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

    PK – It doesn't "favor McCain"...McCain favors it...i.e., he just likes it better, that's all. Obama will win again. It just won't convince all the racists and conservatives already voting for McCain to vote for him, because they'd vote Republican if you put a toad on the ticket before they'd vote black or liberal.

    September 30, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  2. John

    Oboma knows nothing about foreign affairs.

    September 30, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  3. Xtina

    Come on CNN get with it!!!

    "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."

    September 30, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  4. Hope for American, Ohio

    IT IS TIME FOR THE AMERICA TO WAKE UP, DIGEST PREJUDICE AND WORK THINGS OUT.
    OBAMA 2008

    September 30, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  5. JOSH

    ahhhh....1 day closer to ending this mccain stain. GOBAMA!

    September 30, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  6. Bill

    Palin's idea of foreign affairs travel is any trip outside of Alaska, including to any of the lower 48 where she can order pizza for her family instead of blubber.

    September 30, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  7. A Boston

    McCain/Palin ticket is a circus act. These folks could care less about the economy theyre clueless ont he subject matter. The ecomony and McCains pockets are fundamentally strong as far as he's concerned. Elitist!!!!!!!!!!!

    OBAMA/BIDEN 08

    September 30, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  8. idiots for McPalin

    is that why he is gaining in N.Carolina and Virginia?? Can you explain that?

    September 30, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  9. Biff

    CNN is working HARD to keep the facade that this race is close....

    September 30, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  10. Reality

    BREAKING NEWS
    One of the most liberal media outlets conducted a "poll" of the most liberal polls and claims "Obama holds a 5-point lead over McCain, 48-45 percent." Obama supporters blame John McCain.

    September 30, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  11. Hankers

    Hard core republicans will always see evil in anything left of right. McCain could be replaced with a door knob and will still get 35% of the vote.

    September 30, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  12. Ohio Women 4 Obama

    Please, the polls don't take into account all the newly registered voters. Obama is going to crush McCain. McCain / Palin can take their lies and sick politics back to Alaska.

    Obama / Biden '08

    September 30, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  13. Nan

    Reading the article I see 48 to 43% that is a 5 point lead

    September 30, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  14. Tim

    Um, "Obama holds a 5-point lead over McCain, 48-43 percent" is pretty straight forward, even if the "Straight Talk Express" isn't.

    September 30, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  15. Silence Dogood

    Obama is "ahead" because no one is pinning him down on anything. He lies, panders, is vague and he gets away with it. no one seems to care. McCain's failings are front and center in the news. Obama's are simply ignored, and few voters actually put the time in to research it – they just do what the loudest pundit says.

    If you vote for someone who is lying to you, you will get a liar in office.

    Vote Green Party instead of corporate suits.

    September 30, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  16. Glenn in California

    It's beyond me how Obama can only have a 5 point lead considering the meltdown of McLame and Caribou Barbie. Every day brings new comedy as they out-do themselves, but it would be tragic for the country if voters continue to blindly follow the Republican line.

    I just hope that come November 4th, that rational independent voters turn out in force to prevent a tragedy from occurring.

    Just say NO to Bush 44 and Caribou Barbie.

    Go Obama/Biden!!!

    September 30, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  17. Mark

    The polls only say what CNN and other Democratic favoring news media want them to say.

    Go ahead, keep trying to sway votes to the man who wants to send major money over to Africa.

    Read his website, Obama wants to send more money over to under privledged countries in the face of our country going into depression.

    My poll will speak its voice on Nov 4th,,,,,

    MCCain/Palin

    September 30, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  18. Willy Brown

    Obama did some good repeateing his polished lines feed to him. McCain kept him painted in a corner.

    September 30, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  19. Mike NYC

    Oh but Thursdays debate will.

    Of course If it goes on.

    September 30, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  20. ANGIE

    The polls do not poll new voters what about newly registered voters?

    September 30, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  21. Veteran for Obama

    It seems like top gun McCain is top none!!! However, CNN I must dissagree with you, something did change and it is the Electorial count which now has Obama +40!!!!

    September 30, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  22. RealityKing

    Unfortunately for Obama independents rarely swing toward liberals.., and the undecides still have enough votes to decide this election.

    September 30, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  23. Karen, Arkansas

    I am anxiously waiting for Thursday night. All old Joe has to do is state his viewpoints on the topics and stand back and watch the pit bull self destruct.

    September 30, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  24. D.Kimbro OHIO

    John McCain is a dangerous man!!!! If the american people make the same mistake again (like w/Bush) we will all be in bad shape. I respect him as a man, but I don't respect him as a politician. This man will do anything to get elected. I don't trust his temperment.

    September 30, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  25. Texas Witch Twister

    CNN's poll of poll. Who do you believe. Who does CNN poll. Nothing but African Americans or flip flop Democrats who wouldn't know a qualified politician if they saw one. Please don't give me any more poll of polls. If we believed in CNN giving out the truth then there would be no need to go to the polls come November. Just let Obama walk on into the White House and let's get our misery over with. Let America fall as it surely is going to. We have not had but One solid President since Harry S. Truman and I certainly don't see one in the near future.

    September 30, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
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