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. Keith in VA Beach

    I believe more than ever young voters will come out in record numbers for Obama. All these polls are of "likely" voters, which means people over the age of 35. Unless something dramatic happens in the next few weeks Obama will easily win this election.

    September 30, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  2. Patrick

    This article is not true. Polls showed Obama winning the debate, with most results at about 50 percent to 38 percent. How is that even?

    September 30, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  3. Deb n Texas

    The debate didn't change nothing for McCain because HE WAS A MAD MAN!

    September 30, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  4. Ron from Baltimore

    How many think the debate last week cemented in the image of a deranged McCain? Who wants our foreign policy, our fireside chats, our nation's good news and bad to be presented by this leering, grunting, snapping barker? Is this the image of an America we've been needing? Really??

    September 30, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  5. Alexis

    Of course the debate didnt change the polls, THE INTERVIEW SARAH DID WITH KATIE CHANGED IT ALL!!!! LOL!

    September 30, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  6. Biff

    CHUCK...

    DID 133 REPUBLICANS VOTE "AGAINST" THE BAIL OUT, AND THEIR PRESIDENT, AND THEIR PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE ??

    September 30, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  7. Billy

    Troopergate news:

    A key witness (facing perjury charges if she lies) just admitted that Sarah and Todd Palin DIRECTLY put pressure on her to deny a worker's compensation claim made by Wooten.

    Not good for Governor Palin.

    I sure would like a VP debate question about abuse of power.

    September 30, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  8. S. Boatman

    Mccain Got His @ss Handed To Him At The Debate! It Reminded Me Of Someone Getting Slapped In The Face With A Glove And Being Challenged To A Duel! The Guy That Got Slapped Looks Away Unable To Look At His Opponent In The Eyes For Fear Of Another Slap!

    September 30, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  9. Didi, Canada

    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 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  10. PUMBU

    NOW MCCAIN HAS TO ACCOMPANY PALIN TO HER INTERVIEWS, DID YOU SEE THAT WITH KATIE COURIC? PEOPLE WAKE UP, THIS IS A JOKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 30, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  11. Susan

    EEEWWWW...........

    First he stole CHANGE slogan, then GET IT slogan..... Now McCain suggested that FDIC increase the insurance to 250,000: this is what Obama proposed.

    Should not he acknowledge Obama?

    Obama is an idiot agreeing to McCain in the debate. If he does it again, I am voting Nader. McCain always play dirty politics trying to belittle Obama and Obama tries to be nice. hello, this is politics.

    September 30, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  12. Charlie Johnson

    "Obama holds a 5-point lead over McCain, 48-45 percent." C'mon, CNN, which is it? Can anybody there do simple arithmetic? Either it's a 5-point lead and the percentages are wrong, or the percentages are right and it's a 3-point lead. Meanwhile, your "poll of polls" feature says it's 47-43 Obama, a 4-point lead. I see this sloppy indifference all the time on your website and have started going elsewhere for information I can believe.

    September 30, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  13. wallace

    if you go back and look at the tape Obama killed Mcain on every subject, McCain goes off on his little story telling to catch the people, he should write books he is good at story telling.

    Obama won that debate

    P.S. there is going to be a slaughter on thursday, the Palin slaughter

    September 30, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  14. MCCAIN 08

    MCCAIN WILL WIN -HES WHITE.SORRY DEMS.

    September 30, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  15. no fear

    and as McCain continues to lose his critical thinking skills and what is left of his integrity, I imagine those percentages will decrease for him.
    truly, it is sad how he is handling it all. what the heck happened to him?

    September 30, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  16. McCain invented the diaper

    what else did he invent

    September 30, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  17. Frank Lee

    This old man is past his prime.

    The longer this campaign goes on the worse he looks.

    Even Caribou Barbie isn't enough to save this sorry team.

    September 30, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  18. Glenn; Bakersville, NC.

    I would have to disagree with the tagline of this post. It actually showed that Sen. McCain is a bitter old guard wardog republican who is condescending and sometimes confused. It also showed that although Sen. Obama is a younger, less experienced politician he demonstrated his ability to act as a Statesman. Sen Obama realizes that you cannot demonstrate diplomacy and be a world leader with a "Shoot first" mentality.

    September 30, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  19. Debbie

    That's too bad that Republicans aren't paying attention. They might learn something.

    September 30, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  20. OH COME ON

    this is to funny to see MCCAIN/PALIN will win come on people America is not this dumb. I can not wait to see all you Obamanites go down in the dust, I just can't believe their is actually people out there that believe he will win, come on get real

    September 30, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  21. Kevin

    The number is a type. It should read 48-43 in favor of Obama.

    September 30, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  22. Amy, NY

    Obama holds an 8 point lead on the USA/Gallup poll!
    No offense CNN but Gallup looks more reliable to me! -:D

    September 30, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  23. james

    48-45 is a 3 point lead, well within the margin of error, or is this a typing error? Any way, NO Obama. McCain '12 Hillary Clinton 2012.

    September 30, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  24. Sylvia B

    CNN, you had stopped for a while, but here you go again not giving Senator Obama any credit. Who manages your polls? Leslie Sanchez and Candy Crowley?

    September 30, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  25. YO CNN

    WHICH IS IT THE POST SAYS 5 POINT LEAD BUT THE NUMBERS ARE 48 – 45???

    DOES ANYONE PROOFREAD THESE POSTS??

    HIRE PALIN SHE IS A JOURNALIST AND IN 5 WEEKS SHE SHOULD FREE!

    September 30, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
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