October 20th, 2008
01:05 PM ET
10 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. avni

    CNN – perhaps you can post this by dooms day!!! I can bet you are never going to post this:

    If Obama = Socialist... Palin = Dictator!!
    Hell i'll pick a socialist over a dictator any day!

    October 20, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  2. Amy Mason

    National polls don't matter. The only thing that matters is the Electoral MAP!!

    October 20, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  3. That Other Jerry

    This election has been tight from the get-go. What's happening is that voters are beginning to ignore all the ridiculous side issues and all the shrill nitwits in the blogs and forums, and take a few minutes to seriously think about who they will vote for and why. This is just now being reflected in the polling data, and will continue to be for the next two weeks. If you're a political junkie, go ahead and lay in some snacks and your favorite brand of coffee for election night; it's gonna be another close call.

    October 20, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  4. ali


    October 20, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  5. Democrat in VA

    I saw a video this weekend of the McCain/Palin rally in Pennsylvania, and let me tell you, I was SO ASHAMED that there are people in our country that are still this racist. The handout with the watermelon/kool-aid/fried chicken on it with Senator Obama's picture, trying to incite racism, was just apalling. PLEASE, will the REAL AMERICANS PLEASE STAND UP AND FIGHT AGAINST THIS TYPE OF RACISM!! The color God gave our shell of a body has NO BEARING on the soul of the person. It's what is inside that counts, and Barak Obama is a GOOD MAN,

    October 20, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  6. Danis

    Unemployment was never 11% under Clinton. Cut it with the disinformation. And by the way, Joe the Plumber made $40,000 in 2006 – it's a matter of public record from his divorce proceedings. The guy wants to borrow the money to buy the business, which will be a lot harder to get now because of this credit crisis because the Bush administration was asleep at the wheel. Or should I say, purposely looking the other way?
    8 long years of Republican predators running things. Here's one for you skeptics-check out the economy of our country during Democratic administrations-you'll see that we fared better with the donkeys than with the elephants.

    October 20, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  7. Jeff

    CNN, you have to have something to talk about .....I am sure it snot even that close. But, we will go with the professionals the best team in the business for a little motivation to get the vote out .

    Thanks, CNN

    October 20, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  8. Red, Red WHINE!!

    McCain = socialist

    He believes in taxing us and supporting his friends. A true NON-SOCIALIST would say NO TAXES AT ALL.....because regardless of how you cut it, ALL TAXATION is a form of Socialism. So don't be an idiot and tell us about socialism unless you fully agree to vote ONLY for a candidate that say's "I will remove ALL taxation, because I'm not a socialist"....Idiots think taxation is not socialism. Intelligent people KNOW it's necessary to have taxes. The only difference is how they are used. I prefer them to be used to help those who need it most, rather then the already rich and corrupt.

    Obama is the only man with a plan!

    October 20, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  9. caribbean admirer of OBAMA

    God bless America and the world, but spare everybody from having a "real loser" and his separatistminded, racial VP-candidate to get into the Whitehouse.

    Go Obama/Biden '08

    October 20, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  10. Jinny Lee

    No one asked me...... my friends....my relatives in different states......my co-workers.......or my dog REX...... ever......1,058 presumed adults? What states? Were they "trick" questions? To me the the so-called polls and their numbers are just not reliable.

    October 20, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  11. sensi johnson

    Anyone who thought that this race was to be a landslide is smoking the wrong stuff. One major reason why this race is as tuff as it is despite the republican party unpopularity, is that John Mccain is not a republican in the true defination. John Mccain is a brand that is loved and respected by most people regardless of thier political affiliation.
    I will hope that civility prevail in these last two weeks of the campaign so that the new president will not have to deal with repairing the divisions within the country as a result of the negative things that are being said on the trail. We must lead the world and we have to behave as such.

    October 20, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  12. Miller, IA

    That one is Karl Marxs friend too, I guess you didn't looked at the statistics, the unemployment rate was 7.5% in 1992, in 2000 it was 4%. The Bureau of Labor webiste goes back to 1948 and we haven't and 11% unemployment since then so I don't know where you're getting your facts from. Both Bushes have had the unemployment rate increase under them and it decreased under Clinton, McCain has pretty much the same economic agendas as Bush which would likely increase the rate. We can't have more of that. And when Obama says spread the wealth around, why don't people understand that what any tax is, it's taking from people businesses and giving to somewhere else to help fund projects i.e. infrastructure, social security, education, maybe that's why our infrastructure and educations among other things are so bad because Repubs want to give too much in tax breaks to the rich that these things are failing, I didn't hear too many people complaining about these things when Clinton was in office.

    October 20, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  13. Rich in Seattle

    If this country elects McCain, god help us.

    Seriously? Really? I mean... come-on! McCain? Seriously?

    October 20, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  14. Winnie Hussein . . . in Montana

    To Scott L. – Please read something for yourself instead of listening to McCain and Palin's lies. Sen. Obama has proposed tax cuts for 95% of WORKING Americans. Many working Americans pay payroll taxes, and are therefore eligible. Those who pay no taxes of any kind are NOT eligible. Period. Geez, educate yourself already. Become a free thinker and use your common sense. Don't be a blind fool hoping for a different result if you do the same thing over and over.

    There are, unfortunately, many people out there who love Sarah Palin. I don't understand how or why. I require my leaders to be more intelligent and better educated than myself. More aware of domestic and international issues that I am. Neither Palin nor McCain fit this bill.

    October 20, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  15. Brenna

    I won't vote for McCain because of his choice of Palin. Period. Poor judgment, stupid choice.

    October 20, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  16. MC in NJ

    Why haven't I ever been selected for one of these polls???

    15 days and counting...

    Obama/Biden '08

    October 20, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  17. Laura

    Of course its close, but it only means we work harder for Obama! There is no way McCain/Plain are good for this Country...Choose HOPE not HATE!

    Obama/Biden 08!

    October 20, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  18. Miss Gracie

    It's incredibly unfortunate that McCain is apparently convincing people of something that just isn't going to happen. McCain and Palin have proved over the last couple of weeks that they will stop at nothing to get to the White House. There is not going to be any kind of change under a McCain/Palin White House. They're hoodwinking the public. I certainly hope they can live with themselves after all of this. It's shameful.

    October 20, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  19. TWR

    Collin Powell supported the Iraq war more than anyone and it was his speech that was the most compelling to get support to enter Iraq. I would think Obama would want to keep Powell's endorsement quiet. Obama is flip-flopping again......now he wants the endorsement of the heavy hitter who contributed to getting us into Iraq.

    October 20, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  20. Bit

    Forget about the Bush's policies............it's Sarah Palin that people should be afraid of if that ticket was to win.

    October 20, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  21. Sherri

    For the people supporting McCain – are you seriously voting for a man who can barely control his temper, changes his mind day to day on the economic situation, selects a running mate who is clearly not ready to be president (and if you think she is, you are lying to yourself), is allowing the autocalls to people saying that Obama is a Muslim and supports domestic terrorism, whose behavior is all over the map, Is this who you want for President?

    Your voting for McCain could be a number of things: Republican stubborness, racism, un-education, or my favorite, you may really be stupid....

    October 20, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  22. DC in AZ

    I want to apologize for ranting in a previous entry. I want to commend those here who are just asking everyone to get out and vote.

    Good show folks.

    Obama/Biden '08

    October 20, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  23. Kylene

    Notice the date of the national poll is October 3-5. There have been alot of changes in campaigns and voter sentiments since October 5. So why would CNN report as a headline OLD news such as this? I find it to be poor journalism in such an important issue. Is that all the better they can do on the pulse of America in this age of cyberspace report on a poll that is over 10 days old?

    October 20, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  24. Nola

    CNN – would please address the issue of FANNIE MAY and FreddyMac paid $200M to a republic firm to keep congress from voting on regulating them. Also, would you plase address a Rep being arrested for voting fraud – out in Calif. We need to see both sides

    October 20, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  25. spanky

    McCain and Palin have divided this country and should be ashamed of themselves. I don't care if the race gets tighter – I only care about the outcome. If McCain/Palin win it will be through cheating like Bush did. McCain has voted over 90% of the time with Bush – HE IS NO MAVERICK – he is just another Republican.
    Vote for intelligence this time, America!
    Vote the smart guys who have a chance at fixing this mess that the Republicans have left us with. Vote for Change!

    October 20, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16