June 6th, 2008
07:25 PM ET
14 years ago

CNN Poll: McCain and Obama locked in a dead heat


(Above: Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama talk backstage at AIPAC in Washington Wednesday. Photo credit: Callie Shell/Aurora for TIME)

The general election season opens with a neck-and-neck race between Barack Obama and John McCain, with more than one in five voters admitting that they might change their minds between now and November.

In the CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll conducted entirely after Obama became the presumptive Democratic nominee, he leads his Republican counterpart 49 to 46 percent among registered voters - a statistical tie, given the question’s 3 point margin of error.

The poll is the first conducted entirely after Obama became the presumptive Democratic nominee.

McCain and Obama aren’t alone: independent candidate Ralph Nader and Republican-turned-Libertarian Bob Barr are both vying with the two major-party candidates for independent voters.

But at this point, it looks unlikely either will play a spoiler role: the margin between Obama and McCain is virtually unchanged, with the Illinois senator leading 47 to 43 percent. Nader pulls in 6 percent, and Barr 2.

What would Hillary Clinton bring to a Democratic ticket? Answer: about three percentage points.

A hypothetical Obama/Clinton ticket would currently get 52 percent, compared to 46 percent for a hypothetical McCain/Romney ticket. And if she's not on the ticket? Sixty percent of her Democratic supporters would vote for Obama, 17 percent would vote for McCain, and 22 percent say they would stay at home in November and not vote for anyone.

“That's just one estimate of the ‘Clinton factor’ and it may not be an accurate predictor since it piles several hypotheticals on top of each other and asks people to guess their state of mind five months from now,” said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “Nonetheless, it does indicate that unmotivated Clinton supporters may be a bigger risk to Obama than defections from the Clinton camp to McCain.”

The results are based on interviews with 1,035 adult Americans, including 921 registered voters, conducted by telephone on June 4-5.

soundoff (204 Responses)
  1. Brian Knoxville, TN

    I have voted for Democratic candidates in every primary election, general election (including midterm elections), and recall election (I voted in CA against the 2003 recall of Gray Davis) since 1996, sometimes enthusiastically and other times not so much, and since 2004 I have donated money to candidates like Harold Ford, Jr. (at least $200) and Hillary Clinton (over $500) and even a little to the DNC.

    But I will never support or vote for Barack Obama for President of the United States.

    As if his weak performances in all the debates until the last few–revealing just how much he really did not know about the issues just 9 or even 6 short months ago–weren’t enough, when I learned about the way he eliminated other Democratic candidates from the ballot in 1996 when he first ran for state Senator, when I learned about the way in which he did only what was best for his own career for eight years as a state Senator by voting ‘present’ at least 130 times, when I learned that he joined a church twenty years ago to advance his political career (and then watched him renounce that same church recently to advance his political career… you just can’t make this stuff up), when I learned about his relationship to Rezko (and that he found time in the first year as a U. S. Senator to buy a nice house and a bit of extra land for himself from this convicted felon in an under-the-table deal, but that he could not find time in a year and a half to convene the subcommittee with jurisdiction over NATO and Afghanistan that he supposedly chairs even once), when I learned all that about him and more, I decided that I can never vote for such a person to be president of the United States. Even if he weren’t shallow and sleazy, he has no record of real accomplishments or service whatsoever, and he has weaseled his way off with the nomination that he does not deserve for an office that he is far from ready to hold with nothing but flowery rhetoric and empty slogans.

    And I say nothing about the horrible things that the party leaders and the media have done to Hillary, to our principles and to our system of government, which relies on good judgment, counting votes and fair reflection and on the reporting of information rather than spinning the truth because of a blatantly sexist bias.

    Goodbye, my party that has betrayed itself and us all.

    Witness the Rise of the McCain Democrats.

    June 6, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |

    go mccain!!

    June 6, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  3. Angus McDugan

    Obama woudl be running away with this race, but he thew his church in the trash out of weakness or fear. I am no McCain fan by far, but I would have respect for him If he would just stand up for something other than some obscure "change" ideal. It is like running on motherhood and apple pie. It sounds so wonderful, but Obama has bitten off a big bite of something that is very tough. How will he explain it 4 years from now when there has been no change of any substance?

    June 6, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  4. REAL American for Obama

    VERY interesting. So, McCain defections will probably NOT have the impact that some HRC supporters claim. How wonderful!! Some of us SMART people already knew that!!!! Duh!!!!!

    Go Obama!!!!!!!

    June 6, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  5. Karen in Fla

    Sad to say that since the DNC shoved their Candidate down our throats it would not be in the least bit surprising if they do the same to Obama regarding the VP slot. The interesting question is who they would try and force him to take... Given their shoddy treatment of Hillary.... ?

    Either way the DNC needs a wake up call. They are alienating a huge portion of their base with their heavy-handedness....

    June 6, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  6. rice, bryan

    for those who said you are going to vote for mcsame, limbaugh, and bush have you scared to death. and the sixty percent that would vote for obama, that is an estimated 10,800,000 more votes, good lick mcsame, limbaugh won't be able to save you in november.

    June 6, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  7. anon

    What part aren't you CNN people getting? – WE DO NOT WANT CLINTON ON THE TICKET!!!!!!!! JEEZ

    If I had any doubt it really is the Clinton News Network you would think she won the friggin' primary with all the ticker stories on her and this VP crap.

    June 6, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  8. Dusacre

    AAAH Grand Pa McSame! I really think that you are too old to drive. Now if you are too old to drive , then how can you really drive the whole country?

    June 6, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  9. bridgette

    All of these people that want McCain so badly have you all seen any new in the past week. Did you see how many lobbyist he has had too let go in the past two weeks. I mean why do you think this country is in such bad shape. All these Democrats who are switching parties it's okay. For every democrat he looses he picks up atleast 2 Republicans and 3 Independents. So you were with the loosing candidates in the primary and now you are switching too the loosing in the general election.


    June 6, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  10. Dennis

    I wonder how often we are going to hear the results of these polls and how factors such as potential VP candidates effect the vote between now and November.

    June 6, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  11. drf

    Obama – Clinton is political suicide. Get another GENUINE candidate and Obama will win by a landslide. We are sick of politicians that talk out of the side of their mouths or "down"... Go get 'em, Barack...

    June 6, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  12. Cynthia - Arkansas

    I think these polls in no way reflect what they will look like by the end of summer. People are eager for change in this country and when they only have these two candidates to compare, the choice will be clear. McSame offers nothing but the same old tired politics, while Obama offers hope for a better future. I believe hope will win out.

    June 6, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  13. Maria

    Your poll is wrong! Look at Rasmussen today's poll – Obama leads McCain by 9 points. Whe you put Clinton on the ticket – Obama loses from McCain by 4 points... !!!! That's the truth! Stop manipulating! Such ticket would be a disaster for democrats and it will NEVER HAPPEN, CNN. Barack is smarter than this.. and will not make McCain president by taking that thing HRC as VP!

    June 6, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  14. NickNas

    CNN You can run this Story EVERYDAY........oh wait YOU HAVE!!!!

    The race is 2 days old and you are shamelessly trying to fan the flames for your rateings. Most people I know have figured out your ways and for me at least you have become # 6 on my tabs to find information. CNN had been #1 for over a decade but these clumbsy tricks have cause me to lose trust in you. What happenned? New Management???

    June 6, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  15. Capt. Smash, Salt Lake City, Utah



    Bush invaded a country that has not only hurt or economy and our standing around the world it did not even have WMD’s. Go figure! Oil was 25.00 dollars a barrel pre-invasion today it is 139.00 a barrel. We had a budget surplus before Mr. Bush was sworn in and now we have a deficit. He has hurt this country in so many ways by not listening and by not thinking. He is a know it all and did not listen to the good judgment of staff he had around him. So why in the hell would history reward GWB, trust me he will go down as one of the worst presidents this country has ever had!

    One important thing about Senator Obama I have come to recognize during this long Campaign. He will listen to those around him, he takes his time before he makes critical decisions he thinks before he acts. Now do not get wrong he is far from perfect but when push comes to shove I will go with someone who thinks before he acts!

    Obama 08/12

    June 6, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  16. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Reid hit it on the nose when he said John McCain is "flawed" and his temperment is a problem. McCain was in Florida today talking about much needed to be done with the Everglades. As I recall the State of Arizona purchased land in the Everglades so the blame for the problems of the Everglades lies directly with Sen. McCain as he is the Senator from Arizona.

    June 6, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  17. mr new york

    obama will lay the smack down!

    June 6, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  18. Hoang, UC Berkeley

    Many Obama supporters have bashed Hillary's for deciding to stay home, write in Hillary's name on the ballots, or even vote for McCain. The thing is that you don't understand. This is a Presidential Election. You don't vote for a party; you vote for a president. It does not matter whether Obama is from the Democratic Party, nor does he have similar plans with Hillary. WHEN YOU VOTE FOR A PRESIDENT, YOU VOTE FOR THE PERSON YOU TRUST, YOU VOTE FOR THE PERSON YOU THINK THAT WILL DO THE BEST JOB, YOU VOTE FOR THE PERSON WHO CAN LEAD THE COUNTRY, AND FINALLY BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY YOU VOTE FOR THE PERSON WHO THINK FAST AND ACT FAST TO PROTECT YOU WHEN AN EMMERGENCY OCCURS. As a typical Hillary's supporter, I DON'T THINK AND DON'T BELIEVE THAT OBAMA IS THAT PERSON. I'm gonna write in Hillay anyway. I'M NOT VOTING FOR A PARTY; I'M VOTING FOR A PRESIDENT.

    June 6, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  19. king from toronto

    those who say they would not vote for obama,why do they feel the need to take up space in saying so.who cares?? for each vote he loses,he gains 4 or more.history will be made,"like it or not".

    June 6, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  20. Brian Knoxville, TN

    Have we really lived through eight years of Bush only to play roulette now with the presidency of the United States?

    How many times does the leadership of the Democratic Party have to do this to us before it learns? Other than JFK and WJC, what has this party really offered us in over half a century to ensure that they are looking out for our principles and our interests by nominating qualified candidates who win elections?

    Please help us. Disillusioned Democrat.

    June 6, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  21. HH

    You people that vote for McCain in anger should have to pay higher prices in gas and taxes, and have your kids sign up or yourself for the more wars he promises.

    No wonder why this country is turning into a third world one.

    June 6, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |

    For Brian Knoxville, TN and every other whining and crying Hillary Clinton supporter – and I didn't say all – just those constantly blabbering about voting for McCain. Do it already! We've heard enough for it to be glued to the top of every CNN ticker from now until November.

    Keep these things in mind –

    #1 For those of you fanatic rabid Clinton supports who vote against your own interest believing Hillary Clinton to run in 2012 – what do you think will happen with the Obama supporter?

    #2 For every one of you whining about voting for McCain, you are replaced with an independent or a Republican crossing over or both.

    June 6, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  23. CLYDE

    HEY CNN!! How many times a day are you goign to tell us this just to give McCain and the Frustrated Hillabots a place to Rant??

    OOPS Sorry I didn't mean to point out yet ANOTHER try by CNN to Boost the VP Job for Hill.

    June 6, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  24. Tam

    I so agree with Brian from TN, I will never vote for Obama, I might have considered Hill, but not him.

    June 6, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  25. Florida voters who didn't Vote

    wasn't that posted 2 days ago. give it rest. i sense Cnn is angry bcuz of Clintons Lost
    now it's do everything in our power to keep The Democrat divided! mm.....

    i'm so glad im no a puppet unlike some seems to be on here.

    June 6, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
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