October 22nd, 2008
04:00 PM ET
2 years ago

McCain playing defense in states Pres. Bush won

A new poll suggests John McCain is on defense in states Pres. Bush won.
A new poll suggests John McCain is on defense in states Pres. Bush won.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – New polls suggest that John McCain is on defense in four of five states that President Bush won in the last election.

CNN/Time Magazine/Opinion Research Corp. surveys released Wednesday afternoon indicate that Barack Obama has a small advantage in Ohio, Nevada, North Carolina and a large lead in Virginia, with John McCain ahead in West Virginia.

Electoral Map Calculator: You Call The Race

Democrats last carried North Carolina in a presidential election in 1976, but the poll suggests that Obama, D-Illinois, has a 4-point margin - 51-47 percent - over McCain among likely voters. That is with within the poll's sampling error, but it is an increase over our last survey in North Carolina two weeks ago, when Obama was tied at 49 percent with McCain, R-Arizona. Fifteen electoral votes are at stake in North Carolina.

"The North Carolina poll exhibits the same gender gap and generation gap that national polls typically show," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said. "McCain has a slight edge among men and voters over 50 years old; Obama has a slightly bigger margin among women and younger voters."

You have to go back to 1964 to find the last time Democrats won Virginia in a presidential contest. But the poll indicates that Obama continues to hold a comfortable lead over McCain in Virginia, 54-44 percent. Obama held a similar 10-point advantage over McCain in our poll from last week.

"Obama's lead in Northern Virginia is growing," Holland noted. "He now beats McCain 2-1 in the Washington suburbs." Virginia has 13 electoral votes.

It all came down to Ohio four years ago, with the state putting Bush over the top in clinching his re-election. And our new poll suggests that it could again all come down to Ohio and its 20 electoral votes. Fifty percent of likely voters in Ohio questioned in the poll back Obama for president, and 46 percent support McCain. Obama's lead is within the poll's sampling error.

Suburban voters could again be crucial to determining the outcome in Ohio.

"The suburban vote in Ohio is split right down the middle, 48 percent to 48 percent," Holland said. "That's a familiar pattern for anyone who follows Ohio politics. Four years ago, the suburbs in the Buckeye State went for George W. Bush 51 percent to 49 percent."

Nevada voted for Bush in the past two elections, but the survey suggests Obama retains a small advantage in the state, 51-46 percent. The lead is also within the poll's sampling error.

Bush carried West Virginia by 13 points in 2004 but the poll indicates McCain has a smaller 9-point lead over Obama, 53 percent to 44 percent.

There's an interesting trend in these five new polls.

"In every one of these states the decline in the Republican vote is larger than the gain the Democratic vote," said CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider. "One reason is there may still be uncertainty among voters about Obama, but there's no uncertainty about the loss of confidence in the Republicans.

"The two states where we see the biggest shift in the Democrats' favor are Virginia and North Carolina, which have the largest populations of African-American voters. Democrats have made a gain of 9 points in Virginia and 7 points in North Carolina from the results of the 2004 presidential election," Schneider added.

With these new polls factored in, the CNN Electoral College Map estimates that if the election were held today, Obama would win states with 277 electoral votes, with McCain taking states with 174 electoral votes. States with 87 electoral votes are still up for grabs. Two-hundred and seventy electoral votes are needed to win the White House.

State surveys, campaign advertising buys, candidate visits, and voting trends are all taken into account in calculating the CNN Electoral College map.

Likely voters questioned in the polls were also asked about whether they would support either of the three major third-party candidates, Independent Ralph Nader, Libertarian candidate Bob Barr, and Green Party candidate Cynthia McKinney. But none of the three registered more than 3 percent of the vote in any of the five states surveyed.

The CNN/Time Magazine/Opinion Research Corp. polls were conducted Sunday through Tuesday, with 700 likely voters in Nevada, 644 likely voters in North Carolina, 737 likely voters in Ohio, 647 likely voters in Virginia, and 674 likely voters in West Virginia questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points in Nevada and Ohio and plus or minus 4 percentage points in North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.


Filed under: John McCain • President Bush
soundoff (118 Responses)
  1. The Voice

    Ohio wont' be the clincher this time around. Obama wins Virginia or Colorado and the race is over.

    Can't rely on Ohio this time around, they voted for Bush twice cant count on them or Florida. The people are not smart enough there yet.

    Colorado & Virginia for Dems!!!!

    October 22, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  2. Sam

    Mccain and Bush look like brothers.

    October 22, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  3. George

    I'm sure Mr. Obama has ACORN to thank for that.

    CNN and others OVERPOLL democrats and overly estimate new voters, plus with the new FEDERAL INVESTIGATIONS on new voter registrations...

    Mr. Obama is going to be suprisingly shocked when he loses the election.

    Of course, I'm wondering which one of his surrogate will cry "racism" first.

    Then again, it's DEMOCRAT MURTHA who is calling people from Pennsylvania "Rednecks" and "Racist"

    What a joke.

    Senator McCain IS TRUSTED MORE BY MY FAMILY

    McCain/Palin 2008 !!!

    October 22, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  4. Sudsie Q

    Obama is in for the smackdown of the century! Let's abolish the Democrat Party! Let's send them home so they feel what it's like to live under the woes wrought by the Democrat controlled Congress! What is the Democrat controlled Congress approval ratings again? And some idiots want these schmucks in power?

    October 22, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  5. Corey

    Come down to Ohio? If Obama wins VA/NC, VA/CO, Ohio is inconsequential. I'd posit that if VA goes blue on election night, you can turn off the TV.

    October 22, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  6. Tired of W, OH

    Debby, don't you mean that it's not over until all the votes are suppressed? That's what McCain is counting on. He has no chance of winning a fair contest. Cheating is his only option now. Good thing that the dems are very aware of this tactic from 2000 & 2004.

    October 22, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  7. A Senior Southern Lady - NC

    John McCain is a good man, even if he did select the incompetent Sarah Palin as his running mate. The problem for McCain is this is simply not his time nor the Republican party's time. After eight years of George Bush and all the intense and complicated problems his administration has brought to our country, the American people are looking for change and they have found it in a highly educated, very intelligent, well-spoken and forward-looking Barack Obama who the counry sees as the future of America. McCain should have won the presidency in 2000 and not Bush. That would have been his time and I absolutely believe, had McCain won in 2000, this country would not be in the sad state that it is in today. McCain has served his country with honor – he should be proud.

    October 22, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  8. The Bruce

    I imagine there's a good chance that, the popular vote in most states will be tight (like in the previous two elections.

    The difference this time is that Obama will win these traditionally red states and due to the electoral system, create the illusion of a landslide victory. This will help his propaganda machine greatly...

    October 22, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  9. Oakbrook, IL

    Whatever McCain!

    October 22, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  10. bob in L.A.

    Stop with all the polls. There is only one that matter and that wil be the most acurate and the final say.
    November 4th- not here soon enough!

    October 22, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  11. Obama/Biden

    And that's how we like it! The states that gave Bush the honor to serve our country will not make the same mistake twice. "Fool me once shame on me, fool me twice shame on you". That is exactly what the people of the swing states that voted for Bush the last election will say to the Mccain/Palin ticket. Mccain may not be president bush but his policies are the same. We cannot only change the face of a president, we must change the policies.

    October 22, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  12. President Barack Obama

    Vote For Change in 08. DONT FALL FOR THE OKEY DOKE AGAIN....
    Tooooo Much at stake this time..... If you have kids, neices & nephews vote for their future......Vote for Barack Obama!!!!

    Obama/Biden 08!!!

    October 22, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  13. ednadavid

    This is what Senator Obama means when he talks about – One People and One Nation – These United States of America!!!

    October 22, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  14. Dawn

    John McCain please close your campaign offices in Pennsylvania and take them to one of your seven houses. Or better yet quit why you are behind and please take your AIP supporter drop her off in Alaska and really retire at seventy-two it can be done these days and have Bush 41 and 43 over to one of your houses, but forgetting to tell them where!

    Yes We Can 08/12

    Obama/Biden you betcha!

    October 22, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  15. Robert in raleigh

    I want my president to be smarter than me and neither john or sarah are....

    October 22, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  16. The Bruce

    I imagine there's a good chance that the popular vote in most states will be tight (like in the previous two elections).

    The difference this time is that Obama will win these traditionally red states and due to the electoral system, create the illusion of a landslide victory. This will help his propaganda machine greatly…

    October 22, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  17. Marge

    GEE and Biden can't spell and obama doesn't know how to vote in the senate...gee seems like McCain is the only knowledgeable one around.

    October 22, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  18. Ted

    If John McCain is so low in your skewed liberal polling results, can you explain why John McCain is kicking Obama's butt by a mile in AOL's straw poll of well of 100,000 voters as opposed to your measly 697 people? The elitist liberal media is absolutely salivating at the thought that they may have had something to do with trying to propagandize this entire election. I am one member of the silent majority that knoews this will be a VERY close election. Obama may win (God help us all) but it will be much closer than the liberal 'pundits' wish.

    October 22, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  19. John

    I am watching the election on all major US TV stations, and as a UK citizen I am amazed and dumbfounded at the very low level of intelligence of your average American and I include the McCain Palin ticket.

    Obama said it first, do Republicans and their supporters take pride in their inane stupidity, from what I see and hear he was spot on the Button yes you do.

    Good grief ! Bush was intellectually challenged and these two prize specimens McCain and Palin are even lower down the pecking order of intellect.

    What an indictment of the Republican party, these are supposed to be the best they have to offer.

    God Help the USA

    October 22, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  20. Vegas Barbie for Obama

    Because he's LOSING...Going, going, GONE in T minus 13 days! Can't come soon enough for me!
    OBAMA/BIDEN '08 & '12 YES WE CAN!!

    October 22, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  21. francheska ;-)

    In the words of George Bush himself on the reason why McCain is fighting for states he (President Bush) won in 2004:

    "There's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again."

    LOL!! ;-)

    Obama/Biden 08

    October 22, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  22. Larry

    It's all about the Electorial map folks. If the undecided's have a say they would have to vote for Obama. At this point of the McCain campaign it would be hard to believe anyone with a brain would pick this ill informed, out of touch,hate machine, that has made history of the worst run campaign ever.McCain has completly lost independants with his "Fool Americans Express Tour" and then there is Palin.

    October 22, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  23. Peter (CA)

    Good to see! Nice to see that voters are seeing how the Republican policies are killing them economcially.
    I hope these leads can stay up. It's still going to be a long 13 days.

    October 22, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  24. Independent in AZ

    Please let November 4th come quickly! I have had it with the McCain/Palin campaign- the dirty lies, the smears, the pics I keep seeing of them! He is a creepy, petulant old man and he's not even wanted in AZ anymore!!

    October 22, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  25. al in memphis

    That's it– the poll of poll will be our next Secretary of State.

    October 22, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
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