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. Gorbashov - Long Beach, Ca.




    September 24, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  2. A Woman In California For Obama:

    Of course. Colorado is a state where people look to the future and try to forget the past. I have no doubt they will vote Obama in November. He has the ability to attract people with educated minds who want to take the country in a new and healthy direction.

    Go Colorado! Go Obama!

    September 24, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  3. Montanan fed-up with Republicans

    Well, this is one Montanan who will NOT be voting for John McCain!

    September 24, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  4. rick

    Obama is not a leader but McCain is to support the American people, McCain is a true patriot unlike Obama............

    September 24, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  5. AP


    September 24, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  6. Elizabeth in Seattle


    September 24, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  7. SD


    September 24, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  8. Obama is the REAL Change

    REAL reason for McCain canceling his DEBATE with Obmam on FRIDAY isn’t REALLY about the people welfare and the economy.……..He wants Obama to DEBATE with him on the VP Debate DATE……..IT IS TO DELAY PALIN AND BIDENS DEBATE.....IT IS TO DELAY PALIN AND BIDENS DEBATE…..IT IS TO DELAY PALIN AND BIDENS DEBATE……IT IS TO DELAY PALIN AND BIDENS DEBATE…...IT IS TO DELAY PALIN AND BIDENS DEBATE……IT IS TO DELAY PALIN AND BIDENS DEBATE................................

    ENTIRE campaign has been a JOKE..........WE are not that dumb MCCAIN, well most of us ARE not!!!!

    September 24, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  9. Christina

    Go Obama Go!!!

    We've got your back here in Michigan!!

    September 24, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  10. Lois in CA

    As well he should. McVain is hiding now, balking at debates, and acting like he can bully Congress into passing some taxpayer funded bailout for bad and reckless lending and borrowing decisions.

    September 24, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  11. Ron was a REP now a DEM

    This econmic crisis is going to flush out a lot crooks in Washington

    September 24, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  12. beachgirl

    Glad to hear he is gaining ground. People are just starting to compare between McOld and Obama are realizing McOld is too old to be our President.
    I am a Hillary girl and continue to be one but my vote will go for Obama

    September 24, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  13. Noemi in Los Angeles

    Obama the Change America needs.

    September 24, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  14. Greg, Indiana

    I don't care what the polls say. November 4th – it'll be McCain/Palin to the White House. And Dems have no one to blame but themselves. We kicked out the most qualified person (Hillary Clinton) who could have dealth with all of these crisis.

    For that – the Dems will pay the price at the polls in November. Watch and see!

    September 24, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  15. Rosa

    Americans are not dummies. They are smart. They will elect Obama/Biden.
    Obama is going to win.

    September 24, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  16. Clay from California

    I agree that we kicked out the most experienced and best candidate in Clinton, but I still hope for the Dems....Palin is the worst choice for VP ever and I think if she becomes President our country will be headed in the worst direction since Reagan's culture wars.

    Palin cannot become our VP. Plus McCain cannot help us in the economy.

    September 24, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  17. Bruce

    I'll say the same thing that Democrats say ALL the time. Polls mean nothing. You can't have it both way Democrats!!!!!

    September 24, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  18. Bacusla

    Greg in Indiana: I have heard your argument before – during the nominations. When Obama wins, people like you who do not care will cry.

    September 24, 2008 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  19. Tom

    Obama's a liar – he never talked to McCain this morning. He flat out lied to the public on t.v. today. Can we impeach him yet?????

    September 24, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  20. Vito

    What are the poll "internals"?
    Are they overweighting democrats?

    Look back at the 1929 stock market crash and subsequent tax increases in 1932, THAT is what caused the great depression.

    If Obama wins, that is what we have to look forward to.

    September 24, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  21. IndependentTogether

    So, Greg in Indiana, we should trust your prognostication abilities even though you prognosticated wrong on the primaries? Fact is, it's very childish to whine about your candidate losing, while wishing ill on America. In fact, it's not just childish, it's downright unpatriotic.

    September 24, 2008 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  22. Biff

    Greg, Indiana....

    dude.... really.....

    let it go.... and move on.....

    (or seek therapy)

    September 24, 2008 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  23. georgia

    Research Keating 5 folks.It set the ground work for the current situation; key players McCain & Bush who just happen to have had key roles in the war decision

    September 24, 2008 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  24. Gina

    People are finally seeing the light... thank you Mr. McCain, for becoming such a pathetic joke of a candidate. Please feel free continue

    September 24, 2008 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  25. American in Canada

    If you and your friends destroyed my house and promise to fix it, should I trust you again? Vote for someone else to fix it, someone who cares, someone with good intentions.

    September 24, 2008 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
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