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. Give me a break!

    These are the same 52% of people who voted for George Bush arguable the worst president in US history. Dissaproved by 80% of the American public. How can 80% of Americans be frustrated with the current Republican administration, yet half of those people are planning to vote for another Republican adminstration who has voted with the Bush administration 90% of the time. I know this is a lot of numbers for some people to digest, but try to stay with me.

    I say if you voted for George Bush either time, you should not be allowed to vote in this election or perhaps ever again!

    September 10, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  2. J UAN CARLOS

    A N D---–S O M E---R E S P O N D E N T S---H A V E--–

    A ----D I R T Y----L I T T L E---–S E C R E T--T H E Y' R E–

    N O T----T E L L I N G---I N---–T H E--–P R I V A C Y---

    O F---- TH E--–B O O T H---–T H I N GS--C AN-CHANGE

    September 10, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  3. offwallst

    THE NATIONAL POLLS WERE A DEAD HEAT......NOT ANYMORE.......

    THE ELECTORAL VOTES...............WILL BE LEANING TO LANDSLIDE IN 2-3 WEEKS.............

    GIVE IT A AWHILE AS OBAMA CONTINUES TO MELTDOWN

    September 10, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  4. NoDumbA$$ Cheesehead, WI

    Virginia is not a blue state
    Virginia is not a red state
    Virginia is a part of the United States of America.

    September 10, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  5. georgia

    The republicans come out fighting dirty & smoke-screening non-issues then want to cry foul when the Dems retaliate. Even a dog will bite if kicked constantly ! So if that's how they want to do it,so be it. I know more honest people are sick & tired of the repugnant ,old world tactics .We will settle for nothing less than real & inclusive change.
    Democrats let's put it on the line !!!!
    Obama / Biden 08 !!!!

    September 10, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  6. how

    Don't fall for SCARE TACTICS LIKE BELOW.........A TIE? ...
    VP pick.......at Dick & Sharon's LA Progressive: A few example: Alaskans Speak (In A FRIGHTENED Whisper). Small example: the waitress serving her table at the time and who asked that her last name not be used, uttered the slur and then laughed loudly as her meal mates joined in appreciatively. “It was kind of disgusting,” …
    MANY people in Alaska_, and particularly Wasilla, are reluctant to speak or be quoted by name because they’re afraid of her as well as the state Repub Party machine. ...

    September 10, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  7. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    This is such a tighter race than pundit would have had us believe a few months ago. There is no way to really make a prediction now since there many states that are within the margin of error. I would that these polling groups survey larger groups and include cell phone numbers when they call as well.

    September 10, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  8. Usha

    Sarah Palin was using the e-bay for the plane, but eventually sold it privately. Is she planning to sell Air Force One too to save Fedral Budget some money?

    September 10, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  9. True Blue

    The ball is clearly in the Republican court. Virginia and Missouri should be in the "lean McCain" category, but they're not.

    Obama is better positioned to win the electoral college and face off with Sarah in 2012.

    September 10, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  10. Phil Newton from Murphy, Oregon

    Obama will win the swing states he needs to be president.

    Obama 08

    September 10, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  11. TONY

    Unless Sarah Palin intends to beat the leaders of other countries to a pulp with her hockey stick, if she should win and ever become president, we are DOOMED!

    All you women out there who say you are voting for McCain and Palin, PLEASE DO NOT say that your family comes first, your children come first.

    The ignorant, apathetic women who are just fine with the status quo, yet whine the most, are the same ones who are trying to seal up those 18 million cracks made by Hillary.

    WAKE UP!

    September 10, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  12. J from DC

    The media needs to put the spotlight on Biden and show how Biden will help Obama change American. Also, to highlight McCain’s weaknesses.

    So what’s the real deal, McCain picked Palin not because he is worried about women, but to distract voters from Biden. McCain was worried about Biden getting media attention. Biden has been in DC longer. Who else in the campaign knows McCain better then Biden? Who else can challenge his record, or reveal whatever else he may know about McCain over the years. Question is, what does Biden know???

    September 10, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  13. JustMyObservation

    I don't understand what all the hype is over Gov Palin...when standing next to Sen McCain, it looks more like a father/daughter thing...more so, a grandfather/granddaughter thing. And I can't believe all she has a is BS in Journalism, which took her six years from six different colleges to obtain. Hmmmmm…interesting. I would expect her to have something more along the lines of at least a Master's Degree (one that she earned by studying, taking examines and writing a thesis, not an honorarium that is given).

    September 10, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  14. Hope

    Everyone wants change and progress. It took a Democrat to save the economy from a Depression with Franklin Rooselvelt and a Democrat to rescue the the country from a rescession with Bill Clinton. It will take a Democrat to save the economy again with Obama.

    Obama/Biden 08!!!

    September 10, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  15. anonymous

    People will smarten up – they've already started!!

    McCAIN/PALIN!!

    September 10, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  16. Tom in Delaware

    More bad news for the Democrats, but enjoy it while you can, because it's only going to get worse.

    Issues are important to people, and frankly, if people don't know where they stand on them by now, then they're really not likely to be asking any vexing questions in the next 50 days.

    What undecide voters are interested in is character and individual attributes of the canidates.

    The inability of Obama to apologize, the inability to take the 'high road', and his inability to ever admit to a mistake are going to be his undoing.

    The Saddleback forum revaled all of these character flaws, and it di d not go unnoticed by the American people, and the McCain campaign has been on the upswing ever since.

    Don't plan on them looking back to see how far behind Barack Obama is lagging.

    McCain/Palin '08

    September 10, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  17. Sue

    If my area of Florida is an indication what with all the fervor for Gov Palin, Obama doesn't stand a chance in Nov.

    September 10, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  18. realistic

    Go Senator McCain! Send this sleazy politician back to Chicago where he belongs!

    September 10, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  19. Speakinmymind

    you know what i think about your "polls"...bull____
    Fill in the blank!

    September 10, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  20. republicans hate america

    Thats because the military supports Obama 6 to 1 dont be fooled by McPhony he hates the military as evidence by his voting record.

    September 10, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  21. Spencer from VA

    The media is making it look like it's a dead heat, but it's not. I'm sure my guys are ahead in most of the key states.

    OBAMA/BIDEN 08/12

    September 10, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  22. Lisa

    How is it possible the McCain could be tied with Obama, givin he's not uttered one word about how to help his country-men? Easy, noone ever went broke Underestimating American intelligence! As a culture you are too lazy to look into issues for yourselves and therefore follow what others tell you you should do. Result? He who shouts louder, more entertainingly or meanly gets the attention. He who gets attention gets the vote. I'm thinking this election goes to McCain. Too bad...for all of us!

    September 10, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  23. Not Sold on Polls

    CNN... who are you calling in these polls. "likely voters" what does that actually mean. I have been a likely voter since 92 but i have never been called. are you taking into consideration the millions of new registered voters in these states... the youth voter... etc, etc...

    I don't think so. I think the race is more like 6-7 points advantage Obama/Biden in the battle ground states. Look for the actual numbers to be very different come election night, and on January 20, 2009... we will see Obama taking the oath to protect and serve america

    Obama/Biden 08

    September 10, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  24. baby mama

    President elect McCain has made up a lot of ground...........should be leaving The Messiah in the dust soon

    September 10, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  25. The Voice of Common Sense (Independent Voter - Charlotte, NC

    End the dead heat, folks...Vote Baldwin / Castle 08 (www.baldwin08.com), or at least do a write-in for Ron Paul. Down with the 2-Party System!!!

    September 10, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
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