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. BJ

    The comment of Barack Obama to "Joe the plumber's" question about spreading the wealth more than likely reveals more about his policies, and people now know what he means about 95% of the population getting tax breaks. They're beginning to understand that 40% of those 95% DON'T even pay taxes to begin with, and under Obama's plan these same people will get money back from the other 10% that have to pay higher taxes under Obama!

    And while McCain is Republican, they now believe that he has not always voted along party lines.

    SO the final question will be... would you rather have someone you know, OR someone who promises you change that may not be as good as his rhetoric?

    October 20, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  2. TexicoFromMexico

    Its about state polls...not national.

    October 20, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  3. Viet Vet

    Let's see- -Colin Powell endorses Obama, Palin blows on SNL, McCain mostly stumbles along in the debate and polls narrow- -Trying to boost ratings CNN?

    October 20, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  4. STR

    There is nothing inherently wrong with socialism, but every economist can tell you that there is no such thing as a “free lunch”. Promoting a “good for everyone” agenda comes at the expense of individual enterprise (and vice versa). Let every American decide for him/her self what the equation should be. Above all, let us be respectful of each other. Our agendas may differ, but I believe our intentions are good.

    October 20, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  5. voting FOR "my" best interest, not businesses

    i still see a landslide coming.
    i will NOT vote against my best interests.. and i will not allow racism, fear, loathing, and all of the worst parts of humanity to make this decision for me.


    October 20, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  6. ChristineCT

    I'm sorry, but I have a hard time believing that Underdog and Miss Polly Purebred are tightening the gap. Perhaps it's not the polls we should question, but the types of polls. Where/who/when counts when polling. Knowing the population sampling of the statistics represented in the poll is significant, also. In additon, CNN, what is the margin of error in these polls?
    I'm no statistician, but I know enough that these things a relative. It's like :4 out of 5 dentists recommend this toothpaste."
    We want FACTS, not PREDICTIONS

    October 20, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  7. irishspacemonk

    No, the truth is McCain isn't like Bush at all. He's even worse. Don't be fooled. John McCain is erratic, delusional, and should be taken away because of his pick of Sarah Palin as his back up plan.

    October 20, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  8. patti

    Obama supporters need to check out all these people he has in his past, Rev. Wright, Flager, Resko, Farakann, Acorn and may more. This should scare the crap out of people to have him for Top Man on the ticket.

    October 20, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  9. Obama YES we can

    CNN why ask us to ADD a COMMENT if you are not going to let it be reviewed????????????????

    We Obama supporters (unpaid) NEED to counter these LIES by the PAID BLOGGER of the Republican camp!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 20, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  10. Z

    CNN polls...if the left leaning polls on this site indicate a 5 point lead, it's probably closer than that (maybe 2 or 3). Obamas entire campaign is comprised of two things: 1) Convincing everyone that McCain is Bush (it's evident that's working on the liberal sheep in these postings) and 2) Slander slander slander. That's all he's got & as the race tightens it's apparently not enough. The only reasons that people seem to be voting for obama is either skin color or blinding hatred for the GOP....most people voting for him can't give 1 good reason why.

    October 20, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  11. Andrew

    If socialism means a tax break for everyone earning less than $200,000 a year, and a movement toward national health insurance, and the end of unconstitutional extensions of presidential power, and an agreement to exit Iraq and settle things in Afghanistan, and to work with our allies instead of against them, and to respect the planet - then I'm all for it!

    October 20, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  12. Texas for Obama

    Three points here:

    51 percent means Barack would win no matter what kind of support John McCain gets.

    Who cares about the popular vote? If Barack wins the electoral vote, that's all that really matters.

    The tightening is due to Republicans coming home to McCain at a rate over 90 percent. This was expected. Barack knows that Independents hold the key to this election and his startegy is geared toward winning them down the stretch.

    October 20, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  13. TC

    Yeah right, no way. Try again, how many people are counted in these polls and Where?

    October 20, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  14. martha

    I just can't belive people prediceting Obama/Biden will lose.Who is got 100 thousand people out when he campagin not Mccain.

    October 20, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  15. voting FOR "my" best interest, not businesses

    DENNIS it is not a crime to be successful.... i wonder, do you think you know more economically then Warren Buffet?

    October 20, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  16. Sam Benegal

    This is the primary reason, Obama-Biden supporters need to think they are down 10% in polls.

    There supporters must not be Over confident; because on Nov. 4th they do not want to slap their forehead as the numbers will be coming in. There are still 16 days to go; anything can happen during these days... They need to work even harder, their supporters need to go and vote now in the states that allows early voting.....

    October 20, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  17. WhippingStick

    TAINOPOWER- you clearly believe all the dung your desparate politicians have been shoveling you. if you make under $250,000 (which i am guessing you do as indicated by your malleable mind) then your taxes will not increase. and by the way, obama is a christian in case you care.

    October 20, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  18. BKoi

    These polls are designed to keep up the "Drama" of the election! It keeps the Pundits talking , people watching T.V., and the cash flowing ! With one hundred and fifty thousand people showing up at Obama rallies, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see who is winning this election. Lies , desperation , smears, versus Senator OBAMA GO OBAMA !!!!!!

    October 20, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  19. Chris in Knoxville

    The media wants to keep pushing the story that this election will be close because of ratings. They did the same thing with the Democrat Primary. 538 has been right all this time, and they currently have Obama's chance of winning at 93%. Unless Obama truly gets Swift Boated I believe this is over (as long as everyone votes). At least this is not as bad as the Drudge Report.

    October 20, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  20. Maryann

    I find it hard to believe that the gap is that close. Here in Florida everyone I speak to says that they are voting for Obama. All we need to worry about here in this state is if our vote will count due to all the mishaps in the past! Colin Powell's endorsement of Obama is huge. Americans need to wake up and think for themselves and the right choice is clear. Obama and Biden will help all of us, not just the elite few.

    Obama/biden 08

    October 20, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  21. Commonwealth of Virginia

    I find it disturbing that the GOP is trying to surpress voters. They can talk about ACORN and "voter registration fraud" all day. But I don't know why they aren't being investigated for trying to stop people who have been foreclosed on from voting. That's serious. Voter registration fraud is not voter fraud. Two different things people.


    October 20, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  22. king

    it's over for mccain.obama has over 50%,so even if mccain gets all undecided,he still loses.an he's not gonna get all the undecided

    October 20, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  23. Tired of the Nonsense

    Noone in their right mind wants to endorse anyone who refers to hmself as the "de-regulator" and openly admitted that he voted with Bush 90 PERCENT OF THE TIME – "more than anyone else in the Repub party."

    The only reason why this election – quite frankly, is closet racism...everyone as to stop basing their choices on color and put what's best for this country first – and that's not John McCain.


    October 20, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  24. Nita in Virginia

    you are so right lamar, this race is bringing to the surface what divides this country and no matter who wins, half the country will be bitter about the choice. the problem is deeper than what most are willing to admit, but all you can do is pray.

    Obama/Biden 08

    October 20, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  25. porkborg

    CNN's poll of polls is too slow to update. This campaign changes very fast. Watch Gallup's daily tracking to look for trends. Gallup may not have the most accurate model, but at least you can see the trends happen more quickly. From that, we see there was a three-day slump, from which Obama bounced back as of yesterday (up 10% points again).

    October 20, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
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