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. Ken

    That's because people are getting smarter and starting to really pay attemtion to Issues not fancy talk. The truth is McCain and Palin will win. Because American's really do pay attention in the end. No matter how the bias media trys to trick us.

    October 20, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  2. BeauMan

    I love reading comments from individuals who can't grasp basic economics...and liberals who aren't aware of facts. Why do you think corporations and businesses leave? Hint: over-taxation. Which party has shown time and time again increases in taxes? Hint: Democrats. Keep taxing the rich (by the way, who are responsible for about 75% of all tax revenue already in the U.S.) and the companies they run, and you will see a decrease in jobs. The Republican Party, including Bush, has constantly been the party in favor of tax-cuts, stimulus checks, and smaller government. It's obvious that a large portion of Obama backers must be in favor of more social welfare and entitlement programs. Keep it up, and the guys who normally "pick up the check" will no longer be there to pay for your bar tab!

    October 20, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  3. No to Fascism

    The division and lies from the McCain campaign have really "irritated" me. Or was it supposed to be aggravated, Palin?

    Please vote smart for the candidates offering real solutions to our issues: Obama/Biden '08

    October 20, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  4. Michael watching from Canada

    Why won't CNN allow my non-partisan comments to be allowed on their blog?

    So much for truth.

    America, please do not submit to the FEAR that McCain and the Republicans are trying to instill into the voters.

    look what fear did for America for voting for Bush.

    McCain is not interested in the issues important to America.

    McCain is more interested in winning at all costs.....

    no matter how much fear and diviseness McCain generates through lies, smears and outright mischaracterization of Obama.

    October 20, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  5. Independent

    As an independent let me just say after reading the posts here: Do Obama backers think they will sway the independents to vote for their candidate by insulting us? Calling us stupid and racists is not the best way to sway people to start thinking your way. I have to admit the vast majority of negative posts here on the Ticker by Obama backers does alot to turn me away from their candidate.

    October 20, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  6. dopier

    I'm not one to say that a news organization is trying to sway voters one way or the other. Fox News is the exception, of course. However I do believe CNN, among others, are trying to make the race closer than it is. Thanks to the internet, I will no longer have to rely on organizations such as CNN for news. I can't see how you have a person like John King reporting the news when all can see he does not seem able to conceal his bias even while reporting. I would say the same thing about Jack Cafferty if he was a news person. How can we trust someone to accurately report the news when they clearly show bias towards one party?

    October 20, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  7. voting FOR "my" best interest, not businesses

    dang.. i guess i am just locked out of the discussion today...

    dennis... look up the definition of facism, and see if you recognize what has happened over the last 8 years.

    October 20, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  8. AJ

    does anyone really think it will matter who wins? These guys are both such poor choices to lead our nation that I fear for our future.

    October 20, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  9. Bring on November 4th

    I don't care how close the race gets.

    There is no way I am voting Republican.

    Fix the mess VOTE DEM!!

    Virginia for Warner

    October 20, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  10. Hillary Democrat

    Of course Collin Powell would endorse Obama.. He's Black....Duh!!!! Blacks will vote for Obama. Just like I would vote for a hispanic if he were were running. But this hispanic will vote McCain in 2008 and Hillary in 2012. No Socialism, No Way, No How, NOBAMA!!!

    October 20, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  11. Clinton Democrat for Obama

    When you're receiving 51% of support (like Sen. Obama is), it doesn't matter how tight the poll is or how many undecideds are left..... even 50% of support is good enough

    October 20, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  12. Illinois Blue Dog

    To "Listen to Our Children"

    The overwhelming majority of younger voters are voting for Obama, not Sen. McCain. So yeah, listen to the children and vote Obama.

    October 20, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  13. HRM, FL

    Exactly why everyone must not sit at home on election day, it's critical for our future to vote.

    Obama Biden 08

    October 20, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  14. voting FOR "my" best interest, not businesses

    why am i blocked out, cnn?

    Dennis, look up facism... see if it does not resemble what has happend in our country the last 8 years

    October 20, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  15. Peter in MI

    Calling Obama a socialist is just another way for McCain/Palin to scare ignorant people who don't even know what it actually means but who have just been told that it's bad. Scaring people is the only tactic Republicans know, and they're pretty good at it, look at Bush and co. I just hope American people will learn from the last 8 years and won't ask for four more of the same.

    Obama will simply readjust the unfair tax policy established by Bush, i.e. lower taxes for low income families and decrease the huge unfair tax cuts that high income families receive thanks to Bush. Does that mean he is a scary socialist/communist? Maybe if you're blind, for everybody else it means fairness.

    Obama 08.

    October 20, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  16. SS

    If Obama's tax plan is a redistribution of wealth as Sarah Palin suggests – what does she characterize the windfall profit tas in Alaska as? Why is nobody questioning that? It was, I believe, touted in the VP debate and Joe Biden congratulated her on the same.

    Politics sigh – is just so frenzied and so in the moment....

    If I look at CNN's list of facts v/s claims, I wonder if listening to a debate to understand policies is a good idea. Perhaps we should look at a booklet instead or have 3rd parties describe the real policies and not have condidates characterize their own and eachother's. It is completely misleading.

    October 20, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  17. James Byrd

    Take a few moments and look at recent history. During the last 20 years, there's been 2 Republican presidents. Both happened to be named Bush and both screwed up the economy. Is it worth putting another Republican in the White House?

    October 20, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  18. Kim in AZ

    Sarah Palin calls Obama a socialist. Sarah Palin is a Fascist! Now she wants a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. I guess that way she'll be able to name two court cases – instead of just one. She demonizes anyone who disagrees with her – and that includes well over half of the population of this country she claims to love so much. Her only love is self love – she wants to run a country full of ingorant, hateful, Sarah Palin clones.

    October 20, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  19. Tray J

    I swear the media will do anything to make us all believe that this is still a race. CNN needs it to be close for rating!
    Well let me tell you this the fact that Obama is only up by 5 points in the polls shows you just how dumb the people of America continue to be. I just hope that this makes those that have a brain go to the polls and vote! Take a friend and then tell your friend to take a friend, then pray that we do the right thing for our Country.

    October 20, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  20. Vic

    If the race is tightening, it may be due to his endorsement by Colin Powell who was such a hawk for the Iraq war, just the opposite of what Obama said he himself was. Obama would be wise to quit surrounding himself with Washington retreads if he truly wants CHANGE there.

    October 20, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  21. FreeNLovIt

    Obama's plans are the Clinton plans. If under the 90's we were under a socialist plan and we all have jobs. Hey, that's not so bad.

    I rather be under a socialist Clinton plan than a Bush'O'Greed plan, which McCain endorses (big breaks for underserved)

    October 20, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  22. RH

    I expect John McCain will win this election.

    I just can't see America doing the right thing.

    October 20, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  23. Robin in SC

    The Powell endorsement should give Obama an upward tick in the polls...those independents still not convinced and the republicans who are dissatisfied with their party, McCain, and Palin. Without a major gaffe by one of the candidates, the margin should be closing a little at this point in the race, as undecideds decide. But I believe Obama will win by a bigger margin than the polls reflect primarily because of the young vote.

    October 20, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  24. bob in L.A.

    The press keeps the country fired up about the candidates causing us to take sides. This will make for close elections from now on.
    24 hour news cycles are changing the political landscape and with it the polls every day.
    What this poll also shows is fewer undecided voters- a swing towards McCain in this weeks numbers.

    October 20, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  25. crystal mitchell

    These polls are fake this is why Obama, doesn't put much stock into them. Who are they polling, I have never recieved one call form any polling. Also with as much trouble that this country is in how can anyone in their right mind vote for McCain after choosing Sarah Palin as his VP, this was McCain putting himself first and country last. This is how the republicans have been operating for the last 8 years and look at the mess that we are in??????? People wake up, we can not allow this to happen. McCain is wrong for this time. We need someone that will transcend across all party lines. McCain can just keep his own party line. Vote Obama/Biden , Nov. 4, 08

    October 20, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
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