October 20th, 2008
01:05 PM ET
5 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. Larry, Hazleton, Pa

    We only need to view Mr McCain's judgement in the context of who he picked to be number 2 – this should tell us all that this man cannot make a sound decision that is not based upon hype and politics – to even consider that Palin is qualified defies logic. Palin could not even go thru any reasonable type of interview without making a fool out of herself. The other thing that really concerns me is her close ties to the Alaska Independence Party – this is by all that I can find is a real nut case group that her husband was an active member of and she used to help her get elected to office in Alaska – Do not take my word for this – look it up and read all about and then make your informed decision. If you can listen to what General Powell had to say on Meet The Press this past Sunday – He made the points for us all to understand. John McCain and Sarah Palin are not ready to be trusted with the future of this country. Vote Obamo – Biden on Nov 4. Thanks

    October 20, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  2. james

    Now he`s no longer a Republican, he`s a " maverick" ? I think he`s more of a "desperate' politician trying desperately to become Pres. at all cost. --He`ll be whatever he thinks it`ll take to be elected. Bless his heart, he`s still fighting the Vietnam War. If being a POW qualifies someone being a "hero" and President then I missed my calling.

    October 20, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  3. Candy West Virginia

    Google john mccain and PNAC.

    October 20, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  4. Scott L

    EXTEND_THE_BUSH_TAX_CUTS.

    OBAMA AND PELOSI ON VIDEO SAYING THEY WILL LET THEM EXPIRE JAN 1, 2011.

    EDUCATE YOURSELVES ON WHAT THE BUSH CUTS REALLY ARE.

    WHEN YOU AUTOMATICALLY LOSE 10-20% OF YOUR PAY AND EARNINGS ON DIVIDENDS, CAPITAL GAINS and INHERITANCES ON JAN 1, 2011, DO NOT COME CRYING TO SCOTT L. WHY YOU WOULD VOTE FOR OBAMA IS BEYOND MY COMPREHENSION.

    October 20, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  5. Johnson in AZ

    It will continue to get tighter as election day comes. BO promises everything to everyone and people will educate themselves a bit more as the day they have to make a choice draws near. McCain will finally have a centralized and consistent theme from now until election day and he will drive home BO's socialist views and far left ideology. Look for a very tight race come election day.

    October 20, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  6. Troy Nolan

    CNN is consistently wrong on polling and has been consistently Pro-McCain for all of its broadcasts. On election nights CNN is always the last to forecast a winner in states that other networks have already called. CNN is not reliable especially with Wolf Blitzer and the other extremists on CNN.

    October 20, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  7. Bruce

    Republican Party protects the RICH

    October 20, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  8. Proud to be American

    McCain = Bush 3rd term no matter how his camp try to spin it. The bottom line is he voted with Bush 90% of the time (my count 95%) and his policies are still in support of the wealthy and that is not me... I represent the 95% of Americans that Obama will help.... All in all.... I am still putting my Country first by voting for the following:

    ************************* OBAMA AND BIDEN 2008! ************************

    We are going all the way baby!

    October 20, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  9. FELICIA

    NO MC CAIN..... WE NEED THE VOTES FOR OBAMA!!!! VOTE FOR A CHANGE PPL. -–MC CAIN IS ANOTHER BUSH !!!!!! WE DON'T NEED THAT. OUR ECONOMY WILL GO THE DRAIN IF MC CAIN IS IN OFFICE.... DON'T WE WANT TO BETTER OUR SELVES.... VOTE FOR
    OOOOOOO-–BBBBBB--AAAAAA---MMMMMMM--AAAAAAA!!!!
    OBAMA

    October 20, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  10. Geoff

    The whole "spread the wealth" comment is just like the rest of the quotes republicans take out of context. What do you think Social Security does? What do you think Medicare, and Welfare do? Where do you think your unemployment checks come from? Roads? Cops? Teachers? And yes.... MILITARY.

    All of these things are supported by dare i say it, taxes. Obama's tax plan is to readjust the tax scheme to give breaks to those who don't have enough to pay, and charge more to those who do. I gaurantee 99% of you on this column will not be paying more taxes. And I for one, think paying taxes to a country who I support is patriotic. Otherwise you're just being hypocritical. This race will tighten as McPalin throw everything at Obama, but he will pull it out if cooler heads, and thoughtful people can prevail.

    Obama 08

    October 20, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  11. Ultraconservative

    Yes, races usually do tighten up towards the end. That's when people look at all the promises made, and start to see the contradictions. Also, we may not be real happy with the present state of the country, but will an unknown man with a radically liberal background really give us the right kind of changes?

    October 20, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  12. Jerry Atrick

    It has now come down to what many people are concerened about: Issues are not of much relevance. Wink, wink!

    October 20, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  13. Still for Hill, but voting McCain

    How can this be? I voted early for Obama 26 times. Thanks ACORN!

    October 20, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  14. Christine

    It's not just McCain convincing people that he is not like Bush. Mr. Republican-Independent Lou Dobbs is doing a great job for CNN of bashing Obama on a daily basis. His journalistic license should be revoked. He is the antithesis of "The Most Trusted Name In News".

    October 20, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  15. CTSadler

    It's time for Obama / Biden to hit on the Sarah Paln issue; you know the incompetency, the crazy church, the ethics, etc.

    October 20, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  16. JIM HAWK

    GOOD GRIEF CHARLIE BROWN....POLLS ,POLLS AND MORE POLLS. WHO DO YOU BELIEVE ?

    October 20, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  17. ohio

    doesnt matter mccain will not win because this man is too old and angry hi is not in shape to take on the challenges were facing we need Obama to take on this challenges his in shape and his young to drive the weels of our country to success. Obama 08!!!

    October 20, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  18. Bruce

    CEOs get FAT checks and the Repubs want to CUT THEIR TAXES

    October 20, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  19. rachel

    I don't believe Americans are dumb enough to elect a man who voted with Bush 90% of the time. How stupid do you have to be to vote for that. We are in a mess right now. Surely Americans are smarter than this.

    October 20, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  20. KKK vs. socialist

    if "socialism" means

    UNIVERSAL PUBLIC HEALTHCARE
    UNIVERSAL PUBLIC EDUCATION
    UNIVERSAL RIGHT TO WORK AND FAIR WAGE

    WHY NOT?

    October 20, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  21. Team America

    The weak liberals in this room are getting weak...trying to tie McCain to Bush just because they're in the same party. Very weak argument. All you have to do is look at the experience factor. McCain is more experienced to be POTUS on Day 1, no one can argue that. And do people in this country really want a tax and spend President and Congress?? Who will stop them from raising your taxes for the next 4-8 yrs?? McCain is the clear choice based on experience.

    October 20, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  22. Mark

    I love how when I make a non negative comment (unlike every comment you guys post), it never gets posted.

    October 20, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  23. David

    It's not a surprise that the race now in the home stretch is tightening up. The last few elections been close.

    Only if you want a hot headed erratic who could get us into WWIII should you vote for McCain. And Colin Powell's very reasonable endorsement of Obama is well worth pondering.

    October 20, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  24. Desmond Sequeira

    Of course, he has to try to create the impression that he is not Bush/better than Bush, whose policies he has embraced 90% of the
    time.To tell what kind of a president he will be, just look at the kind of campaign he is running: Look where all his votes has got us economically; All his "experience" has brought no wisdom, only angry hostility on the foreign relations front (more of the SAME); his campaign is reeking with nastiness, bitterness, mean-spiritedness (never mind the "My friends "part); lacking substance , he has resorted to one gimic/smear after the other (F A I L I N; Poor Joe the Plumber; Ayers; Acorn; lying robocalls; clinging to a POW and "long line of McCains" status etc). Is this the kind of individual the USA wants as a president, with its economy and respect already down the toilet, Joe?
    On the other hand, just look at the OBAMA's campaign.
    No Brainer!

    October 20, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  25. Brandon from Ohio

    So many statements in this thread so far that I agree with and would like to add on to - someone said "Palin doesn't have the knowledge to be President" - I'd say she doesn't have the COMPETENCY to be President. Someone else said they're not willing to take a 10% chance on McLiar because he votes 90% w/ Bush. How about not taking any chance on him at all. :) It's just not worth the risk.

    Can you all imagine what it'd be like during a potential nuclear crisis within the next 4-8 years (which is likely) knowing Daily Scandal Palin and mister "Bomb bomb bomb Iran" have their fingers hovering over a red button? Reality check.

    October 20, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
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