It's time for the voters to weigh in. (Getty Images)
(CNN) - John McCain has made little headway in closing the gap with Barack Obama in the national polls, a new CNN average of several recent surveys shows.
With only hours remaining until most voters head to the polls, the Illinois senator holds a 7 point lead over McCain, 51-44 percent, in the latest CNN poll of polls. That gap that has been remarkably steady since the beginning of October. (In the last 30 days, Obama's largest lead in the CNN poll of polls has been 9 points; the lowest has been is 6.)
Election Center: Check out the poll of poll trends
But McCain can take comfort in (and Democrats can still worry over) the fact Al Gore faced a similar 7-point gap in polls taken immediately before the 2000 presidential election. The former vice president ultimately won the popular vote, though he narrowly lost the Electoral College to President Bush.
The most recent CNN poll of polls consists of 10 recent national surveys: CNN/ORC (October 30-November 1), Pew (October 29-November 1), CBS (October 31-November 2), Fox/Opinion Dynamics (November 1-2), NBC/Wall Street Journal (November 1-2), ABC/Washington Post (October 29-November 1), Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby (October 31-November 2), Gallup (October 31-November 2), Diageo/Hotline (October 31-November 2), and IBD/TIPP (October 29-November 1).
The poll of polls does not have a sampling error.
(CNN) - After weeks of requests, the McCain-Palin campaign released a letter late Monday night from Sarah Palin's doctor pronouncing the Republican vice presidential nominee in "excellent health" with "no known health problems."
Dr. Cathy Baldwin-Johnson, who had been Palin's physician at the Mat-Su Regional Medical Center since 1997, also said the Alaska governor had had a 1992 biopsy for a breast lesion that was found to be benign. She said Palin was on no routine prescription medications, with no known drug allergies, but that no screening tests for heart disease had been performed because those tests were not routine for “young healthy women with no risk factors.”
"Governor Palin is in excellent health and has no known health problems that would interfere with her ability to carry out the duties and obligation of Vice President of the United States of America," said Baldwin-Johnson in the November 3 letter.
Two weeks ago, Palin’s campaign said a summary of the governor’s medical history would be made public before Election Day, though they gave no precise timeframe for the release.
John McCain, Barack Obama and Joseph Biden have all provided details about their medical history.
Watch Cindy McCain on Larry King Live.
(CNN) – Cindy McCain came to the defense of Gov. Sarah Palin Monday, telling CNN’s Larry King the media has unfairly criticized the Republican vice presidential nominee when it comes to her qualifications and her wardrobe.
"She's been an inspiration to women all over the world and absolutely I think she was treated very poorly in the press," Mrs. McCain said in an interview that aired on Larry King Live.
Mrs. McCain also disputed political observers who have said Palin has hurt the Republican ticket more than she has helped.
Watch: Cindy McCain defends Palin
"I have heard those – the quote ‘pundits’ that have said that. Those clearly are the pundits that perhaps are not on our side," McCain said. "Besides the crowds she gets, the inspiration, the – just her ability to get her message out, get our message out, she is a truly remarkable woman and I am just so glad that I know her."
But a new CNN/Opinion Research corporation survey released Sunday appears to suggest the opposite: 57 percent of likely voters questioned said Palin does not have the personal qualities a president should have. That's up 8 points since September.
When it comes to the now famous $150,000 wardrobe tab picked up by the Republican Party, Mrs. McCain said she thought it was a “very silly thing to be upset about,”with all that is facing the country right now.
(CNN) - In the waning hours of the presidential race, the toughest shot against Barack Obama may not have come from the Republican ticket, but from country music star Hank Williams, Jr.
The country-rocker, a campaign trail fixture who has penned a special song for the GOP ticket called "McCain-Palin Tradition," suggested Monday Obama doesn't like the national anthem.
“You know, I’m usually at Monday Night Football tonight, but Colorado, this is a lot more important tonight. Join me now in our national — you know, that song that, uh, Mr. Obama’s not real crazy about, we’re singing it right now," he said before performing his version of the song.
Williams, Jr., aka Bocephus, also performed "McCain-Palin Tradition," which includes a line that suggests Obama has "terrorist friends."
After playing both songs, Palin thanked Williams, Jr. for his help on the campaign trail, and did not acknowledge the national anthem remark.
The comments appear to reference a long-debunked e-mail rumor that Barack Obama refuses to put his hand on his heart when the national anthem is played. That e-mail stems from a 2007 photograph showing the Illinois senator with his hands by his side during a performance of the song.
The e-mail also stated Obama said the national anthem is a "war-like message" and should be swapped for a tune like "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing."
Obama, in fact, has never said those things.
(CNN) – On the eve of Election Day, amid overwhelming public interest in the presidential race, some voters are being confronted with a sea of election-related misinformation.
Sheila Robinson, a resident of Dayton, Ohio, tells CNN that she received a robo call at her home Monday. The call informed her that Republicans would be voting on November 4 in this year’s general election, and Democrats would be voting on November 5.
That information is incorrect. The Ohio Secretary of State’s Web site is clear: Everyone in Ohio votes Tuesday, November 4.
Laura Jordan of the Montgomery County, Ohio Board of Elections, says she has not received reports of any calls like the one Robinson received. But Jordan also tells CNN that she has received reports of misleading automated calls giving voters incorrect information about the location of their polling places. Voters who call the county board reporting these types of calls are told the correct location for their polling place, according to Jordan.
If you live in Ohio, click here for voter information from the Ohio Secretary of State’s Web site.
CNN will be tracking voter problems through Election Day. If you have a problem or see a problem, call the CNN Voter Hotline at 877-462-6608. See what issues are a concern in each state by clicking on the interactive Hotline map at cnn.com/hotline.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (CNN) – Alaska's Personnel Board concluded Monday that Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin did not violate ethics law by trying to get her ex-brother-in-law fired from the state police, contradicting an earlier investigation's findings.
"There is no probable cause to believe that the governor, or any other state official, violated the Alaska Executive Ethics Act in connection with these matters," Timothy Petumenos, the Anchorage lawyer hired to conduct the probe, wrote in his final report.
The announcement comes a day before Palin and Republican presidential nominee John McCain face voters in Tuesday's presidential election. Allegations that she fired Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan because he refused to sack her ex-brother-in-law from the state police force have dogged her since before she became McCain's running mate in August.
An earlier probe launched by the state Legislature concluded that Palin unlawfully abused her power by trying to get her sister's ex-husband fired from the state police force. That inquiry concluded that her firing of Monegan stemmed in part from his refusal to get rid of her former relative, but was within her authority as governor.
(Updated 8 p.m. ET)
(CNN) - The first wave of election returns won't flow in until 7 p.m. ET Tuesday night, but the results in one precinct will be known much sooner.
Dixville Notch, an isolated village located in New Hampshire's northeast corner, will begin voting at the stroke of 12 a.m. Tuesday, and the ballots won't take long to tally: Dixville Notch only has about 20 registered voters.
The town, home to around 75 residents, has opened its polls shortly after midnight each election day since 1960, drawing national media attention for being the first place in the country to make its presidential preferences known - although since 1996, another small New Hampshire town, Hart's Location,reinstated its practice from the 1940s and also opens its polls at midnight.
But the result in Dixville Notch is hardly a reliable bellwether for the eventual winner of the White House or even the result statewide. Though New Hampshire is a perennial swing state, Dixville Notch consistently leans Republican - the last Democrat it picked was Hubert Humphrey over Richard Nixon in 1968.
President Bush also won the town in a landslide in the last two elections: He captured 73 percent of the vote in 2004 (19 residents picked Bush while six preferred Sen. John Kerry), and secured 80 percent of the vote in 2000 (21 votes for Bush, 5 votes for Al Gore.)
But the result could be close this year given Democrats now outnumber Republicans there. According to Donna Kaye Erwin, the supervisor of the voter checklist, Dixville Notch has five registered Democrats, four Republicans, and 11 undeclared voters.
The result could also be a nail biter given the town picked both John McCain and Barack Obama for the New Hampshire Democratic and Republican primaries last January. McCain ultimately won the state of New Hampshire, while Hillary Clinton upset Obama there.
(CNN) – Sometimes what seems like a political “dirty trick” is just a simple mistake.
The Virginia State of Board Elections issued a “Rumor Buster” press release Monday in response to reports of misleading robo-calls from multiple locations across the state.
But it turns out that the misinformation was just an accident caused by a computer glitch. “The technology, God bless technology, was incorrectly giving people their polling precincts,” Jean Cunningham, chair of the Virginia State Board of Elections, told CNN Monday. “Highly sophisticated software that went amok.”
Cunningham also told CNN that, in addition to the “Rumor Buster,” corrective phone calls were being made to everyone who received one of the incorrect automated calls.
If you live in Virginia, click here to search for your polling place on the state board’s Web site.
A cake awaiting weary reporters and staff at Joe Biden's Zanesville, Ohio rally, his second of four on Monday.(CNN/Alexander Marquardt)
(CNN) – In the final hours before Election Day, callers to CNN’s Voter Hotline are reporting misinformation that is circulating in some of the battleground states, including some that were intended as jokes.
David Ashley, of Florida, called to report hearing incorrect information broadcast Monday morning on local radio in the Ocala/Gainesville area. After a call into WSKY’s morning show about many Florida residents complaining of not being able to vote early due to long lines, a host on the station’s morning show said “that [Florida Gov.] Charlie Crist had decided because of the voter polling crowds to open the polls on Wednesday for Obama supporters to vote,” Ashley said in his hotline call.
When CNN contacted Ashley, she said that the morning hosts on WSKY often use sarcasm during their program. But, Ashley was concerned that the statement sounded factual, and that less informed listeners might not have realized the statement was incorrect about the date for Election Day.
In response to CNN’s inquiry about Ashley’s call, WSKY allowed CNN to listen to a recording of Monday morning’s broadcast. While the host did state that Florida Gov. Charlie Crist had decided to open polls on Wednesday, November 5 to accommodate supporters of Sen. Barack Obama, subsequent remarks by the two hosts make it clear that the statement was intended as a joke. WSKY would not comment any further.
Tuesday, November 4, is the date for voting in this year’s general election, according to information available from the Florida Division of Elections.
If you live in Florida, click here to go to the Web site for the Florida Division of Elections.