September 24th, 2008
04:00 PM ET
10 years ago

Polls in battleground states show Obama gaining ground


Obama is leading in key battleground states (AP PHOTO)

(CNN) - Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama appears to be gaining ground in some of the crucial battleground states that could decide the presidential election, according to a CNN/Time Magazine/Opinion Research Corp. poll released Wednesday.

In Colorado, 51 percent of likely voters questioned in the survey back Obama, with 47 percent supporting his GOP rival, John McCain. And Obama's edge over McCain in Colorado is six points when looking at a larger pool of all registered voters. That's a switch from late August, when CNN last polled in Colorado and found a five point lead for McCain. That survey was taken as the Democrats' presidential nominating convention, held in Denver, was just getting under way.

Colorado hasn't voted for the Democrats in a presidential election since 1992. But President Bush won the state by only five points over Sen. John Kerry in 2004 and the Democrats made major gains at the state level in the past two elections. That has led to hopes in the Obama campaign of turning the state - and its nine electoral votes - from red to blue.

"The new poll indicates that Obama is winning Denver and the surrounding suburbs and losing everywhere else in the state," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Since our first Colorado poll was taken as the Democratic convention began in that city, it's possible that Obama is still capitalizing on a local convention bounce."

Obama has also apparently won supporters in Pennsylvania, which has voted for the Democrats in the last four presidential elections. The new pollindicates Obama has a 9 point lead over McCain among likely voters, 53 percentto 44 percent, and a similar 9 point advantage among registered voters. That'sup from a 4 point advantage Obama held in the Keystone state in late August,the last time CNN polled there. Twenty-one electoral votes are up for grabs in Pennsylvania.

"Obama's biggest gains in Pennsylvania come in the areas of the state that have been hardest-hit by the economy - particularly rural areas in the western and central part of the state," Holland said. "That may be an early indication that the financial crisis on Wall Street will help Obama even in
places like Altoona and Erie."

The poll also indicates Obama may be gaining a little ground in Michigan, which has 17 electoral votes. Among likely voters, Obama holds a 5 point lead, 51 percent to 46 percent, and a seven point lead among the larger sample of registered voters. Obama had a 4 point margin in the last CNN poll in Michigan, conducted at the beginning of September.

Michigan has voted for the Democratic candidate in the last four presidential contests, but Kerry's victory over President Bush in 2004 was by only three points.

The new poll also includes Montana, a state that President Bush won by 20 points in 2004. But the Obama campaign has spent time and money this year trying to turn the state from deep red to light blue. The new poll suggests they've made major gains from the 2004 results, but still have a ways to go.

McCain holds an 11 point lead over Obama in Montana among likely voters, 54 percent to 43 percent.

It's a similar story in West Virginia, a state that used to vote reliably for the Democrats. But President Bush won there by 13 points four years ago. McCain has a four point lead over Obama in that state, 50 percent to 46 percent.

"Overall, the financial crisis may be boosting Obama's chances,'" Holland said. Our latest national poll shows that the public blames Republicans by a two-to-one margin for the financial crisis."

Taking into account these new poll numbers, the CNN Electoral College Map estimates that if the presidential election were held today, Obama would capture 223 electoral votes and McCain would take 200, with 116 electoral votes still up for grabs. Two-hundred and seventy electoral votes are needed to win the White House. The CNN Electoral College Map is based on several factors, including polling, voting trends, campaign visits, and ad spending.

"McCain may not be the incumbent president or vice president, but he represents the party in power. That's not a good place to be right now," says CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider.

The CNN/Time Magazine/Opinion Research Corp. poll was conducted by telephone September 21-23. In Colorado, 932 registered voters and 794 likely voters were questioned. In Michigan 966 registered voters and 755 likely voters were polled. In Montana, 903 registered voters and 737 likely voters were questioned. In Pennsylvania, 920 registered voters and 730 likely voters were polled. And in West Virginia, 876 registered voters and 694 likely voters were polled.

The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points for likely voters and 3 percentage points for registered voters.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (111 Responses)
  1. obama

    oooo well Finally people realized mccain is a fraud and liar. tell palin and mccain to go back home alaska or arizona and talk about how russia looks when Palin saw from her house

    September 24, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  2. darrel

    why should the people bailout these banks when the people are told to fend for themselves w/ katrina and the floods of 2008 and are put out by the deputy sheriff when they can't pay they get evicted. so wall street can start over them fat cats need to have a taste of there own medicine.

    September 24, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  3. bert

    McCain is runing from the debate and they are trying to keep Palin out of the spot light!!!!!!! P.O.T.U.S. is something that is too serious to put on hold. MCCAIN IS CRAZY AND THIS IS A PLOY TO KEEP HIS FALLING NUMBERS FROM FALLING MORE. SUSPENDING HIS CAMPAIGN WILL NOT MAKE THE 700B PLAN GO ANY SMOOTHER. HE HAS ONE VOTE AS A SENATOR BUT THE PRESINDENT HAS A LOUDER VOICE. Obama needs to keep the pressure on the slick GOP. They are hiding Palin and now they want to hide McCain. The GOP are weak and they are trying to pull a fast one. ELECTING A PRESIDENT IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN A MERE 700 BILLION DOLLARS. DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH MONEY THIS NATION MAKES AND IS CAPABLE OF MAKING? VOTE FOR OBAMA 08 AND 2012.

    September 24, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  4. mitchell

    go obama! we are ready for new leadership! smart! visionary! uniting! obama! obama! obama!

    September 24, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  5. Ed

    Yes we can!!!!

    Vote Obama-Biden 08 !! The change we need !!

    September 24, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  6. john s arizona for obama - it's possible!

    to quote a fighter pilot slang term – McCain just "screwed the pooch!"

    this is no hale mary it's panic – no money – poor choices and archaic rhetorical deer in the headlights melt-down.

    the polls will shift even more – because the american people might be able to be fooled once and maybe twice bu not three times.

    as Barack has said: "ENOUGH!"

    September 24, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  7. Chrissy, Texas

    So. Didn't Axelrod say the polls didn't matter when McCain was ahead of Obama. Why is this news. Didn't you just hear that McCain suspended his campaining to go and actually DO something about this economic mess. And Obama wants to debate, on FOREIGN POLICY! Obama is nothing but freaking joke and all his hate filled supporters! What he needs to do is get his big behind to Washington and actually do something as a senator! This falls right into his lack of judgement people. Something needs to be done right now, the debates can wait. The election isn't until Nov 4th remember.

    McCain/Palin 08'

    September 24, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  8. FL4OB

    Americans are taking our country back from the gimmicks and drama.

    No way, no how, no McCain-Palin
    Eight is enough!
    Obama/Biden '08
    Yes we can!

    September 24, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |



    OBAMA/BIDEN 08/12


    September 24, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  10. Kelby from Houston, TX

    The mantra of the political blogger: YOUR POLLS MEAN NOTHING! But the numbers do encourage me for some reason. Maybe that's the part of me that still wants to believe in polls. I have to shake that off because your polls mean nothing. We are focused on November the fourth

    September 24, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  11. Lesley

    No wonder McCain wants to suspend the campaign and the debates. He is trying to show that he is now, after all, concerned about the economy and trying to demonstrate that he is putting the country first ahead of politics. Except that it is a very political move and savvy voters can see that. Last week he said the fundamentals of the economy are strong. If he really knew what was what, he would have been in Washington last week working on the problem instead of changing his views about the crisis every day. He couldn't decide what position to take and took several. Voters are expecting to see the two candidates side by side for the debate on Friday so they can try to decide who they want to lead this country. Besides, McCain's economic policies and voting record over many years have contributed to the crisis, so it's too little too late.

    September 24, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |


    September 24, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  13. Barack Uda

    Yeeaaaaahhh, Baby!!!

    September 24, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  14. Roberta

    I don"t think Senator McCain is prepared for the Friday night debate and this was a perfect out for him. I think it is too much for a man of his age to vote and debate the same day.

    September 24, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  15. Andrea

    Man you know things anr bad for McCain if O is only 4 points down in WEST VIRGINIA

    September 24, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  16. Cathy in Pennsylvania

    McDeregulator should change his campaigne slogan to Running on Empty...............the Repulican party catering to corporate America is what got this country into this financial crisis , his montra: pad the pockets of the wealthy and screw the American taxpayers.......McCain is ready to IMPLODE.......Obama and Biden identify with the working people of this counrty, both are self made men, who know what everyday struggles that the American people must face .....McCain was born into privledge then married into a wealthy family, he never had to sweat the small stuff that everyday working Americans have to
    McCain wanting to postpone the debates is just another political ploy, he needs drama to keep him afloat in this election, but he's sinking fast................
    Financial prosperity and a balanced budget under President Clinton
    Economic doom and trillions of debt under President Bush

    Voting Obama / Biden for change

    September 24, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  17. bigmike31313

    This is exactly the time when the American people need to hear from the person who in approximately 40 days will be responsible for dealing with this mess,” Obama told reporters.

    September 24, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  18. Rory

    Did the poll for Montana take into account that Ron Paul will be on the MT ballot? He's wildly popular in MT and would likely take away a huge number of McCain votes.

    I'd say the MOE for the Montana is much larger than the 3.5% that CNN claims – for that reason alone.

    September 24, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  19. MikeH

    Where's the Delegate map you promised CNN?

    Oh and is Keating Holland a Republican stooge? Obama is up in Colorado by 6 points, and Keating spews this drivel about Convention bounce.

    Obama's ahead in Colorado and gaining ground, it's not a bounce, its a trend. Reversible to be sure, but stop with the Republican suck-up spin.

    September 24, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  20. marianna

    Will campaign for Obama right after that Jewish holyday, you know which, ... the Hannukah 😉

    September 24, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  21. JusLaugh

    Obama is handling this financial crisis like a champ. I somehow doubt when the Bush administration suddenly decided it was an emergency after two years they didn't take into account that it would help Obama and make McCain look like an out-of-touch rich guy who flounders during a crisis and can't multitask.

    I hope Obama wins by a wide margin.

    September 24, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  22. Doug Berger

    How can projections on your electoral college map be based on "voting trends, campaign visits and ad spending?" How precisely are those factored in with a caculated projection on who is likely to win a state? A particular poltical party may have captured any given state for any number of years, and they may in a present campaign make stops in crucial counties and target ads. But the measure of the effectiveness of all of these factors is the actual vote, or in this case, the polling data itself. Just because Democrats have won Pennsylvania in the last four elections doesn't mean they will win it this time, and just because Republicans have won Virginia in every election after 1964 doesn't mean they are going to hold it this time. Just because a candidate boosts spending on negative ads in a county or a state doesn't necessarily mean those ads will sway voters. It seems to me that "voting trends, campaign visits and ad spending" are far less viable criteria on which to base an electoral map projection for any given state than polling data combined with voter registration trends, party affiliation percentages and measures of voter enthusiasm.

    September 24, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  23. Ben in Atlanta, GA



    September 24, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  24. Big Mike

    Of course he's gaining in the polls, have you actually witnessed the running SNL parody called the John McCain campaign over the last several weeks? Geritol John doesn't know if he's going or coming, one day he's a Maverick, the next day he's a Capitol Hill insider, one day he's a reformer, the next day he's a Washington Power Broker. I'll tell you what he is, he's a bumbling, borderline senile, gaffe shoot, that is a shell of his former self. And along for the ride is the most unqualifed, unready VP candidate in the history of contemporary politics, who was ONLY chosen because of her gender. This campaign is a farce, and if Democrats tried to pull off this sitcom routine, GOP trolls would be crying bloody murder.

    September 24, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  25. Nada

    Great news...
    This is a great country full of smart people...
    Yes we can

    September 24, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
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