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. interested observer

    I'm Canadian, and totally fascinated with this election cycle.

    I am totally amazed that so many people down there are falling for the negativity and McCain lies.

    Endlessly repeating a lie apparently does make it true – for some people.

    Let me try to make it easier for a Palin supporter to understand: If this were a beauty pageant, would the strategy be to criticise your opponents' dress and talk about how ugly she was?

    When you don't have a plan, go on offence.

    October 20, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  2. Joseph

    It's un American for the democrats to wish, desire and hope for a bad economy or failure in war just for political gain.
    It’s very very sad and low of them to be glad of misfortune just so they can win the presidency.
    P.S. would Powel be voting for Hilary or Biden if they were the presidential nominee I don't think so, and if your honest you know this to be true. He didn't cross party lines, he's just voting for the black person.

    October 20, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  3. SoDak Pol

    Regardless of McCain's Bush-esque policies, it's still deeply disappointing that some voters, even having born witness to the waste and corruption of the last eight years, perceive this incredibly weak - even by many Republicans' own admissions - Republican ticket as viable. As a Dem who was somewhat impressed with McCain's post-9/11 messages, I think his campaign is insulting to Americans of all political parties. I can't believe he or his campaign leaders don't think Americans deserve more than Palin – who plays a VP on TV – and all of this empty, histrionic rhetoric. Meanwhile, Obama continues to unite Reps and Dems with his calm pragmatism. FINALLY, someone I actually WANT to vote for since Al Gore.

    October 20, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  4. Sean

    I agree with the first comment by Brian. Everything he has offered is just like Bush. The fact that only 49% view him as just like Bush shows how stupid these morons in this country really are!

    October 20, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  5. barbara

    We the people of these United States of America cannot take another 4 years of republicans. No matter what John McCain says he WILL follow in George Bush footsteps.He WILL.I know he WILL.Ask yourself this question . How much worse can the deomcrats do?????????LET'S GIVE THEM A CHANCE TO DO BETTER.

    October 20, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  6. CollegeRepublican

    Dear Democrats,

    Be Afraid. Be very afraid. Slowly but surely, your people are starting to see that McCain isn't Bush. Jump on the bandwagon, folks. Socialism doesn't have a place in the U.S. Bye! Bye! Barack!


    Young Republican

    October 20, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  7. America demands answers

    MCcAIN/pALIN WAITED FOR (Unlicenced and uneducated) Joe to say its a "socialist view" People last week Palin said he agrees with Joe the plumber....Mccain said he agrees with same...And joe claimed he never talked to McCain before interupting Sen Obama's neiborhood walk...the truth is Sam Joe is a registered volunteer of the McCain campaign he lied to ABC that he hasnt make up his mind who to vote for...that is unbelievable. If two presidential nominee will agree with an uneducated guy that his views are right on socialism without them actually checking out what socialism means...its scary.
    Caneveryone see how accessible Sen Obama is to allow Joe the plumber to get close to him unfiltered and interrupt him...wow its amazing. Did anyone ever get that close to either palin or mcCain?
    Absolutely not.

    October 20, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  8. Share the $$$$$$

    We are becoming dependent on the GVT...
    We NEED reform and we NEED it now

    McCain 08

    October 20, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  9. dhiraj

    Anybody who confronts the establishment, how can he/she be same as Bush?

    For Barack he is also a party man. He does not know how to confront the establishment?

    Also, I am a registered democrat of 35 years. I do not want to spread my wealth around.

    October 20, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  10. Zagazaw

    What do you say when One of the best INVESTER and Financial mind of our time, along with a great and highly decorated FOUR STAR GENERAL, and former Secretary of State. Endorse a candidate, for President.
    Warren Buffet and General Colin Powell

    I think that should tell you something about that Person, the most recognized General and the most recognized financial mind will be ADVISING this man.

    Obama/Biden 08

    October 20, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  11. Chris

    I think a Russian space capsule might have flown over my house – in space – I gotta check, but if it did, then I got mad foreign relations skills!!!!!

    October 20, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  12. J.D.

    When John – 7 houses - McCain complains about the prospect of paying the same tax rate that existed during the Clinton Administration (which is what Obama is proposing) AT A TIME WHEN WE ARE FIGHTING TWO WARS - he reveals who is really is: rich, greedy and UNPATRIOTIC. Don't send our men and women into war if you're not willing to step up and pay for it, sir.

    October 20, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  13. Briana

    same tax cuts, and not paying the deficit seems pretty similar to me

    October 20, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  14. Independent for McCain

    Wonder whether Powell will support Obama if he is a white?? What about his experience, a not even a one term senator in the Congress, do you trust his experience? Only Powell Do!A change he always mentioned. What type of change, for better or worst? I believe many voters will see this too. I supported McCain because I believed he has the experience to guide this country to the right path. I am a hard working person with business around but I was asked to spread my wealth to others. Is Obama encouraging me to move my business to other countries and fired all my staff? Because there is no incentive for me to work hard and start my business here with so high taxes that Obama is proposing. Are we socialist? By the way, I am Asian.

    October 20, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  15. trudy

    Mc Same to much Temper, an hatred to be President , he is only aut for the rich , please People dont make the same Misstake again , an vote for the liang Republican

    October 20, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  16. JJin Virginia

    If this closing in the polls has anything to do with the McCain/Palin rhetoric of Obama being a "socialist", I can't understand it.

    Can it be that folks really don't understand what socialism is? It's about government control of the means of the production. Modern democracies have always redistributed wealth, meaning some type of proportional tax dependent on income.

    So, okay, if you insist, the current tax system is "socialist" because it's always taxed high brackets more and redistributed weath the programs that build and strengthen our infastructure. But that means so are McCain's tax policies "socialist". You can't have it both ways. Remember the "bailout" – what shall we call that?? Bush's idea, and also backed by McCain!

    October 20, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  17. Sara, Charlotte

    oh no!!! Please dont fall for the lies or the robocalling. he is lying and will be totally like Bush!

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

    Obama wants to spread the wealth. Plus, he wants to give driver's license to illegal aliens. Is Obama going to put all road signs in different languages too? Where is his college thesis?

    October 20, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  19. Commonwealth of Virginia

    I can't wait until 11/4/08 to prove how inaccurate these polls are.


    October 20, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  20. My left foot

    What is going on with McCain's left eye? There's something growing under the skin on his left lower eyelid.

    October 20, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  21. Hannah Stevens

    I think there are many paid posters this morning given the strange things they are saying. And if they aren't they are part of the ignorant people who vote against their own self interest time and again. They voted for bush twice and look where it got us. i am tired of these people not knowing the issues. Not knowing that socialism, some is necessary for our country. Where would the roads and bridges come from. Ari traffic control, our agencies that are supposed to protect us form harm; FEMA, FDA, FBI, SEC and much more. And when you have a concentration of wealth at the top and the ordinary citizen cannot buy the products and homes, then democarcy is gone in America. That is McCain's plan.

    Vote Obam/Biden!

    October 20, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  22. Elizabeth

    It's clear that the McCain camp is getting desperate by calling Obama a socialist. America has always been seen as a land of opportunity and a place where you can achieve the American Dream. "Spreading the wealth" seems to me like a good way to help many of us who want to better our lives to achieve that dream. McCain wants to keep us as a country of "haves" and "have-nots" while Obama wants to see everyone rise to their greatest heights and I'm all for that. The people who are voting solely with their pocketbooks and supporting Republicans so that they can hang on to their tax breaks represent exactly what's wrong with this country.

    October 20, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  23. voter


    Didn't republicans nationalize dour banks last week? I believe this is socialism along with the republicans coporate welfare. Nice try in saying that demcrats are socialist. It is really the republicans.

    October 20, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  24. MORONS

    If McCain gets elected I predict the Dow Jones drops 2,000 pts. Mark my words.

    Obama plan redistributes DEBT not WEALTH. Idiots, learn the difference!

    October 20, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  25. Obama/Biden 08!

    Polls are tightening???? I just checked gallup they have

    Obama 52% Mccain 42% Registered Voters

    Obama 51% Mccain 44% Likely Voters (Expanded)

    Obama 49% Mccain 46% Likely Voters (Traditional)

    Not sure why the 3 different polls looks like their stacking the deck so they don't get caught with there pants down no matter who wins. However, Obama has a 7-10 point lead in the first 2 polls how about getting your numbers straight CNN!

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