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. Matt

    Total BS. CNN cherry-picks the polls it uses to make the race look close. Every single other poll I've looked at...pollster, realclearpolitics, gallup, etc., shows a widening of the gap in Obama's favor, with a slight tightening of the gap show on gallup today. Whether it's because of the debate or McCain's total nonsense in regard to the bailout bill, who knows, but the trend is still Obama pulling ahead...go ahead and prove it to yourselves by doing some surfing.

    Thursday is going to be delicious.

    September 30, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  2. OS

    Why does the media feel that McCain has to do something to change the race – it is the verdict of the American People, so it be. There is nothing to change.

    The person who is fit and qualified will win the race – Obama08

    September 30, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  3. Geoff Los Angeles

    It's that darn fuzzy math again... stupid pollsters

    My personal barometer is counting how many bumper stickers I see for each candidate on my commute every morning. As far as I can tell, Obama is up about 800%. And the few McCain supporters I do see usually have the sticker taped to the inside of the rear window. Now that's what I call commitment!

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

    Obamabots, looks like the market rebounded today. You may not get your hand outs after all.

    But then again Mr and Mrs. Clause (Barney Frank, Nancy Pelosi) will probably find a way to get you more stuff you can't afford.

    September 30, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  5. Just Human

    I still do not understand WHY McCain EVEN has a following!???

    September 30, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  6. TESAP;SAVANNAH, GA

    the debate showed the different temperments, it showed McCain is extremely petty and it showed he can name drop............

    September 30, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  7. TexicoFrom Mexico

    The lead is actually 8 Points people 50-42! You need to wake up Repugs and realize your candidate spends 90% of his time talking about Obama! Palin spends 90% of the time talking about Obama..if fact those two could write a book about him long after Obama is in the White House. Ever notice how Obama spends 90% of his time talking about US!!! WE ARE THE IMPORTANTANT ONES!!! Obama is the one who coined the word 'Main Street", Obama is the one who coined the word "Change"......it was not McCain! In fact has your candidate come up with anything original yet? he follows Bush around like a puppy....he picks Palin NOT BECAUSE OF HER POLITICS but because he is trying to pander women and steal that vote. if Hillary was Obama's VP she would not even be on his ticket...... wake up copy cats..and come up with some original ideas and maybe stop being so negative and talking more about US might help him...not what Obama will do bad but what McCain can do good.....

    September 30, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  8. Steve

    I think it's important to remember that many of the people running this blog and website, like Palin, have degrees in communications or journalism. This is most evident when you see math like 48 to 45 is a 5 point lead. Obviously someone called Palin and asked her to do the calculations for them.

    September 30, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  9. Biff

    I have an announcement....

    THOSE OF YOU WHO VOTED FOR BUSH......

    ARE HEREBY "DIS QUALIFIED" FROM PARTICIPATING IN FUTURE

    POLITICAL CONVERSATIONS.

    Thank you.

    September 30, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  10. Eagerly waiting Nov 4th

    Hurry up and get this thing over

    Obama/Biden 08
    Change we can believe in!!

    September 30, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  11. SHARON-MN

    I was quite taken aback by McCain's obvious refusal to look at Obama. He just looked so angry and frustrated. I have always backed Obama...but was still surprised at McCain's actions.

    September 30, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  12. Dr. Mimi De La Cruz for OBAMA

    AMERICANS ARE SOMETIMES A LITTLE SLOW,

    BUT THEY DO COME AROUND. MCSENILE

    IS BY FAR SLEAZIER THAN BUSH & DUMBER

    THAN ANYONE EVER THOUGHT HE COULD BE.

    WE HAVE HIM TO THANK AS MUCH AS WE HAVE

    BUSH FOR THE GREAT SHAPE WE ARE IN. ALL THE

    TRICKERY THE SCUM BAG CAN COME UP WITH WILL

    NOT HELP GET HIM ELECTED. WE ARE HURTING BIG &

    WE KNOW WHO TO THANK FOR ALL THE CRAP WE ARE IN.

    September 30, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  13. JD in NC

    Yeah Chuck, so did 2/3 of the Republicans.

    Goof.

    September 30, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  14. tony

    48 for Obama –45 for McCain - that's 3 points-
    He needs more than that kind of lead-
    People won't pull the lever for him in a lot of cases-like they couldn't agansy Hillary down the stretch-
    He couldn't close it-
    This concerns me-
    He's got to double that lead or its still going to be a toss up–

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

    Obama won the debate.........he even appeared more presidential.

    September 30, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  16. Lynne - Seattle WA

    I think the VP debate is what will shake up the campaigns...I don't think Palin can hold her own against Biden...well, I think she can do the feisty thing but not the intelligent, well spoken, and on top of the issues at hand.

    My big concern is that when Biden out-debates her, the McCain camp will say he was mean, a bully, condescending and/or a big old sexist. I worry that Biden really can't win for losing.

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

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

    -------

    That is only a three point lead. I would say your math skills need a bailout at this point.

    September 30, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  18. TESAP;SAVANNAH, GA

    jeff.................now that's funny

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

    Rob Crawford asks, "How is 48-45 a 5-pt lead? Palinomics?"

    The answer is no. It's the new "Obama Caucus Math."

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

    No, did not!!
    ONCE AGAIN SHOWS THAT OBAMA IS A JUST A GOOD SPEAKER AND VERY , VERY MANIPULATIVE!
    HE HAD LEARNED HIS LEASON GOOD. HE KNOW WHAT WE WANT TO HEAR!

    MCMAIN , DOES NOT KNOW HOW TO PLAY THIS GAIM, HE IS JUST TO MUCH AMERICAN!

    September 30, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  21. HF from PA

    Chuck: Did large number republicans vote no to ensure McCains defeat? Hmmmm...the most conservative right wing house members led the defeat and they have never been big supporters of McCain...

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

    The bailout was brought down by Democrats to make sure ECONOMY tohayware and people vote for OBAMA. This was all Political stunt by OBAMA and team. People need to wake up. They just wanted to make sure McCain gets hurt by this.

    Don't be fooled by erratic Pelosi and no use Reid

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

    Please explain how the town hall format favors McCain when Obama has always held these imtimate meetings with people? Ohhh and he manages not to lie during either.

    September 30, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  24. LB-NJ REPUBLICANS FOR MCCAIN

    Hey Obama is already 1/3 there. He may now just see the light and switch to the Republican ideology, I guess 2/3 is better than none. Bill & Hillary already have!!!

    September 30, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  25. Ken, LA California

    The US needs a president who can think outside the box the old guy simply cannot, you cannot teach an old dog new tricks, that is why he is comparing Palin to Bill, how can you compare someone who went to a community college and resided in the country side with a Yale graduate. Obama is a 21st century leader MacCold is a 19th century moron.

    September 30, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
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