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. Matt Texas

    Obama is the candidate for change; If he puts Clinton on his ticket it will work out perfectly because he will have the Clintons in his backpocket to deal with the old Washington establishment and get his changes through congress. It really is a perfect balance of newness/ change and experience/old Washington.

    June 6, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  2. Mike Birmingham, AL

    LMAO –

    Good riddance to the "McCain Democrats" – nobody's listening to you stamping your feet and posting the same posts on every topic in the Ticker anyway.

    Too bad we won't see you at the party in November!

    June 6, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  3. Kim

    I can not accept the validity of any poll that says half the voters in America will vote to stay in Iraq for one hundred years!

    June 6, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  4. sam

    i like how people use intellect and reason with their vote, and dont wave it around in a threatening manner, like hey im gonna do the stupid thing and vote like an idiot? Really, McCain? Have you been asleep for the last 8 years, or possibly hiding under a rock. If you dont think McCain will be a third Bush term, think again. And what possibly would any sane person want from the last eight years policy wise continued for the next 4 or 8 years? I cant think of one. All of the negatives of obama say nothing about his character and ability to be an effective president, one who can clean up the large mess were being left in. I was a hillary supporter from the get go, but not a bitter idiot who, just because she lost fairly, would now not support obama or democratic party. Look there were two candidates for the democratic ticket, only one could win, why is this such a shock to people. Remember this is for the big prize, the presidential election, get over the primary already. Lets just hope Obama does the right thing and chooses Hillary as his running mate. With that said it should give us one of the best administrations the country has seen, and change will be inevitable.

    June 6, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  5. and CNN predicted Obama would loose in primaries - Simply_Kris

    So much for these polls ! pathetic

    June 6, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  6. deeper than party loyalty

    When I cry at the treatment of a great woman... I will not be voting for those responsible.

    When my heart breaks at the hateful attacks and the unfairness and the disrespect that HRC was subjected to so many times.... I will not vote for those responsible.

    When I see how the ever more qualified, experienced woman was eliminated from the race to install what you all call a nobody who stole the show. Yes,,, he cheated and he was installed as the nominee without any merits of his own... I will not be voting for Obama.

    June 6, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  7. deeper than politics

    Truth before party.

    Integrity before unity.

    Fairness before we lose our democracy.

    June 6, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  8. Bob

    Nobody cares about politics. Long Live King Smithy The Obsolete!

    June 6, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  9. sally in cali


    New guy in tie with old guard. Old guard should be worried. McCain has had 3 months to build a lead.

    "Surrender in Iraq" what does that mean? Get real. We're not fighting a war to protect America. That war is about oil. We're getting out of another country's business to take care of this country's business. Our enemy is living in a cave in Afghanistan and sending out audio messages. Iraq is an oilman's war.

    June 6, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  10. deeper than RHETORIC

    I love my self respect more than I love Obama.

    I love truth and justice more than I love my party.

    When you chose to gleefully bash and trash, mock and jeer, ridicule and demean, denigrate and insult half of the party and their GREAT warrior advocate.... YOU LOST MY VOTE.

    June 6, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  11. Mike Birmingham, AL

    Has any one else noticed the three or four phrases that appear in every Hillary-supporter-voting-for-McCain post?

    It's just the same three or four people reposting the same thing under different names.

    June 6, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  12. Daniel

    CNN is misleading american people. Joh McCain is leading the polls. How can Barack be our President. He is a joke.

    June 6, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  13. Vote McCain

    Tom, Mr. Big, This is for you; VOTE McCAIN "08!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    He is the only answer to this country's issues right now. Hillary didn't make it. Do you honestly think obama can take this countyry in the direction it needs to go in? Sure, he wants to bring the troups home and end the war. That's great, lets end the war, bring the troups home. Now what? Do you think it's all over? NO! it's not, there still will be war however, the war will be on our turf here in the U.S. Maybe we should not have gone to war. But you know what? We did, so let's finish what we started and protect our people at home and the US soil. McCain is the only candidate we have who has the experience to take control of this situation. Obama will roll over and play dead, that's his answer.

    June 6, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  14. Mia

    I don't know why some insist on holding Obama accountable for every single person who claims to vouch for him. Do these people ever think that these are McCain supporters intentionally trying to sabotage the Democratic nomination? Ignore what Obama's supporters the doing, and listen to the man himself. If you truly think that Obama would condone the actions of some of these reporters, then you haven't been really listening to his message that closely. Only those with strong stomachs need board the Obama train.

    June 6, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  15. NO to HC VEEP

    NO to Hillary as VEEP. After the campaign the Clintons ran, Senator Obama has no reason to trust that she will follow his leadership. Further, they have vastly different ledership styles – she'd be bossy to staff – people would follow out of fear rather than agreement and loyalty. He inspires agreement and loyalty. Her daily presence would undermine that.

    June 6, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  16. your hate blew it

    Obama and his supporters have NO IDEA.

    This isn't about party or loyalty to a candidate.

    This is about HOW one candidate was treated by the loyal fanatic worshippers of the OTHER candidate.

    This is about the very values of change, unity, , communication, tolerance and respect for those different than yourselves.

    Those who talk that talk, FAILED to walk that walk.

    Now you can not strong-arm or guilt trip us into voting your way ANYway- just because we ONCE belonged to the same party.

    June 6, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  17. MD

    I am sick of polls. They mean very little, especially 5 months beofre the election.

    The candidates have barely started campaigning.

    Lately, two-thirds of CNN "news" is garbage. CNN needs new producers and reporters. The shows are predictible and boring.

    June 6, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  18. Tony, Powell, OH

    By the way, part of respecting one another is respecting each other's opinions, and NOT thinking (for example) that if someone doesn't support Obama, they MUST be a racist. That is pathetically naive thinking. How about you recognize that both candidates have their pros, and both have their cons? But go ahead, bluster, insult, scream, shout, etc....just recognize that the more you do that, the more you energize the other side to vote.

    I will tell you this, however...by far, Obama supporters have been by far the most arrogant, self-centered, pompous, simplistic and insulting supporters of any candidate this political season, and for NO reason. He ain't God, folks...or don't you get that? He's a guy. And believe it or not, you aren't good enough to run the country by yourselves.

    June 6, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  19. Ganesh

    Well if CNN did a better job of reporting on how McCain has changed his stances in the recent past like on wiretapping etc then maybe it won't be a dead heat. They spend soo much time reporting on a secret meeting between Obama and Clinton but no time on the policy position changes in the recent times by McCain.

    June 6, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  20. j

    I hope that the margin widens in Obama's favor, as people take stock of things and realize Obama is a far better choice than McCain.

    June 6, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  21. Reality Check richmond virginia

    America: Obama is not too inexperianced and McCain is not to old.

    Educate youself and vote on the issues.

    June 6, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  22. no hold over me

    Obama supporters have no claim to my vote.

    Waste your own as you see fit.

    Besides we were ONCE members of the same party... but no longer, thanks to your hate. So I owe the democrats nothing.

    June 6, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  23. FAKE Clinton Lovers

    Brian, Karen...etc

    "Operation Rush Limpblob" is over. There will be no fight in Denver and Barack will be the next president of the United States.


    June 6, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  24. Ganesh

    Also CNN keeps going back to Wright but how about the campaign staff of McCain and how it is full of lobbyists with evil connections...

    June 6, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  25. Q

    🙂 OBAMA/WEBB '08 🙂

    June 6, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
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