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. Nia

    No Hillary Clinton...The GOP will pounce on all the Clinton negatives and time spent campaigning to get into the White house will be spent on PR cleanup for the Clintons...Obama proves he is strong by himself he just needs a perfect compliment, who will fall in line with what he wants to do not a night mare co presidency of entitlment

    June 6, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  2. Dennis

    I support Senator Obama, so take what I have to say with that in mind. I have a suggestion for Senator Clinton supporters that don't want to vote for Senator Obama (for whatever your reason–and I won't belittle any of them, even if I disagree with them).

    I understand a lot of you are contemplating voting for Senator McCain. If he truly is your candidate of choice, then more power to you. But, have you considered voting for someone not from the Democrat or Republican party?

    I don't know what your view on Ralph Nader is, but wouldn't he be more in line with Clinton's policies? Wouldn't that be a better alternative than McCain? I'm not voting for him, like I said, I'm voting for Senator Obama, but I'm puzzled by going to the extreme when a more similar candidate is on the ballot.

    June 6, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  3. Independent for Obama


    Awesome. We all have the right to choose for whom we vote. But could all of you people saying that because HRC didn't win you are voting McCain try to keep your comments to a minimum?

    Seriously, it is your choice, but there is a reason we all make it silently in a voting booth.

    June 6, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  4. FIRED UP!!!!!!!!!!

    Not for long............


    June 6, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  5. rose, texas

    write in hillary, r vote mccain......08

    June 6, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  6. Duop Chak

    The so called "dead heat" between the two candidates, Sens. McCain and Obama will soon change courses–based on the situations our country is now experiencing.

    June 6, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  7. Frank Jones

    Can we get a poll to see how many people are tired of polls? You would get an emphatic yes from me!!! You would get an emphatic yes from my wife. You would get two more emphatic yeps from my voting age son and daughter.

    June 6, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  8. Sarah L., Fayetteville, AR

    Clinton supporters are understandably disappointed, but it's time to get it together. McCain's policies are nearly the polar opposite of Clintons, so to say you'll support McCain over Obama, who shares 95% of Clinton's positions, is ridiculous.

    June 6, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  9. Linda31

    Ask the question in a month. It hasn't even been a week.

    June 6, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  10. NoMcSame

    Not for long. Obama is just warming up. He is about to leave that OLD Man War Monger in the dust.

    June 6, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  11. Ratgurl

    Oooh! Ooooh! ASK ME!!!!!

    June 6, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  12. carmen

    Give Obama some time. He still had Hillary on his back.

    June 6, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  13. Mike Jones

    Brian Knoxville, TN– enough with the essays. We know, you will not vote for Obama. Sooooooo.....who cares. You are a republican posing as a democrat. You would never vote democrat anyway. The change train is coming. Its nothing you and the repubs can do about it but wait for the axe to fall on 11/4/08. This independent is happy to see it coming.

    June 6, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  14. Mr. BIG

    Brian Knoxville, TN –

    You are what you are....ahahahah...I can see...get mad inthe middle of no where.....

    June 6, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  15. Nash

    I am not bitter that Obama won Dem. nomination but I am truly bitter the way Hillary was treated by her colleagues in Senate and DNC leadership. I could never imagine Democrats could treat Hillary this way because they did not like Bill Clinton.

    I am amazed that the way the media treated her in the primary. Why is that? Is that because she is a female? I hope not.

    I lost my respect for democrats and I do not think it will be reversible.

    I truly wish Hillary Clinton does not get in the ticket with Obama. Because I really want to see how popular this by product of corrupt Chicago politician is in general election.

    June 6, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  16. ?????

    The Obama people think that you can just coerce people into voting their way.

    One's vote is too sacred. You won't indimidate me into voting for Obama.

    June 6, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  17. Uncle Sam

    Clinton supporters = McCain Democrats = President McCain

    June 6, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  18. E. Avellaneda

    It would be silly for Obama to even ask Ms. Clinton to be his running mate. Every sign points to Clinton not being a team player. I think she and Bill will make Obama look like a fool in every turn.

    June 6, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  19. Stephina

    The choice is so simple:

    Obama = Anti-American & Pro-Socialism.
    McCain = Pro-American & Pro-Capitalism.

    McCain in 2008.

    June 6, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  20. kevin

    8 years as a state senator ehhhhh.......
    good job brian from knoxville
    keep bringing it strong

    June 6, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  21. tim g

    guys this brian Knoxville, TN dude

    Is a paid mccain blog supporter. Judy check out other messages n see the same thing copied n paste. His tryna divide us democrats. Don't buy it. Besides if u not gonna vote god obama let's b real u werent gonna vote 4 him neways. Losers. I have a living God that knows Obama is gonna win n also b a good president.

    Obama 08

    June 6, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  22. Sharon R.

    I really don't believe this poll. Do they ever callpeople who only have cell phones or just land lines? They way this economy is with people losing their jobs and the highprice of gas and food. I can't belive people would vote for John McCain unless they have alot of money to spare for 4 more years of the Bush policies.

    I pray that these people use sound judgement in the general election and not ignorance.

    June 6, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  23. 35 Southbound

    Go for it McCain Democrats, serioulsy just do and shut up! Your smear and threats have been heard, shut up! We get it, shut up!

    For all other democrats, those that care about themselves, their neighbors, their sons and daughters, unite behind Obama! See the issues for what they are and vote Change!

    Dems Unite!!!

    June 6, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  24. Neal

    Thanks for your insightful comment, Brian from Knoxville.

    June 6, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  25. Dusacre

    Brian Knoxville, TN ,

    We will just do fine without you. You are always welcome to join the famil,. Obama will be our next president. Those who are with us are more than those who are against us. McCain is too old, too Bush-like. After seven year the rupublicans have made the country worse.
    A war tha McCain want to "win" in 100 years. Bush took us in war to Iraq for oil, now oil will be $150 before Busk leaves office.

    I can go on and on. After all that, how can people want another Bush in the Whitehouse?

    June 6, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
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