October 1st, 2008
04:08 PM ET
3 years ago

CNN Polls: Major gains for Obama in battleground states

Obama is up in new CNN polls.
Obama is up in new CNN polls.

ST. LOUIS, Missouri (CNN) – New polls in five crucial battleground states that could decide the race for the White House suggest Barack Obama is making some major gains.

CNN/Time Magazine/Opinion Research Corporation polls released Wednesday afternoon of likely voters in Florida, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada and Virginia suggest a shift towards the Democratic presidential nominee.

In Florida, the state that decided it all in the 2000 presidential election, 51 percent of likely voters say Obama is their choice for president, with 47 percent backing Republican presidential nominee John McCain. The last CNN poll taken in Florida showed the race for the state's 27 electoral votes all tied at 48 percent apiece, among registered voters. A new CNN Poll of Polls in Florida, also out Wednesday afternoon, has Obama over McCain by 5 points. The CNN Poll of Polls is an average of the new CNN poll and other new state polls.

"The campaign season is like the hurricane season. Florida lies directly in its path. Hurricane Obama hit Florida, and Hurricane McCain. Tropical Storms Biden and Palin made landfall in the Sunshine State. The impact? Over the last two weeks, Barack Obama has been gaining support in Florida," says CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider.

Obama's also making gains over McCain in Minnesota, the state where the Republican convention was held a month ago. Fifty-four percent of those questioned are backing Obama, with 43 percent supporting McCain. That 11 point lead is much larger than the small two point advantage Obama had in the last CNN poll taken in Minnesota, one month ago.

It's a similar story in Missouri, where 49 percent of those polled are backing Obama and 48 percent supporting McCain. That's a gain for Obama, who was down five points to McCain in our last poll in Missouri, taken three weeks ago. Thursday's night's Vice Presidential debate is being held in St. Louis, Missouri. The only other new poll in Missouri, a Research 2000 survey, indicates McCain ahead by one point.

The poll also indicates Obama has a four point lead over McCain in Nevada, 51 percent to 47 percent. CNN's last survey in Nevada, taken in late August, had McCain up slightly. A new American Research Group poll in Nevada puts McCain ahead by two points.

In Virginia, a state that hasn't voted for the Democrats in a presidential contest since 1964, the new poll suggests Obama has a nine point lead, 53 percent to 44 percent. The last CNN survey in Virginia, taken in mid September, had McCain up by four points. But it's a slightly different story in American Research Group's new survey in Virginia, which indicates McCann has a three point lead.

What's behind this shift for Obama?

"Obama has gained ground among moderates in all five states," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "That may have something to do with the first presidential debate. Some commentators knocked Obama for agreeing with McCain as often as he did, but moderates tend to like it when candidates appear willing to see the other side's point of view.

"In most states, Obama also won support from senior citizens and voters making more than $75,000. Those are two groups who may have been hardest-hit by the recent problems in the stock market and the financial community. Economic jitters may not last if Congress passes legislation in the next few days, but there may have been short-term gains for Obama as a result of the current economic problems," added Holland.

When factored in, the new CNN/Time Magazine/Opinion Research Corporation polls are behind a shift in the CNN Electoral College Map. CNN is moving Minnesota, and its 10 electoral votes, from toss up to lean Obama. Missouri, with 11 electoral votes up for grabs, is shifting from lean McCain to toss up. With those moves, CNN estimates that if the presidential election were held today, Obama would win states with 250 electoral votes and McCain states with 189 electoral votes, with 99 electoral votes in states still up for grabs. Two-hundred and seventy electoral votes are needed to win the White House. Obama has a 61 electoral vote advantage over McCain, up from a 40 point lead in our previous electoral map.

The poll also expanded to include three third party candidates, Independent Ralph Nader, Libertarian candidate Bob Barr and Green Party candidate Cynthia McKinney. Except for a 3 percent showing by Nader in Florida and a 4 percent showing by Nader in Nevada, no one registered more than two percent in any survey.

The CNN/Time Magazine/Opinion Research Corporation polls were conducted September 28-30, with 940 registered voters and 770 likely votes in Florida, 929 registered voters and 849 likely voters in Minnesota, 951 registered voters and 744 likely voters in Missouri, 924 registered voters and 684 likely voters in Nevada, and 925 registered voters and 684 likely voters in Virginia all questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points in Florida, Minnesota and Missouri, and 4 percentage points in Nevada and Virginia.


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • CNN Polls • Florida • John McCain • Minnesota • Missouri • Nevada • Virginia
soundoff (276 Responses)
  1. I said Thanks, but No Thanks to another 4 years of g.o.p. corruption, arrogance and incompetence

    Jenny: Shut up? That's your reaction to people who give you bad news.
    Jenny, you and your republican cohorts are to blame for the economic mess we are in, so we are going to keep talking truth, since truth has an obvious liberal bias.

    October 1, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  2. Ashlee Dalton, GA

    This is welcome news in our troubling times. I HOPE that this trend continues and when Barack and Biden are sworn into office, that is the day that I will truely be proud to be an American!!! We will officially put our ugly history behind us. Still the race is not won yet....the deadline for voter registration is THIS MONDAY and get out to vote and make real America's voice heard....OBAMA/BIDEN the change we need!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 1, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  3. Rania

    This update is super exciting. But my stomach won't stop turning in knots until Obama actually wins. I hope this pattern continues until election day so I can stop worrying about the possible outcome of a Mccain/Palin administration.

    October 1, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  4. I said Thanks, but No Thanks to another 4 years of g.o.p. corruption, arrogance and incompetence

    Jim Schimmer: Welcome on board. You sir, are a Great American.

    October 1, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  5. N.S of Huntsville, Al

    And make sure that if your 17 years old and will be 18 on or before Nov. 4th you are elligable to vote. So High school teachers do your job and print out voter registration forms for High School seniors who meet the above requirements and help them register to vote.

    Come on America get people registered deadlines for states are fast approaching.

    VOTE VOTE VOTE

    OBAMA/BIDEN 08

    CNN WHY DON'T YOU DO A VOTER REGISTRATION TELETHON AND GET PEOPLE SIGNED UP TO VOTE

    October 1, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  6. Craig in Kansas

    Nothing can be taken for granted. We need every vote to be counted for Obama. I do not trust our system. The win has to be BIG to get their attention. I have watched two elections be stolen. Please not again.

    Obama/Biden 08/12

    October 1, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  7. kobs

    Oh Yes Gwen Hill can moderate the debate. "Yes she can" Just GO Go Go and do it Hillary would say !!! Whom do they think they are fooling ?! If Palin is bot confortable she can stop the Campaign !!!

    October 1, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  8. Ex-Republican for Obama

    What's that smell?

    Hey, if Obama gets over 300 electoral votes, I think McCain should do the 'honorable' thing and apologize to all of us for wasting our time and money on his pathetic, sorry butt!! He's a sleaze bag and should be incarcerated for the rest of his natural born life.

    October 1, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  9. Jens

    Here's the critical question:

    Will McCain order Republican operatives from trying to bar as many voters from the polls as they can? The last two elections would not have gone the way they did if it weren't for the sustained, un-American efforts by Republican operatives across the country working to suppress legal votes.

    They even have the audacity to say if you've lost your home, you can't vote. It's outrageous.

    Everyone should be asking if McCain will order these coordinated efforts to stop.

    October 1, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  10. Tony

    I FULLY EXPECT MCCAIN AND THE CAMPAIGN TO MAKE AN ANNOUNCEMENT THAT PALIN WILL NOT APEPAR AT THE DEBATE TOMORROW NIGHT, USING SOME BOGUS EXCUSE.

    IF SHE DOES THE POLL NUMBERS WILL LOOK MORE LIKE
    OBAMA 80 – MCCAIN 10 – PALIN 0......AND 2% UNDECIDED.

    OBAMA / BIDEN 2008-2012!

    October 1, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  11. rich

    I do not believe that the majority of the voting public will make the same mistake they did in 2000, and 2004. They are paying for those mistakes right now. The polls foretell what is about to unfold on Nov. 4, and its not going to be preety for the McCain and the republicans.

    October 1, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  12. The Conservative

    We have to get it done. Let's donate! Call everyone you know! Tell them about the impending change so they can join all of us. God bless America!

    October 1, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  13. Shari, NY

    Millions of people are unregistered. Democrats: You know who they are, so please seek them out, educate them and encourage them to exercise their franchise. I have already swayed one apathetic citizen to register. Don't expect change unless you change your attitude!

    October 1, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  14. Jimi NY

    This is our last chance to get it right AMERICA!

    If McCain/Palin get in then it's pretty much over for this once great country. WE squandered the last eight years. PLEASE DON'T LET THE REPUBLICANS IN OFFICE EVER AGAIN.

    OBAMA/BIDEN '08

    THE LOGICAL CHOICE . . . THE ONLY CHOICE!!!!

    October 1, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  15. Kevin-Calgary Alberta

    Memo to the McCain campaign:

    In light of the recent decline in the polls of your candidate, no doubt you are about to release a slew of ads featuring Rev. Wright, Rezko and Ayers. Nothing will stop you from doing so, but you might want to remember that it did NOT work for the Clinton campaign and it will NOT work for you eiither.

    October 1, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  16. KJ

    Tropical Storm Palin, LOL. You know the thing about tropical storms? Their buzz dies out and they hardly make an impact.

    October 1, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  17. Army Brat

    Better get ready for an "October Surprise." The neocons are not going to go gently into the night.

    October 1, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  18. Remus

    Obama's failure to achieve a double-digit lead and maintain it "has given a lot of hope to Republicans," GOP pollster Whit Ayres said. Yet he also allowed, "You can't have a playing field that leans this heavily toward the Democrats and not be nervous."

    This was from a republican pollster. My sides hurt from laughing so hard at the idiocy of this. They are celebrating BECAUSE he has a 8 point lead? HAHAHA

    October 1, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  19. LB

    The next article about McCains lies againt Obama regarding Clean Coal is just another false remark made by mcCain. For someone who says he will run a clean campaign, so far all I've seen are lies and more lies. Will this be how he plans to run this country, just like Bush continued to lie to the American people, so will McCain. Once a lier always a lier.

    October 1, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  20. Charlotte

    Why do you think the Dems want the economy to tank? Bad economy woes favor Dems.? This is so sad when politics comes before country. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Ried need to be replaced with real leaders.

    October 1, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  21. FaithnAbove

    I'm an evangelical Republican who will be voting for a Democrat (Obama) for the first time in my adult life. McCain is too reckless and shows appalling judgment. I never thought it could happen, but Obama has grown on me as well – he's smart and he's got a good temperament. I'm not surprised he's ahead.

    October 1, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  22. Gorci

    Palin has been in debates. She knows how to debate. I think she's a buffoon, but don't let pundits lower expectations so much that anything she does will turn out to be a success.

    October 1, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  23. Scott L

    Yawn, Obama going to lose.

    October 1, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  24. The Nightingale Sings in Berkley Square

    Hey don't put Ohio as a toss up state. Ohio is solid for McCain. And rightly so. McCain will ensure we get a tax cut and he will balance the budget. He will bring the troops home from Iraq with honor while securing that oil rich country thus preventing Iran from taking control of it.

    Obama is risky and he will give a speech but I don't trust him or his wife. Isn't his wife a piece of work?

    McCain will take action while Obama will give a speech. You decide. I am a PUMA for McCain.

    October 1, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  25. Shawny

    And I'd like to give a special shout out to Hannity and Rush. :-)
    You're gonna need to increase dosage on your meds real soon fellas.

    A new day is coming when we can get back to having intelligent presidents again.

    Yes We Can. Yes We Will!

    Barrack and Joe and for 09. The world is waiting for you.

    October 1, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
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