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. bob k

    by by math 48-45 is a 3 point lead , not 5 points....I'm sure CNN's Obama cheerleading team WISHES it were 5 points...but at least use the correct math when reporting the "news"

    September 30, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  2. Tony

    All that debate did was to show that Obama had a good command of foreign policy and the other issues and that McCain is a bitter, angry, self-absorbed old man.

    His constant references to what happend 20, 30, 40 years ago just reminded everyone how old he is. His refusing to look directly into the camera or at Obama when addressing him showed his arrogance, anger and that he is a man who flys off the handle on a moment's notice.

    He lied repeatedly and Obama was a fool for not calling him on every single one rather than letting the moderator proceed.

    John McCain used to be admired, considered a role model, and a man of morals and principles. Now he is seen for what he truly is, an angry, bitter, pathetic, old man with old ideas.

    Very sad.

    September 30, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  3. jeff

    Shut up Phil, it didn't change you, you already were voting for Obama, admit it.

    September 30, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  4. David Goldman for OBAMA

    IT WOULD HAVE BEEN A GAME CHANGE IF THOSE

    WHO ELECTED BUSH WERE NOT DEAD SET IN

    DESTROYING WHAT IS LEFT OF OUR ECONOMY

    & COUNTRY. MCSENILE IS AN ANGRY, IGNORANT

    OUT OF HIS MIND OLD BIGOT, WHO DIDEN'T

    HAVE THE DECENCY TO LOOK OBAMA IN THE EYE.

    IS THAT THE BEHAVIOR OF AN INTELLIGENT,

    HONORABLE, DECENT MAN ?

    ANS: NO, HELL NO !!!

    September 30, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  5. deroy

    what do you expect? the media discovered that mccain was running as a hated republican.

    they want OBAMA, the freshman senator with no experience.

    it must be white guilt!

    the country loses no matter what.
    senators are NOT qualified to be president.
    we will have a trainee in the white house jan, 20th.
    the citizens lose. wolf blitzer chose the candidates.

    September 30, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  6. proud army and navy mom

    after listening to mccain's constant lies and unending stunts, who in their right mind will vote for the King of Drama? Idiots.

    September 30, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  7. MIr

    Since when is 48-45 "a 5 point lead"? Which of these figures is incorrect?!

    September 30, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  8. Sarah Bell

    The only way McCain could win is if Obama suddenly becomes an old, crazy white Republican.

    September 30, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  9. Eugene Becker

    "...Obama hold a 5 point lead, 48-45" over Mccain. Really?

    September 30, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  10. Loren

    You say, "Obama holds a 5-point lead over McCain, 48-45 percent." Don't you guys check your math? 48 minus 45 equals *three*, not *five*.

    Can you please review your numbers and let us know what the correct answer is?

    September 30, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  11. Vegas Barbie for Obama

    Thursday's VP debate will be the final nail in the McPalin campaign. Let's get to Nov. 4 already and put these John and Sarah out of OUR misery!
    OBAMA/BIDEN '08 & '12 YES WE CAN!!

    September 30, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  12. AEJ

    I think CNN need to do another poll ASAP. After this huge performance John McCain did, showing how he can manage his Repub, this the outcome was dissmal. Poor leadership on John's part. I know Obama is well ahead in the polls now after that no-vote from the republicans. And that frightening interview with his running VP, Sarah Palin. I only hope this stupid interview doesn't stop running till election day, Nov. 4th. I am frightened.

    September 30, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  13. Chuck

    Senator McCain easily won the debate on every point. Come to find out, (thanks to President Clinton), the Democrats are at fault for the whole economic mess.

    September 30, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  14. Mike

    "Obama holds a 5-point lead over McCain, 48-45 percent"

    Gotta fix your math.

    September 30, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  15. Paul, Riverside, CA

    Interesting,

    After Friday's debate, my Mom, Dad (both Republican) and two friends (both Independant) and In-laws (1 PUMA, and 1 Republican) all of whom said that it was clear to them that Obama is the only choice. McCain's anger, demenor, and NOT looking at Obama during the debate turned all but one of them off; my Father-in-law.

    Great way to keep the race tight for your ratings though, but the majority of American people aren't stupid.

    September 30, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  16. FL Voter

    Last time I checked (and let me grab a calculator to verify) a 48-45 margin is not a 5-point lead for Obama.

    September 30, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  17. R Kid Mute

    Why? Find out and let us know. Obama should be atleast 20% points ahead of McCain.

    September 30, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  18. Kelly

    "Obama holds a 5-point lead over McCain, 48-45 percent"

    Fabulous math, CNN. Keep up the good work!

    September 30, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  19. Bring back the Clinton era

    Barack Obama is leading in North Carolina (that's right, North Carolina) as well as Virginia.

    Barack is also tied in Indiana, Florida and Ohio. If McCain can't win those states, he has not chance at all.

    Obama vs Palin in 2012?

    September 30, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  20. chuckles199

    is obama a metro?
    i know michelle is a dominat!

    September 30, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  21. Cincinnatian

    which will happen first: America elects its first african-american president, or an under-qualified female VP becomes president when the oldest-ever elected president becomes unable to perform the duties of office?

    September 30, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  22. Annie from Canada

    Obama new President for United Stated of America
    Go Obama Go!!!

    September 30, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  23. help us all

    Somebody tell these people who did the polls
    to learn how to add and subtract.

    September 30, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  24. Denise

    How can the race be this close? Where are the McCain supporters getting their information–Glenn Beck????

    STUPID!

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

    What amazes me is that this race is so close. WAKE UP AMERICA!

    OBAMA/BIDEN 08

    September 30, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
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