September 30th, 2008
05:40 PM ET
6 years ago

CNN POLL OF POLLS: Debate 'changed nothing'

ALT TEXT

The first presidential debate did little to change the dynamics of the presidential race, new polls show. (Getty Images)

(CNN) – Nearly 60 million Americans tuned in to the first presidential debate between Barack Obama and John McCain last Friday, but national polls released this week suggest the square-off did little to change the dynamics of the race.

The new polls are bad news for McCain, who with only five weeks until Election Day is quickly running out of opportunities to shake up the race for the White House.

In a new CNN poll of polls consisting of surveys conducted entirely after the first presidential debate, Obama holds a 5-point lead over McCain, 48-43 percent. That's exactly where the race stood immediately before the two candidates kicked off the presidential debate season in Oxford, Mississippi, four days ago.

“The ruling on last Friday’s presidential debate is in, and it’s a split decision,” said CNN Senior Political Researcher Alan Silverleib. “The debate changed nothing. Obama’s supporters aren’t shifting to McCain, McCain’s supporters aren’t shifting to Obama, and undecided voters are still undecided.

But the poll numbers come even as surveys conducted by several media organizations immediately after the debate showed most viewers thought Obama had won. However the polls also showed the debate viewers appeared to be more Democratic than the overall population.  (Related: CNN analysts grade McCain, Obama debate performances)

"Unfortunately for McCain, a continuation of the status quo favors Obama," Silverleib also said. "The pressure is increasing on McCain to find some way to change the fundamental dynamics of this race. He can’t afford to walk away with a tie in the remaining debates.”

McCain and Obama next square off October 7 in a debate that features a town-hall format - a set up that McCain favors. VP candidates Sarah Palin and Joe Biden have their only debate on Thursday.

soundoff (251 Responses)
  1. observer

    48-45 % is a 3 point lead you morons

    September 30, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  2. Shane

    It's the beginning of the end for McCain/Palin.

    This debate was supposed to be McCain's strength. It wasn't! He looked like a tired, old man.

    Palin doesn't know any Supreme Court cases other than Roe v. Wade.

    She thinks dinosaurs were on earth thousands, not millions of years ago.

    She said thanks for the money to the bridge to nowhere.

    Looking forward to seeing her debate on Thursday!

    September 30, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  3. Mike in Columbus

    Anyone else notice that McCain didn't even have the guts to look Obama in the eye? He knows he has sacraficed all of his honor and integrity in a pathetic attempt to become president. Its been very sad to watch.

    September 30, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  4. Michael

    How is 48-45 a 5-point lead?

    September 30, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  5. MF

    You mean the base wasn't energized? or re-energized or polarized.
    How about paralyzed? stigmatized? C'mon we need base stories. base, base, base.

    September 30, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  6. Molly Weasley

    Many of the polls show undecideds shifting to Obama. I think your reporting needs to be a little more thorough.

    September 30, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  7. ACORN = obama = corrupt

    No, but after this mess is sorted (this week hopefully) people will start looking into how utterly useless the Dems in congress really are. Nancy Pelosi is the biggest waste of space and after her stupid comments before the vote i actually wouldnt let her speak. This needs to be done in the nicest possible way so that the american people understand that washington is working for them. the house GOP say that this is how Nancy always addresses them and she knows nothing but bi-partisanship

    September 30, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  8. Maggie from Virginia

    Get ready for McCain to pull one of his stunts. Wait for it ....

    September 30, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  9. Abby M

    No offense, I'm a Barack supporter but your figures don't add up. If it's 48-45, its +3 for Senator Obama, not +5. If it really is +5, then it would be 48-43.

    You might want to correct that.

    September 30, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  10. Chuck

    The current polls should make CNN and MSNBC very happy. Oh yes, and those who want free pizza every day, every Friday off with pay, and a consistent 8% return on your investment every year.

    September 30, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  11. GS

    Free Sarah!

    September 30, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  12. Ken

    Since this debate had a low viewer rating, it tells me that people are not interested in what Obama has to say. You can beat down and degrade John McCain all you want, but at the end of the election, John McCain will be POTUS. Wait and see that this election is by the voters, not the liberal Obama-butt kissing MSM.

    September 30, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  13. Bob Texas

    Mr. McCain seemed bitter and angry during the debate. War with Russia, War with Iran, keep fighting in Iraq. The USA needs a president not a warrior!

    September 30, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  14. Nancy

    Good...I hope Mcwhatever continues to fall. He's not worthy.

    September 30, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  15. alvino

    Look for McCain to go back to what he does best, step up his lies and attacks on Obama, making even more ridiculus claims. That is the only thing he has going for him at this point. However, one thing that could change the dynamics of the race is that he ask Sarah to step down (angering Evangelicals) and choose the Mitt wit to take her place.

    September 30, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  16. ACORN = obama = corrupt

    No, but after this mess is sorted (this week hopefully) people will start looking into how utterly useless the Dems in congress really are. Nancy Pelosi is the biggest waste of space and after her stupid comments before the vote i actually wouldnt let her speak. This needs to be done in the nicest possible way so that the american people understand that washington is working for them. the house GOP say that this is how Nancy always addresses them and she knows nothing about bi-partisanship

    September 30, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  17. jeff

    48-45...yeah that sounds like a five point lead...the best political team on television? Maybe. The best math team on television? Not so much.

    September 30, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  18. Abby

    No, they solidified Senator Obama’s lead so that’s a change. Obama 08 for Economic prosperity! And for PEACE!!!

    September 30, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  19. CW in PSL

    CNN you need to relook at your "poll or polls" if the election was called today Obama would win in a landslide!

    Obama has had a lot of town halls....not sure why you all keep saying that style favors McCain...its not the style, its the substance, and based on that nothing is favoring McCain this election year!

    September 30, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  20. Chuck

    Did 95 Democrats derail bailout just to keep Obama ahead in polls?

    September 30, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  21. Mack

    48 to 45 is not a 5 point lead...CNN who rights this stuff, Barack Obama.

    September 30, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  22. jack

    "Obama holds a 5 point lead 48-45 percent" With this kind of math, no wonder your country is in economic trouble.

    September 30, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  23. Nurse Ratchet

    Next time John, you might wanna try the coherency approach and avoid the angry old man faces. You came off like a non-sequitor angry old grampa upset at the Bingo results.

    September 30, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    48-45 isn't a 5 point lead. So which is it?

    September 30, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  25. cleduc

    I've seen numerous polls and they tend to have drifted upwards for Obama. Now some of that may be because of McCain's gross funbling of the economy.

    September 30, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
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