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. Mike

    Hmm. CNN certainly has some problems with the Ticker. Last week, they misquoted the CO poll. Now, Rob is right – how is 48-45 = 5? RealClearPolitics.com has Obama up by 5.1, so I'll go with that.

    I can't wait for Thursday's train wreck!

    September 30, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  2. S. Boatman

    Obama Is Ahead In A Fox News Poll! If That Doesnt Spell Doom For Mccain Then Nothing Will! When Fox News Says Obama Is Winning Them Its Over For Mccain! Obama Beat Mccain On His Own Turf And Now The Polls Are Showing It!

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

    ummm, CNN, you said "5-point lead" and then said it was "48 to 45." Which one is it?

    If I proofread as poorly as you people do, I'd get fired.

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

    I saw the Katie Couric interview of McCain and Palin together.

    IS THAT PATHETIC?
    McCain is shielding Palin from press. He answered question directed to Palin.
    What will Palin do if god forbid something happens to McCain while being a president.

    Now I am a FIRM anti-McCain. Pro Obama, don't know.

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

    48-45 is a five point lead.....must have jethro bodine doing the cyphering...LOL
    Obama made McCain look old and out of touch. Which he is.
    The fact that mcCain would not look at Obama when he answered was to me a very telling thing..it was either because he is not capable of lying and looking someone in the eye...or other reasons...

    September 30, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  6. Linda Flayton

    Obama proed that he has a good grasp of foreign policy–that means he won the debate!!

    September 30, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  7. alvino

    I am amazed that 43% still support McCain. He is not even viewed as a leader by his own party. The congressional republicans put their own election ahead of America by voting against the bail out against the wishes of Bush, McCain and Boehner.

    September 30, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  8. SOUTHERN HOTTIE

    ummmm......CNN, YA'LL ARE DOING FUZZY MATH.

    HERE'S THE REAL POLL:
    100%-OBAMA

    0% -McLIAR

    September 30, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  9. ACORN = obama = corrupt

    I MEANT Nancy always addresses them IN A PARTISAN WAY and she knows nothing ABOUT bi-partisanship

    September 30, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  10. voter

    I don't understand how the townhall favors McCain when he said bomb, bomb, Iran song and troops will remain in Iraq for over 100 years. He also talked about bringing the draft back at a townhall. These gaffes don't appear to favor McCain in townhalls. Just a thought.

    September 30, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  11. Sue R.

    No worries... It is soon that McCain camp will come up with a story that they either made up or totally exaggerated to divert the course from talking about serious issues and genuine disagreements to something nasty because they know that they stand zero chance to win otherwise. We are not that stupid. I am a registered Republican, voted two- term for Bush (Yes, I admit!) but ENOUGH already! Not this year. If a generic democrat were running this year, I don’t think I could have been able to stomach any of them but this Obama guy is making me something I couldn’t have imagined doing... voting for a democrat!

    September 30, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  12. Mama4Obama

    politics...

    September 30, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  13. PUMBU

    McSame is a joke, he is trying everything to fool American people, the guy is a joke, too much politics first while he is talking about country first. Palin on thursday has to perform very well although that still won't be enough to convince people otherwise because she is really underqualified, on job training VP.

    September 30, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  14. Amy B Maine

    It's puzzling to me that more Democrats than Republicans watched the debate. Or is it just that more Americans are Democrats these days? I understand enrollment is up for Democrats.

    September 30, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  15. Sarah Bell

    Seriously. Just the fact that you think a 48-45 is a five point lead shows how stupid some of the folks at CNN are becoming. I know it's hard because you've have to dumb down recently when dealing with the phenomenon that is Sarah Palin, but come on. We still expect some intelligence in your reporting.

    September 30, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  16. FL Republican Woman for Obama

    it's 48-43 CNN...fix please!

    September 30, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  17. Matt

    Looks like there is a typo. The lead is 48-43, not 48-45.

    September 30, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  18. Benson

    I'm no mathmatologist, but I'm pretty sure 48-45 does not equal 5. Might want to proof read your blog entries before you post them??

    September 30, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  19. CapoCastillo

    two debates that seem to favor McCain in some form or another... A debate on Foreign policy, supposed to be McCain's strong suit. And now a Town Hall style debate, a format that McCain is more at ease with. When do the training wheels come off for the McCain campaign?

    September 30, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  20. Hank

    Anyone who gets elected president because of the backing of their party will not turn their back on their own party once elected. Vote for the party, not the candidates. That's just my opinion anyway.

    September 30, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  21. Major Tom

    Obama has really made the grade.

    September 30, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  22. mfelder

    I am a true Democrat. There is nothing John McCain or the Republicans can say or do to convince me to switch to the Republican Party. I don't agree with the Republican's philosopy or worldview. For me, there is not enough diversity in the Republican Party. While the democratic party is not perfect, they appear to be more welcoming of diverse groups.

    September 30, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  23. LIZ

    McCain held his own in the debate–neither candidate answered specific questions with definite answers. Wall Street has rebounded some today–why do we need the so called bail out ...Obama has already made a mint off Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

    September 30, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  24. Darren

    John McCain showed in the debates that he couldn't care less about the middle income worker.

    I've lost any respect I once held for Senator McCain. The man I voted for in the 2000 primary is long gone.

    September 30, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  25. Orlando

    Palin is hurting Mccain, she needs to drop out, or better yet, stay in, so we are ensured a win

    Obama 08

    September 30, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
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