October 20th, 2008
01:05 PM ET
5 years ago

CNN Poll: Race may be tightening

Obama has a 5 point lead over McCain in the latest CNN poll.
Obama has a 5 point lead over McCain in the latest CNN poll.

Latest CNN/ORC Poll of likely voters:
Barack Obama: 51 percent
John McCain: 46 percent

WASHINGTON (CNN) - With two weeks and one day until election day, a new national poll of likely voters suggests the race for the White House may be tightening up.

In a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Monday, 51 percent of likely voters questioned Friday through Sunday back Barack Obama for president, with 46 percent supporting John McCain. That 5 point advantage for Senator Obama, D-Illinois, is down from an 8 point edge he held over Senator McCain, R-Arizona, in the last CNN/ORC national poll, conducted October 3-5.

One reason behind the tightening of the race appears to be a drop in the number of people who think McCain, if elected, will mostly carry out President Bush's policies. Forty-nine percent of those questioned in the new survey say McCain would mostly carry out Bush's policies, down from 56 percent in the previous poll.

View the complete poll results [PDF]

"It's clear from the final presidential debate that one of McCain's top priority was to distance himself from Bush," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "It looks like McCain has convinced growing numbers of Americans that his policies would be different than Bush. The next task is to convince voters that his policies would be better than Bush's and on the economic front at least, that may be a more difficult task."

CNN is also updating it's Poll of Polls of the national general election, thanks to the new CNN/ORC survey, plus the release of other new surveys this morning. Obama retains his six point advantage in the new Poll of Polls, with 50 percent of voters saying the Democratic presidential nominee is their choice for president, and 44 percent backing McCain, the Republican presidential nominee. Six percent of voters are undecided.

The CNN Poll of Polls is an average of the latest national surveys. The polls included in this newest edition are the CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Survey (Oct. 17-19), a Reuters C-SPAN/Zogby poll (Oct. 17-19), a Gallup poll (Oct. 16-18) and a Diageo/Hotline survey (Oct. 17-19).

The new CNN/ORC poll also indicates that Americans think Obama would do better job dealing with the tough economic times. Fifty-three percent of those questioned say Obama would better handle the current financial crisis, with 38 percent saying McCain would do a better job. And 63 percent feel Obama would better handle helping the middle class, almost double the 32 percent who feel McCain would be of better service to the middle class.

"The economy remains the number-one issue, and Americans appear to be more confident in Obama on that topic," Holland said. "Both candidates tried to pitch their plans as the best thing for the middle class. Obama appears to have won that argument."

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted by telephone, with 1,058 adult Americans questioned. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (379 Responses)
  1. Niky

    Isn't that the pattern though that the race usually tightens up a couple of weeks before the election day?

    October 20, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  2. Ryan in Michigan

    He's still 90% Bush, Im not willing to take a 10% chance.

    October 20, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  3. Greg in Mpls

    McCain = Bush on the economy. That's the only similarity I need to know about.

    October 20, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  4. spiveyivey

    Makes sense that the race is tightening. It will be close, and as an Obama supporter I am glad because there is NO way that the ground operations will get complacent. Get out the vote!

    October 20, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  5. PUMBU

    McCain is Bush, look at the policies people. This country is going in the ditch.

    October 20, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  6. Ryan

    I'd like to know what these polls are like when they include cellphone-only people like my wife and I.

    October 20, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  7. Voting for Change

    Just as THAT ONE predicted.

    That's why we cannot become complacent! Vote for real CHANGE!

    Obama/Biden '08

    October 20, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  8. MLD ND

    Let's not forget who the VP would be if McCain is elected. As Biden stated, anything can happen in an administration, such as McCain developing a health problem. Let's look at the whole of both tickets and be wise about our decision. Palin is not knowledgable enough to be President, period. What we don't need is Todd Palin guiding a President as he has done with the Gov in Alaska. McCain made an unwise choice for VP and he should be held accountable for that.

    October 20, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  9. Jude

    No doubt it is tightening but I think Powell's endoresement is the final nail in the coffin...I think that will stop the slide and push Obama over the top!!! We haven't had polls since his endorsement so well see. Furthermore, its not about the national polls...its about the individual states!!!

    October 20, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  10. joe six oack

    that's why we need to send more people to college. Anyone who thinks that Mccain will do anything different than Bush needs to have their heads examined

    October 20, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  11. Rob

    This appears to many voterrs to be a racist election-especially with Powel now switiching to Obama.There are still the silent independent voters that could swing the outcome on election day.

    October 20, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  12. TJ

    This looks like it's going to be the race of the century. Obama's lead may be shrinking, but it is still a lead. McBush will do nothing more than carry out the same failed policies of the Bush administration, with a McBush twist. That is not change; that is nothing more than recycling. If you want change that you can believe in, there is but one choice.

    Obam/Biden '08

    October 20, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  13. That one is Karl Marxs friend too

    It's nice to see that not everyone is drinking the democratic Kool-aide. It is troubling to have someone so close to the White House that has voted the most left in the Senate in 2007 and has the Spread the Wealth come out of his mouth off the cuff. That sounds real good for business and that attitude will cripple the American workforce. Let's get unemployment back to 11% when Clinton was in office. That should help the trouble we are in now. Clinton wasn't even as left as this guy. Keep drinking the kool-aide folks. The guy who is trying to buy the election should not be trusted..

    October 20, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  14. Chris

    If Obama is winning the economic argument then this thing may get to about the 4 point mark but he will win.

    October 20, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  15. Anonymous

    Barack Obama said we were not met as liberators in Iraq but he was wrong. I remember the Iraqi's cheering when the U.S. soldiers were tearing down the statue of Sadam Hussein. Obama says the war in Iraq was wrong and that U.S. soldiers died for nothing . That is not true. People like Obama and Jim Webb are despicable politicians.
    They do not deserve to be in high positions of power. I can't vote for Barack Obama because our soldiers died for a reason.

    October 20, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  16. TAINOPOWER

    I don't trust obama any more he lied about hid radical views and friends .wont trust him whit my children no way.

    October 20, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  17. Nicole in Ga

    I have never received one phone call from any poll. Why is that ? I already knew Obama would start dropping towards the end, but I do believe he will win. There are so many people who are not on those polls including the young generation and new voters who are electrified behind Obama all the way.

    October 20, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  18. Deb

    It is unbelievable that there are people who would vote for John McCain knowing Sara Palin could be vice president and even president. Mind boggling.

    October 20, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  19. FAYE, NV

    Please exercise your right to vote. No more of Bush policies and McCain is twin to Bush. Enough is enough of this present fail policy.

    Obama/Biden

    October 20, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  20. KJL

    Good lord. Can't the people in this country read? Think? Reason?

    Palin may be a good punch line and a great politician, but the woman is a menace. She is a religious fanatic who knows very little about our government, much less that of any other country, and she loves to stir up anger. Wake up, America!

    October 20, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  21. TAINOPOWER

    The obama plan will turn 60% or more of this country in to a welfare system and keep using my tax money to control the people. And that is socialism.

    October 20, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  22. Realistic

    The national polls may be drawing closer as McGrouchy picks up more voters in the red states that were going to vote for him anyhow.

    Making the Stupid South redder will not stop the electoral landslide.

    October 20, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  23. Michael

    What a surprise... And I'm sure that a neck-and-neck race being good for ratings has nothing to do with this headline.

    Fearless forecast: On Monday, November 3, the race will be "too close to call" – at least according to everyone in the media.

    October 20, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  24. Gen Patton

    Although, it is within the MSM made up Bradley effect.

    October 20, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  25. Brooke

    Of course the race will get tighter, they always do.

    October 20, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
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