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. Rafael

    check your math CNN. Either way, I'm glad.

    September 30, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  2. Tristan, City of New York

    Anyone besides me wonder why the majority of the debates take place in Republican states? 1st debate in Mississippi, VP debate in Missouri, 2nd debate in Tennesse, and only the 3rd one is in New York. Why don't they have the debate in swing states, so that neither candidate has a home court advantage?

    September 30, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  3. Troy B.

    Did you guys hire George Bush to do your math? The man would have to use his fingers and toes, but he would probably come out with better math than the bozos that wrote this article did.

    September 30, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  4. The Media is the Enemy

    I can't believe there are that many stupid people. People who would select a hot headed underachiever and his VP/weather girl over brilliance and experience combined with brilliance. Those people are either solidly racist or unbelievably dense. 48-45? Are 45% OF THE PEOPLE REALLY DOING THAT WELL?

    September 30, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  5. KJL

    Americans must be the most stubborn people in the world.

    September 30, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  6. Matt

    There's more than 2 people running CNN. Try throwing some Nader supporters into your analysis. Yeah, that's right...he's killing the Republicans this time, not the Democrats.

    September 30, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  7. say what

    Whoever wrote this article seems to be confused???

    September 30, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  8. A NATION OF WINERS for OBAMA

    NEVER IN THE HISTORY OF THIS NATION

    HAVE WE HAD SUCH SLEAZY MORONS

    IN OFFICE, THAT SOLD THIS NATION'S

    FUTURE TO THE HIGHEST BIDDERS.AND

    ALL ARE WORKING FOR THE MCSENILE CAMPAIGN.

    AMERICA VOTES FOR MCBUSH, & WE WILL GET THE

    OTHER HALF OF WHAT WE ARE ALREADY GETTING.

    September 30, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  9. Susan

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

    Chuck: How many of republicans voted in favor.
    2/3 Dems voted in favor.
    2/3 Repubs voted AGAINST.

    Do the math. Don't be a Palin.

    September 30, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  10. Kevin from MN

    They say the next debate favors McCain because it is a town hall format.....and The Maverick prides himself on his ability to shine in that setting because he is the "Straight Talk Express"....we'll see. The big question now is whether McCain's team can pre-program enough answers in Palin's head for Thursday night's debate.

    September 30, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  11. Carl Justus

    McCain is just too old to be elected president. He would be the oldest president ever elected if he wins. His mind is not as agile as it use to be.
    I thought McCain would have made a good president in 2000 but that did not happen and I will not support a man for president that is 72 years old. I am 73 and I know what age does to the body and mind.

    September 30, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  12. ted

    October 2nd is going to be WORST day of McCain's life ......
    October 7th is gonna be the final nail in the coffin .. for McCain's Campaign

    September 30, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  13. ENE M DIAZ

    WITH LESS THAN 34 DAYS PENDING/ POLLSTER TAKING SURVEY ON THE STREETS, AND RESULTS WITH ANY TRICK TO CHEAT , THE REAL, RELIABLE , ANSWERS ARE THAT THEY BELIEVE THE COUNTRY OUGHT TO BE GOVERNED BY LEADERS LIKE THE PALIN- MC CAIN TICKET. ONLY 34 DAYS ARE PENDING//////

    September 30, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  14. John Starnes Tampa Florida

    Don't worry McCain.....Bush/Cheney Inc. will order a new 9/11 or Gulf of Tonkin-style "incident", blame it on Iran, and use fear to stampede people into voting for you as they used fear to control us after 9/11 and Paulson's $700 billion ransom letter to America.

    September 30, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  15. Robert

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

    Yes, but so did 133 Republicans.

    September 30, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  16. Stacy from Cali

    48-45? A 5 point lead? Could this be why we are in an economic crisis? Whose numeric sense is this?

    September 30, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  17. steve

    48-45 is obamanomics. also at least McCain has enough guts to try and help and fix this screwed up economy rather than Obama sitting back and doing crap. As for Palin why don't the jounalists dig into Biden family. oh i'm sorry it dorsn't work for the Obama idiots

    September 30, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  18. Joycelyn

    Palin will come out fine if she gets the questions ahead of time. Then the McSame campaign can give her talking points. I thought she said she was a Pit bull, looks more like a chiwawa especially when she is allowing McCain to talk for her in interviews. But please don't under estimate her. For all you know she is playing a Jessica Simpson in the interviews and might just do fine on "D" day.

    September 30, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  19. Will-South Dakota

    THE 3AM PHONE CALL CAME IN AND JOHN MCBUSH/MCSAME ROLLED OVER AND DIDN'T PICK IT UP.

    September 30, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  20. milo

    The point of the article seems to be that McCain did NOT gain any ground witht the first debate and I am not surprised. I think that the deabtes are basically shows, I remember in 2004, Kerry seemed to win all 3 debates and it was meaningless. At this point, September 30th, I thik the vast majority of people have made up their minds who they are going to vote for, unless something huge happens people are going to stick with their candidate

    September 30, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  21. Troy B.

    Did you guys hire George W. Bush to do your math or something? The man may have to use his fingers and toes, but he would probably come up with better math than the bozos that wrote this article.

    September 30, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  22. VK

    John McCain is such a loveable little guy. He's obviously out of touch; not to mention he doesn't play fair. What would you expect from a guy who could stand next to his opponent for 97 minutes and not look him in the eyes like a real man, while he (McCain) was telling blatant lies to the people of our country.

    I pray that the good citizens of the greatest country in the world are smarter than John Mccain things we are.

    He needs to stop with the "Country First" bit. If he really cared as much for the country as he says, then he would stop lying to us.

    September 30, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  23. Lara

    I think the American people are coming around to see the that McCain is not a staple person. He does things that don't make sense. If he wanted to put a woman as his running mate there are plenty of Republican woman that he could have picked who are 10 times better then Sarah. This is not a joke when someone pick their VP to run on the ticket with them, they need to make sure that they can take over in an emergency. She was not a good move for his campagin.

    September 30, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  24. Lisa

    I did learn one thing, McCain's temper has not improved, he is still in a bad mood. He reminds me of my grandfather he always had a scowl on his face.

    September 30, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  25. Bruce, Chicago

    McCain favors a town-hall type format. The format is not set up to favor him. And yes, 48-45 is, I think, a 3 pt lead. Lehman's last CEO must have written this article. Or was it the Bear Stearns CEO??

    September 30, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
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