October 20th, 2008
01:05 PM ET
6 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. Robert

    McCain said early on that he voted 90 % with Bush's policies and his record proves it. He will say anthing to win this election, but the majority of the American people know him for what he is...an angry old man with piss poor judgement that has no detail plans of his own to fix the Economy. He will do whatever the RNC tells him to...that has already been proven by him choosing Sarah Palin.

    October 20, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  2. Floretta Bush

    Here are the facts:
    Persons making $250,000 or greater make up less than 2% of the population. Even if we wanted to tax them to the point of 100%, it could not support the plan Obama has set forward.
    Secondly, they are already paying a 38% tax rate. Why should they be taxed more?
    The days of Robin Hood should be over. What ever happened to capitalism? Obama clearly did't study it in the textbooks he is having to use instead of experience.
    There is something very wrong and very scary about Obama's plan. it's called socialism.

    October 20, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  3. TX Independent for Obama

    If you are making $30k apiece. How you gonna pay for THAT? Give me a break.

    Obama/Biden

    Don't gloat, Vote!

    October 20, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  4. cool onlooker

    Even their own insider cannot stand any more this lying politics. Attacking attacking attacking every day. What's the substance?

    Gen Powell is a great example to all bewildered repubs.

    October 20, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  5. Dennis

    Why do the Democrats think it's a crime to be successful? Weath redistribution is Socialism.

    October 20, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  6. ECO

    I wonder how 2 people like McCain and Palin, who can not grasp complex topics, should be allowed to preside over a complex country like the USA. I really wonder. When will the Republicans put forth smart people to run for the presidency. Obama is ways above smarter than the both McCain and Palin four folds. Not-very-smart people make not-very-smart decisions. Where is Romney? Bring back Romney now. Well, it is too late.

    October 20, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  7. Congrats CNN..the only news network reporting this

    You guys are the only news network reporting this. Shame on you. It seems CNN is desperate for news to cover and when it cant find it you create it on your own. Not even Fox news is reporting this "tightening." In fact three major polls out today show Obama INCREASING his lead.

    I even had to read about Powell's endorsement on the Ticker of all places. You guys bury the news that would suggest Obama is inching closer to victory and report things that will give you cause to create a false sense of excitement.

    Great job CNN.

    October 20, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  8. Dan

    The way I see it, the electoral college makes this a Obama or McCain victory. These polls only weigh actual votes, not taking into account the electoral votes that result in them. States like California could makes these results misleading…

    October 20, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  9. NO bama

    Wake up folks. The endorsement of Colin Powell shows just how racist this campaign is. And the recent poll numbers show that people's alarm clocks are finally going off...

    October 20, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  10. da

    McShame is out foir the count. I dont care what CNN says.

    October 20, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  11. Single Mother For Obama

    I am a single mother who supported Obama before he even announced his run for President. We have come along ways, I remember the stories from my great aunts/uncles/ and grandmothers of how life was for them growing up, and the mere fact that we wasnt even allowed to vote. I'm sick of people claiming that he isnt ready or that Blacks lack the ability to lead, if that was the case you would not have wasted your time to travel across seas to take us from our homeland and bring us here to cook, clean, educate your children, and do manual labor. Those that are last shall one day be first... well it looks like our time has come. We will be having a educated african american as president. If you do a little research you will see that his name means blessed. And with a man thats the meaning of blessed as President, we will no longer be stressed! Even my two year old son recognize and knows Obama. He states: "Obama...Pressydent!"

    Thank God for the Change,

    Yes We can

    October 20, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  12. Sharon - NC

    I have to comment here on the McCain campaign's latest – that Barack Obama is a socialist, and his plans amount to nothing less than socialism. McCain clearly believe that the majority of Republicans and Independents are stupid and/or uninformed and will believe his dribble of the day and vote for him out of fear, or worse. True signs of desperation and indicative of his low opinion of voters in general. He has to win because I would imagine his days in the Senate and as a statesman in general are numbered. In the meantime Mr. McCain, please do not say the words 'Joe the Plumber' again. That joke, which turned out was on you, is getting old.

    October 20, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  13. Tim

    Working in advertising, I'll say this: it's about the quality of the message, not the quantity. It doesn't matter how much you spend – endless repetition will just put people off. And the media is staurating the voter even moreso. Ads should be targeted and not interfering in people's lives. From what I hear though, all the political ads are getting annoying to everyone. This could backfire for the candidates, and perhaps this is just one effect.

    October 20, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  14. Dallas, TX

    Go McCain, this race is not over yet!

    Obama's possible policies are not what America needs right now. Even Biden said, he'll be tested the first six months in office. I want a man who's got experience dealing with all types of national and international issues, Mr. Obama does not, he does not have the experience at this time to be president.

    A Dem congress and a liberal Dem President is a deadly combo that America and Americans do not need!

    McCain/Palin '08!!!

    October 20, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  15. Amazed

    I can't believe people are falling for the line that he is taking from some to give money to those that don't pay taxes. That is one of the oldest tricks in the book. I admonish everyone to not just listen to what they hear on TV, do your OWN research.

    October 20, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  16. mcl

    Well, well, well......

    So obama may win....This will be a sad day in America. :(
    I will mourn. He can not make America any better. And WILL NOT make America better.
    Dems are so nieve. What is this world coming to? I know
    that "IF" he wins, he'll never be my president.

    October 20, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  17. Mike G

    Instead polling everday how about getting the results of the early votes? You know, something tangible that actually matters?!!.

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

    Allow me to summarize the rest of the page for anyone that doesn't want to read it all as I just did.

    "That's not how it is. People that disagree with me are stupid."

    October 20, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  19. LHH

    And what makes you think that Bush's economic policies have been to blame for any of this! He took an economy headed into a deep recession left by the previous administration. It was compounded by the disaster of 9/11. From that, he not only rescued the country from recession, but we saw one of the biggest increases in GDP this country has ever seen. Add to that the creation of more jobs than ever before.

    Then along comes the irresponsibility of the Democrat appointed executives of Fannie Mae, a transfer of control of those watch dogging those clowns two years ago to a Democrat controlled Congress, and the persistant refusal of the congress to act on calls for reform by Republicans for increased control and monitoring in the industry , and then you try and tell me Bush tanked the economy?

    The air must be pretty thin up there where you live.

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

    When was this poll conducted?

    October 20, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  21. RobS

    CNN is most definitely biased, though they try to protray that they aren't.

    Ok CNN, how about reporting on Michelle Bachman's comments last Friday? Are you the only news agency that refuses to? Or the Zogby polls that say that, of this morning, McCain is down 5.4% today- most probably from the Colin Powell endorsement?

    Try being an actual news agency for once, rather than some tool for the GOP.

    October 20, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  22. Dan

    CNN is definitely trying to sway voters. I don't believe their polls anymore than I do Rasmussins. CNN's parent, Time-Warner is a big republican contributor and supporter. So why would or should their polls, reporters (joke), commentators or pundits tow anything but the party line. They have drunk the kool-aid and it's shows.

    October 20, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  23. becky in Ohio

    Scott wrote:
    And yes, giving money to those that do NOT even file taxes IS socialism.
    Are you an idiot? The IRS does NOT send refund checks to those WHO DO NOT file. You must have INCOME to file. You sir, are a complete bafoon.

    October 20, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  24. Ed McDuffie

    I myself think that this is not the case. I live in Nebraska a very red state and you get out and talk to these Rebublican voters and they will tell you they are going to vote for Obama. They see that McCain is not the person that he once was. Most will tell you that they see a Mad Man and they certainly don't like the way he has been all over the broad road of the political radical right wing and they are not buying his attacks. Myself and my wife are both regeristed Dems but the rest of a very large family are regeristed Reb. they are all voting for Obama. It was told to me this " Once in the voting booth no one can see how I voted"

    October 20, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  25. KP

    This is NOTHING more than a psychological ploy and SHAME ON YOU CNN, for being a part of it. How can a race be tightening when EVERYTHING and EVERYONE is moving in favor of Obama, republicans and independents included. Please do NOT go the way of FOX news and all the other biased media outlets out there that are playing on the minds of the waek and the uninformed. How can the polls be tightening when you CNN have not reported a SINGLE case of Obama's lead shrinking in any state or loss of any electoral votes. Please CNN stop the foolish ploy, I have too much respect for you!!!

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