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. Chi4Obama

    Once again, your "Polls" continue to amaze me.

    Keep in mind, that there are over 300 million Americans in this country. And your poll only reflects the opinions of 1,000 people via a phone interview 5 months before the actual election. Give me a break.

    Can you say sampling error? Why don't I just take small sample of folks in my church. I bet they would vote overwhelmingly for Obama.

    Next article please.

    June 6, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  2. Karen in Fla

    I just read a comment on another story (whose comments are closed) about what a wonderful job Obama has done in his career and how he did not vote for the war.

    GUESS WHAT. He has ducked out or neglected to vote his conscience SOOOO many times – see Project Vote Smart – votesmart.org – and check out his voting record (or lack thereof) for yourself. He wasn't even a Senator when we went to WAR!!! He can talk all he wants about being against the war, but since then he has not bothered to vote on most of the war funding bills which you would think, if he was so against it, he would at least make sure he was there to register his position. But he has not practiced what he preaches and he should be called on it.

    Just one of the many things that will start coming to light more and more....

    June 6, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  3. Still for Hill

    Those Obama people who say, "I voted for HIM- not her!"

    Well 18 million voted for HER- not him.

    And you will not force your boy down our throats.

    As you say, the more YOU push, the less likely we are to vote your way, EVEN if we initially planned to.

    June 6, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  4. Stacy Clarks

    Brian, stop being so melo-dramatic!!!


    Obama played FAIR and by the RULES that everyone agreed to INCLUDING CLINTON!!! and he won JUST AS MANY VOTERS AS CLINTON!!!! He won fairly!!

    so to say you were "betrayed" by this party is so childish, and so this "i-did-not-get-my-way-so-im-going-to-throw-a-hissy-fit" thing you are doing is NOT setting a good example for you, or our children.



    June 6, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  5. @Michelle from Colorado

    You must be one bitter person to criticize someones command over "English", that take the message. You wont support Obama – fine !! Dont impose your lack of straight thinking and proper judgment on others.You have every right to share your thoughts with anyone you like, but remember so does everyone else.
    Don't think just cos you wear yellow shades, the whole world is yellow.Have you heard about "thinking outside the box" – you need to take lessons on that.For your age, i expect a bit more common sense and wisdom.
    Its because of selfish people like you that the world is the way it is !
    Shame on you.<>

    June 6, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  6. John

    I hope everyone read the New York times article about how black American men received the vote before before black or white women. For many of us this is the history that propels us to vote for McCain. McCain acknowledges that both men and women serve in Iraq war (Barack repeatedly said men with Katie Couric); referred to the Democratic Party as HIS party(with Katie Couric); and refers to women as "sweetie". However, I would like for McCain and Hillary supporters to boycott this blog. The comments about Hillary and McCain are not worthy of response.

    June 6, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  7. ms.sims

    Wow...Brian I don't even know where to start with you
    1. Since you think McCain is so squeaky clean just simply Google him and that argument will be disspelled
    2. He didn't eliminate anyone off the ballot they eliminated themselves by not following voting rules and there was actually someone else but he lost in the primaries and took his name off leaving Obama the only name on there
    3. He found the church after working in some of the toughest neighborhoods and realized the hope it brought to those in dispair and it changed his life as well
    4. Rezko was convicted...not Obama as a matter of fact his name was hardly mentioned throughout the trial and he hasn't been charged with anything...u can Google Clinton vs. Paul since you like that type of news
    5. Check the voting record for many others in Congress who voted present various times and oh yes your dears McCain and Clinton are included in that group
    6. Im tired of people like you acting like McCain and Clinton are tantamount to Mother Theresa they both have numerous shady dealing and people in their pasts.
    7. And if she was the more qualified one she would be the nominee the media doesn't go out and place votes...PEOPLE DO

    June 6, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  8. Chi4Obama

    It doesn't matter what these polls say now.

    Obama could put Rev. Wright on his ticket as VP, and McCain would still be toast in November.

    June 6, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  9. Nancy

    Obama stands to lose 7.2 million votes from Democrats alone according to your poll, not to mention the independent supporters of Hillary who probably run several miilions more. It's a lot more of a loss than Gore experienced from Nader in 2000, and we all know where that went.

    Is anyone telling him this? I would think he's want to resolve his VP question by asking Hillary sooner rather than risk bleeding away all these voters.

    June 6, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  10. NoMcSame

    To, Brian in Knoxville,TN
    Your anger should be aimed right yourselves for not putting your money where your mouth is. The DNC does not have the money to fight the GOP for her and you all did not step up to the plate to help her out. Hillary is BROKE. All that you did was go to the DNC meeting and make a bunch of noise but what she really needed was your money and most of you held on to it. Obama was the only one in the DNC with enough money to fight the good fight against McSame and the GOP. So get over it and send Obama some money to help get out people out of that hell hole called Iraq.
    McSame as Bush does not have a chance.

    June 6, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  11. Mike, Port St Lucie

    Obama has tried to paint himself as a new politician. How it is important to shed the ways of the past. How can he spin picking Billary for VP? Isn't that the politics of the past? JFK didn't like Lyndon Johnson and Johnson had no love for JFK when they ran and took office in 1960. But the dislike between the Obama camp and the Clinton camp goes beyond that. Dems have to remember that Bill Clinton will be part of the equation. The last minute pardons will come up, and so much more. Too much baggage added on to a campaign that will have way too much baggage as it is.

    June 6, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  12. John Mccain

    Go Obama!!!! Obama 08!!!!

    June 6, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  13. I am McCaaaaain and I approve this message !

    "Only a fool or a fraud talks tough or romantically about war.{but i love war}
    When I was five years old, my father left for war.{i li(o)ve war}
    My grandfather came home from war and died the next day.{i lovvvvvvvvv war}
    I was shot down over Vietnam and spent five years as a POW. Some of the friends I served with never came home.{again i'm in love with war}
    I hate war.{but you know am lying}
    And I know how terrible its costs are.(more lies – you know i am good at this)

    I'm running(i can hardly walk) for President to keep the country I love safe.

    I'm John McShame/McSame/McBush and I have no shame and I approve this message."

    June 6, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  14. Kim, PA

    obama/clinton.... or i'll take my pretty white female vote and write her in!

    June 6, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  15. Bill

    Stop, stop, stop, please! talking about Hillary and let's concentrate on Obama so he can get the job done that we all want him to put in place and get running.

    Stop the Hillary/Bill madness! It is nothing but that. Pure madness!

    Support for Obama, Obama, and Obama!

    June 6, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  16. RJ, CA

    But then consider this:

    Washington Post 6/6:

    Clinton's voters see more of themselves in McCain than they do in Obama.

    • Over the past three months, Washington Post-ABC News polls showed an average of 25% of those backing Clinton in the primaries "defecting" to McCain in a hypothetical match-up with Obama.
    • A new poll from the Pew Research Center conducted just before the final Democratic primaries put the number at 28%.
    • In another survey, the percentage of Clinton supporters holding a positive view of Obama continues to slide: only 45% view Obama favorably, down from 58% in December, before the voting started.

    And finally . . .

    - 26% of Democrats crossed party lines to vote for Reagan in 1980.

    Go, McCain - the only genuinely "vetted" candidate now left!

    June 6, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  17. SHE LOST

    Brain go sit down somewhere and keep your neg's to your self your where never going to vote for obama your excuse is just as good as any excuse. so you and all your freinds really need to sit and shut your poies holes. and if your already have your candidate why even bother to post stupid comments I can't call you a sore loser because you never had the intentions of voting for this man anyway

    June 6, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  18. McCain for President

    An early poll that probably doesn't mean much. During the next five months, I think we'll see candidate Obama really has no grasp of the issues. McCain may not be as oratorical or as pretty as Obama, but at the end of the day I believe it's McCain's election to lose.

    June 6, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  19. Mar


    June 6, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  20. Jan

    What would Hillary bring to the TICKET? how about 18 million votes. Plus years of experience Face it together they will be unstoppable but separate it will be a toss up and we NEED to win . People you might not like it but IT IS WHAT IT IS, SUPPORT THIS AND LETS GET IT ON.

    June 6, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  21. Chi4Obama

    Note to DNC,
    "Brian Knoxville, TN" has just abandoned the Democratic Party, because you all treated Hillary "so badly" during our primary.

    June 6, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  22. jerry

    CNN I would like to ask you and I don't care wether this gets posted or not...

    Earlyer today you ran with "Majority of democrats would like Hillary as VP"

    I don't get how you could say that when for the last week these blogs have said the opposite. Hillary would be better suited for a cabinet position where she could leave if she wanted, Barack could ask her to leave if it wasn't working. If not what would happen with these to strong people with differences with the whole world watching...

    ps Do you think that Bill wants to disclose all of his dealings since he left office? No

    June 6, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  23. Neal

    The next thing to happen will be the 3rd party pop up.

    June 6, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  24. Nate Hussein

    Obama / Sebelius '08 !

    June 6, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  25. mobile251ala

    brain you are really a republician at heart. Gas hit $139 a barrell today. That same party you are going to took us in war with lies and on top of that we know they lied and we did nothing. How high has your food bill went up and insurance and the death toll in this war. And do you even no that the judges mcsame will opponent will not give the women a right to choice wake up.

    June 6, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
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