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)

    your right and most of us independents in Texas voting OBAMA

    October 20, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  2. JD, St. Louis, MO

    Hilarious that we still continue to hear the "Palin is qualified to be President" remarks. Palin isn't running for President! And oh, by the way, she is more qualified than Obama! I've asked over and over, with no intelligent response – what experience does Obama have that has prepared him for the Oval Office? He's never run a thing in his life.

    October 20, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  3. wakeupamerica

    This is exactly why Obama said we should not become complacent. It totally amazes me that people can't see through the McCain/Palin ticket which is another 4 years of Bush. Do they want to see a President Palin if something were to happen to McCain>

    Obama/Biden '08

    October 20, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  4. flavoter

    My concern is I hear the McCain camp using this socialism rhetoric. We've tried allowing this republican lead administration time to do the right thing. They've enjoyed there tax breaks at tax payer expense. Yet job creation decreased, business expansions turned into business closings, a small few live like kings. Sen. McCain is one of these fat cats he can never understand my pain.

    The rich are using the same old game they keep there money and get ours to. And these people who are worried about spreading the wealth if they look at there situation and a few friends they will learn that the wealth was already redistributed to the top group of non-tax payers... Open your eyes please.

    October 20, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  5. Larry

    Senator Obama should be ahead by double digits but he's not because of stupidity and prejudice. If a person understands the issues, it is a no brainer to vote for Obama. For instance, increasing taxes on the wealthy so that they pay their fair share will shore up the American economy, our dollar will be worth more and even the wealthy will benefit from a stronger dollar. If a person believes the lies and hate being spread by Sarah Palin, that person is either an idiot or is prejudiced.

    October 20, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |

    List for obama's Acorn of people that is illegal to register to vote during any election

    1-dead people(zombies)
    2-illegal alien (yes little green people to)
    3-criminals ( person w/a criminal record)
    4-fictional characters (mama joe or papa joe)
    5-cartoon characters (mickey mouse , scooby doo)
    6- super heroes (superman , spider man , iron man)
    7- new people ( babies , children , not of age to vote)
    8-crazy people ( a person w/ mental problems)(liberals)
    9- and many other reasons

    personal comment: if McCain losses this election is because obamas fraud machine Acorn and obama presidency will be a fraud .and wont be legitimate.

    October 20, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  7. thanks, but no thanks


    what happened 4 years ago, selectively running negative adds on one campaign and on one candidate made a lot of people decide for the current president. And we all know how that worked out. Please, when are news media are going to make a big deal about Palin's husband seccesionist ties and the Sara Palin's adress to the party. When are you going to be asking the tough questions? Every news outlett is drilling the Ayers connection even when it is not one, Acorn, yet noone ask the potential vice president candidate about two years ago affair. Let me explain what might happened. She might take the freedoms away from us, but journalists are not immune to it. Talking about free press. What a crock of sh......

    October 20, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  8. NorthEastIndependant

    Obama is not good for America.







    October 20, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  9. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    To fix any economic problem you must know numbers and I agree with McCain when he said "if we talk about economics we are going to lose". However, that kind of answer is not what one would expect for someone who wants to be a leader of this country when we are facing an economic crisis. If McCain doesn't recognize a president can't "cherry pick" what he will or will not address then he doesn't understand as president you are not allowed that luxury. John McCain is not qualified to lead this country forward and if Americans want to see a real mess in the White House we're looking at him, John McCain.

    October 20, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  10. MurphyMorseJohnson

    On Fox's Chris Wallace interview of McCain, McCain acknowledged he voted for the biggest bail in American History due to emergent need–a fundamental tenet of socialism.

    October 20, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  11. Jim Richmond

    Obama=Russia. This is worse than McCain=Bush.

    October 20, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  12. Dawn

    Remember it is not over until the fat lady sings. I do not know if my state is allowing early voting, but hopefully we could. I have faith in my decision, but the RNC is acusing the DNC on voting fraud, but I heard on the TV about the RNC doing the same thing, please. Do what I had done get your application at the Postal Office or when you go to the DMV. This is where you are really safe.
    Before you vote, think...
    McCain and Palin are playing dirty politics, inducing fear into the crowds, now it is Socialist...Remember book banning is Socialistic.
    Vote not with fear but with commonsense...


    October 20, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  13. How Dare You, I'm a Girl

    And just what would those policies be ???

    John McCain hasn't said ... has he?/

    Why are we willing to give him the benefit of the doubt?

    October 20, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  14. Scott

    I am still not sure why everyone is behind Obama with the economy...unless people believe spending and higher taxes are the answer. I am glad to see that McCain is being able to distance himself from Bush. Now if we could see some accountability out of some of the current democratic leaders...Bush is not the only one responsible party for the mess that we are in. No democrat or Obama supporter seems to want to have any exposure on this, but just look at the facts...i.e. Barney Franks!!! If we could shed some equal light on Bush and some of these others then we would be getting some where!

    October 20, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  15. KAREN -.Bring on the Elections- It's time for a change

    Yes the race will tighten but Obama will be ahead. We as American citizens must stand up for what we believe in and fight for equality for all Americans, not just the priviledge. Woman who work just as hard as men, must get equal pay. Gay people should have rights as well. Sarah Palin said this morning if was up to her, there should be a Federal Law to ban gay marriages. Who am I to tell another person, who they should be with or fall in love with? tell a woman what she should do with her own body? To elect McCain / Palin would be a travesty and the United States would lose even more respect across the world.

    Obama/Biden '08

    October 20, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  16. jimmy

    Secretary of State Henry Kissinger endorsed John Mccain .
    Secreatary of State James Baker also endorsed John Mccain.
    Secreatary of State Colin Powell served under Repbulican Presidents
    Ronald Reagan , George H W.Bush , George W. Bush .
    Now Powell endorses Barack Obama ?
    Is it because George Bush ignored him in favor of Donald Rumsfeld
    the former Secretary of Defense who is responsible for the protracted
    Iraq war and who went against the advice of the best Generals and Colin Powell who questioned Rumsfelds judgement on the adequacy of the armed forces for the invasion of Iraq.. Colin Powell was sidelined in favor of Rumsfeld the armchair General who never served a day in the armed Forces of our Country. IT is no wonder then that Colin Powell has switched parties and backs Obama.
    Rumsfeld more than Bush has cost our country the biggest and most expensive blunders of the Iraq WAR

    October 20, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  17. Michelle, PA

    The country is too divided along cultural, economic, religious and educational lines for this race to be decided either way by double digits. There are two clear visions out there of what America stands for, what her priorities should be and where she should be heading, and unfortunately a lack of anything resembling civil discourse between the two sides.

    McCain and Co.'s exploitation and encouragement of the nation's divisions is appalling, but will help pull this race closer. I doubt it will be enough to win, but ony time will tell. This is, after all, the nation that elected Dubya – twice. Anything is possible.

    October 20, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  18. george

    I would like to ask why only part of Senator Obama comments was reported regarding (Joe the whatever plummer)? you only pick up the last sentence of the conversation. Is that really fair to Senator Obama?

    October 20, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  19. ANGIE

    Dont listen to the polls the Important thing is not polls BUT VOTE MAKE SURE ON NOV 4 YOU VOTE!

    October 20, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  20. irony

    so mccain has falsely distanced himself from bush. watch youtube videos of mcsame stating in his own words that he embraces bush and he votes for bush's policies 90% of the time. Don't the republicans understand that it was they who gave us eight years of bush? go ahead fall for it again and see what that gets you.

    October 20, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  21. Eric

    Thing is, McCain only distanced himself from Bush on some specific policies (global warming, torture, iimigration before his flip-flop). His economics are exactly the same and that's what created the mess in the first place. Even during the last debate, McCain could not come up with one tiny example of a difference with Bush on the economy. Obama has to push this message non stop.

    For me, it is quite incredible that once again, the top 5% rich will be able to pull the rug under hard-working americans only by scaring them with terms like socialist. Wake up people, you are getting screwed again.

    October 20, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  22. Independent for McCain

    McCain is not President George Bush, that was a powerful message in the 3rd debate by McCain to the voters in America. He definitely not President Bush to me. He worked across party lines. Even brother and sister don't think alike not to mentioned twins! Just because he is a Republican does mean he will follows Bush's policy, he is very independent from Bush, wake up voters! We don't want America under control from one party, with no check and balance with uncontrollable spending and taxes. and also leaning to the left.

    October 20, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  23. CitizenAJ

    For all those people who like to make comments that Senator Obama is the most left Senator in the Senate, Palin is the MOST RIGHT VP ever! So I guess they cancel each other out. 51% to 46% leaves 3% undecided. If that holds true, and Senator McCain wins all the undecideds, then Senator Obama could win by 2% points.

    One thing to consider America, if all other things are equal, the tie break is their choice of VP. Who is ready and qualified to be the President in the event, God forbid, something happens to the top of ticket? If you can admit the truth, then you know the answer is Biden not Palin. With that said, the ticket that is better for America and does put "country first", not just a slogan, is Obama/Biden. I hope that helps you, especially those of you who like to toss around patriotism like a knife. Show your patriotism and vote in the BEST interest of the country.

    October 20, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  24. North Carolina

    The polls have to be close, otherwise the repugs can't steal another election.

    October 20, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  25. Rick S

    how is it tightening you know what a 5 pt lead means- lanslide electoral the +3 is within moe

    October 20, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
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