagan Democrats, went for Bush in 2004 by a combined total of just one percentage point. But today McCain has an 18-point lead over Obama.

“So where is Obama making up the ground he is losing in the Detroit suburbs? In the southwestern part of the state, Obama currently has a 9-point edge, even though that area gave Bush a 19-point margin four years ago," he says.

While the overall political climate appears to benefit the Democrats in 2008 - thanks to an unpopular Republican president, an unpopular war in Iraq, and an ailing economy - the race for the White House remains tight, both in national polls and state polls.

"All four states are voting the same way they voted in 2004, although all are close and the Democratic ticket is doing slightly better in each,” says CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider. “It's as if very little has changed in four years. In all four states, partisans are lining up solidly with their party Independents are the key swing group. Independents are voting for Obama in New Hampshire and Michigan and for McCain in Missouri and Virginia."

The CNN Electoral Map suggests that if the presidential election were held today, Obama would win 243 electoral votes to McCain's 189, with 106 electoral votes still up for grabs (270 electoral votes are needed to win the White House). CNN's Electoral College estimate is based on several factors, including the most recent state polls, voting trends and campaign advertising spending.

The CNN/Time Magazine/Opinion Research Corporation polls were conducted Sunday through Tuesday, with 966 registered voters in Michigan, 940 registered voters in Missouri, 899 registered voters in New Hampshire, and 920 registered voters in Virginia questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points in Michigan, Missouri and New Hampshire and 3.5 percentage points in New Hampshire.


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soundoff (193 Responses)
  1. L.A.

    GO OBAMA!!!!!!!!

    September 10, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  2. Palin Rules

    Its so funny the pumas are helping us win this election but now we can win without them. So, its safe to say thanks but no thanks. Go home and bake us some cookies.

    Palin 2012

    September 10, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  3. Roger from CA

    I'm getting tired of the "meme" that the mainstream media are somehow "biased" for Obama or liberal. That couldn't be further from the truth, what with the breathless and continuous coverage of the Palin "phenomenon" and of the SMALL

    September 10, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  4. sjp

    it seems as though this will come down to florida, ohio and possibly virginia or missouri again, it will be interesting to see if the people suffering in those states stick with what got them there or step out and go a new direction.

    September 10, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  5. Palin Rules

    Hey pumas, we won without you but if you still want to help, go get me a beer.

    palin 2012

    September 10, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  6. Adam

    Everything is as Hillary said it would be.
    Barack Obama would crumble under the attacks of the Right Wing Maching.

    Thank you DNC for another Lost attempt!

    HILLARY 2012!!!!!!

    September 10, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  7. Chris, Antioch, CA

    These are great results for both of them, indicating that they're playing good defense. The Palin pick probably turns off voters in NH. The ever-weakening economy helps Obama in MI. Having the evangelicals come home in VA and MO help McCain.

    Of course when we learn more about Palin–how extreme her views, especially those concerning women, are and how dangerous a selection she is–we expect these numbers in all four states, with the exception of maybe MO, to swing towards Obama even more.

    He's riding out the GOP convention bump just fine.

    Obama / Biden 08 and 12

    September 10, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  8. Fav

    If Obama was as smart as everyone claim he is, if he was as desirous of true and prosperous change, he would have picked Hillary.

    I love Biden to bits – but don't agree w/ him being 2nd to Obama.

    I really do think, had Hillary been picked, this race would have been decided already.

    At the moment, i am more than ever undecided and, will possibly write in Michael Phelps.

    September 10, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  9. No Hillary = No Obama

    Not for long. Looks like McCain outsmarted Mr. Harvard.

    September 10, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  10. Ramen Dude

    Anytime Obama campaign brings up something legitimate against McCain/Palin, RNC cries "sexist". Are you fricking kidding us?! Have you thought of Saudi Arabia, Emirates, rest of Middle East, Asia, and Russia. Those countries give elevated meaning to sexism. If McCain kicks the bucket, and this woman becomes the president, she can't complain to the world "that prince Abdullah was sexist to me!"

    Give us a break!!!

    September 10, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  11. Roger from CA

    I'm getting tired of the "meme" that the mainstream media are somehow "biased" for Obama or liberal. That couldn't be further from the truth, what with the breathless and continuous coverage of the Palin "phenomenon" and of the SMALL bump that McCain is receiving in the polls (as if the bump is some unexpected, structural change in the race).

    This article is similar–describing in the headline as a "dead heat in key states", when several of these figures are completely in line with the pre-convention polling in several states. But this TONE gives the impression of some sort of dire wave against Obama.

    September 10, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  12. Rick atl

    TALK ABOUT THE BLOGG YOU JUST TOOK OFF WERE 490 OF 500 PEOPLE WERE TIRED OF THE GOP AND THERE LIES AND NEGATIVE ADDS. TALK ABOUT HOW THE GOP ARE USING SOMETHING TO PROTECT KIDS FOR POLITICAL GAIN?...WHY THE HE*L THIS AINT NEWS?

    September 10, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  13. Palin Rules

    Someone please tell hillary to go home. Her and her pumas are useless now, this election is over.

    September 10, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  14. Rudy NYC

    The same people who approve of George Bush, approve of Sarah Palin. The conservative base of the GOP. Does that say anything about where Palin stands on the issues?

    We can only guess at what her opinions and positions might be. We can only look at her staunches supporters and say. "Hmmmm."

    Palin has yet to meet the press. Camp McCain knows that will be the pivotal moment in the home stretch. But, she really needs to make more appearances in front of cameras fielding questions. The debates alone are not enough.

    September 10, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  15. Brian Rich

    Obama is going to swamp Michigan. He didn't even campaign there all spring and he's ahead in the polls. If people in these states want to give the future a chance, and if they want to forget about the past eight years as quickly as possible, they'll give Obama a chance.

    After all, what can Obama do wrong in four years that is any worse than what Bush did in the past eight years? At least Obama isn't guaranteeing a continuation of the economic policies of the Bush Administration.

    September 10, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  16. Alabama Dem

    These polls are interesting, but do they represent the truth. I have never been called for a nationwide poll. The truth may be that Obama supporters are unable to take part in the poll, because they have to work two jobs to survive. If the polls are close then I hope this nation does not fall for Mccain's pander. He screams countrty first,but his policies will not put the U.S.A first in education, or first in special skills jobs, or first in prosperity,or first in providing health care, or first in moral authority, or first in financial strength, or first in less unemployment, and definetly not first in energy independence. Barack gets, so I hope people will WAKE UP!!!!!!

    September 10, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  17. Fighting for Obama Since he is too political correct!

    I am glad Obama is working hard in Virginia. From what I deal with at work, he has got to keep hitting the GOP with facts and issues and maybe he can turn a few more South Virginians. They are a hard crowd.

    September 10, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  18. Iack Jodell, Minneapolis, MN

    LISTEN UP, AMERICA! McCAIN/PALIN = BUSH/CHENEY ALL OVER AGAIN! McCAIN = BUSH 3! An identical twin is an identical twin, and we've had enough of Bush style politics!

    OBAMA/BIDEN '08!!!!

    September 10, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  19. Bob Indianapolis, IN

    The Reptilicans aren't gonna know what hit them!

    September 10, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  20. Bodysnatchers

    McCain-Palin has to be the worst ticket since the beginning of our country. If this is what we've come to, then we are much worse off than imaginable. McCain will NEVER be my president.

    This ticket is the laughing stock of the entire planet.

    September 10, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  21. redneck for obama

    i hope peeps vote for the 'unity guy'. obama would be good at bringing common folks together.

    September 10, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  22. Marge Hibbing Mn

    Gee how come the dragon slayer obama is not points ahead. The democrats tried to convince us in the party that obama obama obama was THE ONE. Looks like the, again, picked the wrong candidate to shove down our throats.

    Golly golly golly Miss Molly if Hillary was the candidate she would be 20 points ahead.

    September 10, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  23. Count VA 2008 ... were making it Officially BLUE

    Northern Virginian HERE...... and I will tell all you .WE ARE VOTING OBAMA FOR SURE!!!!!!!!!!

    September 10, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  24. mark

    HOW is it a dead heat? Palin is a joke – a good looking, sharp tongued joke. It seems her biggest accomplishment is motherhood – which is wonderful, but not for leading this country – esp. with a running mate closing in on his mid-70s and with a history of health issues. Is America THAT dumb???

    September 10, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  25. Me!

    I don't understand how Hillary voters could vote for McWar and his pit bull. She obviously is not a Hillary, and she called Hillary a whiner. But that of course was before she had to try and walk in Hillary's shoes. Don't you see McWar is just using you to get into the white house and then it will be all about his agenda!

    And where is McCain? He is hiding behind his attack dog. What I want to know is who is at the top of the ticket, McWar or the Dog?

    September 10, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
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