July 31st, 2008
11:21 AM ET
14 years ago

McCain narrows Obama's lead in key states

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/31/art.mccainstate.gi.jpg caption="McCain has narrowed Obama's lead in three key states."]

(CNN) - Barack Obama and John McCain are statistically tied in Florida and Ohio while Obama holds a clear advantage in Pennsylvania, new Quinnipiac polls out of those crucial battleground states Thursday show.

But in what could be a warning sign for Obama as voters begin to turn their attention to the general election race, Obama's lead appears to have dwindled, or barely remained steady, in all three states, even as the Democratic presidential candidate has enjoyed a wave of intense media coverage surrounding his trip abroad.

CNN Election Center: View the latest state polls

In Florida, Obama now holds a statistically insignificant 2-point lead over McCain, 46-44 percent. In a similar poll taken one month ago, Obama held a wider, and statistically significant, 47-43 percent advantage over the Arizona senator there. The difference appears to be a shift among independent voters, who now support McCain in Florida by a 5-point margin. In the June poll, Obama held the advantage among the same group of voters by a 10-percent advantage.

CNN's Electoral Map: Check out the lay of the land

In Ohio, the battleground state where a weak economy should give Democrats an advantage, Obama is ahead by a 2-point margin, 46-44 percent. That lead, also statistically insignificant, is down from the 6-point advantage the Illinois senator held there one month ago.

Obama's lead has also narrowed in Pennsylvania, though he still enjoys a clear edge there. Obama now leads McCain by a 7-point advantage, 49-42 percent, down from the 11 point advantage he had in June.

The poll was conducted from July 23-29, in the midst of Obama's trip abroad, and carries a margin of error of just under 3 points in each state.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Florida • John McCain • Ohio • Pennsylvania • Popular Posts
soundoff (202 Responses)
  1. A Nightingale Sings in Berkley Square

    Things will change after the conventions and the first debate. McBush will look like a doddering old man. I predict that during the first debate, McBush will answer at least one question with "Whatever happened to Matlock?"

    July 31, 2008 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  2. Substance not Rhetoric

    Regardless of what you say about negative attack ads, THEY WORK. Too many voters believe what comes across the media without doing any fact checking. Obama is fighting an uphill battle trying to change a nation that would rather stay in the same rut it is in that admit something is wrong. Too many times we have voted for idiots just because they say they are like us but then exploit us. Now there is a good candidate who is different but he is intelligent and has actually worked with the disadvantage and been among poverty. However this country is not going to vote for him because his is liked overseas by our enemies and allies and seems too confident because he looks presidential.

    Nevermind the fact the majority of his foreign policy position stated at the beginning of his race is now the direction the nation is headed. Nevermind the fact he has voted for almost every bill that would increase our troop benefits. Nevermind the fact he said the way to lower gas prices is the decrease america demand that why he did not want a gas tax holiday and now gas prices our down .50. We are going to elect a war hero who has admitted he doesn't know anything about the economy who funds war but has either opposed or not even shown for votes that increase troop benefits.

    July 31, 2008 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  3. Al, Lawrence KS

    Obama is leading in FL, and OH...both states that Kerry lost. But he's only leading by a little, so Obama is doing badly. That's really raising the bar for Obama, don't ya think? Here is the point...if Obama wins either of these states, he's the next President...and he is leading in both. That should be the headline.

    July 31, 2008 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  4. joke

    Your polling the wrong people! what a joke the media is, slanted and bias. Lets make it a close race! we need news.

    More and more folks are listening less and less to the media these days, and rightfully so.

    Start hitting Mr. Mcmakeitup flip flopper hard and show the public you can be balanced and unbiased. Restore faith in the people!

    July 31, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  5. Mac

    Great news. Go Johnny Go!

    July 31, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  6. Andy

    Thank God. Dukakis led Bush by 17 pts. at this time in 1988, and we know what happened in that race. I wouldn't get too wrapped up in the polls right now.

    July 31, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  7. Phil Newton Murphy, Oregon

    Wow. Maybe those McCain Bimbo ads are really working.


    July 31, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  8. Joe the Troll

    Every week you report that the polls have a warning sign for each candidate. Do you even bother re-writing the articles anymore? YAWN.

    July 31, 2008 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  9. check and checkmate

    I think that mainstream voters are seeing a moderate Repug. Pres. and a strong Demo Congress is the correct prescription considering the candidates and the times check and checkmate works everytime

    July 31, 2008 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  10. NPA

    This means McCain's relentless and unprovoked attacks on Obama are energizing McCain's xenophobic republican base. So McCain should keep doing what he is doing. What is sad is that Obama's camp has a clear opportunity to make this election a referendum on Bush/McCain, but Obama's surrogates are not as tenacious and as aggressive as McCain's surrogates. Obama is really the only one fighting for Obama. McCain's entire camp is fighting for McCain. Obama should find himself some surrogates with the same debate skills and aggressiveness as McCain's surrogates. Else we may watch McCain win this thing.

    July 31, 2008 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  11. Northwest Washington

    These polls are rediculous. If you make the polls look close, you keep the viewership up thus making more money for the networks. If the race looks close it makes it easier to get away with stealing the election by means of caging, voting machines that flip in the night and agressive voter roll removal programs.

    Think about it. The GOP is going to win in November because they think we're stupid and if we believe this race is this close, then the GOP is right.

    July 31, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  12. Joel S.

    Couldn't the same article have been titled "McCain Fails to Gain Ground in Key Swing States?"

    July 31, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  13. Lorna, NY

    The Wisconsin Advertising Project, which monitors campaign ad spending nationwide, reported yesterday that of the $48 million worth of ads the two campaigns have aired since Obama clinched the nomination in early June, 90 percent of Obama's ads have been positive and mostly about himself, while about one-third of McCain's commercials referred to Obama negatively.

    July 31, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  14. Anonymous

    I just can't understand the American people's mentality.

    McCain can't tie his shoes without a safety net, and he's holding is own against one of the mopst charismatic, intelligent, and capable nominees of the past half century.

    Whatever could be people's problem with Obama?

    July 31, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  15. Matt

    Hare, meet Turtle.

    July 31, 2008 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  16. Xavier

    All this polls wont mean much come November. Obama will win by a landslide. After that happens all these polls and rhetoric wont mean much. Maybe then McCain can go hang out with Spears and Hilton since they seem to be on his mind lately.

    July 31, 2008 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  17. Kevin Leo (Jonesboro, GA)

    The only polls that will mtter for me are the ones following the debates! When you have the two of them side by side, debating the issues, then America will be able to see past the negtive ads and spin to make the decision about who should and will be our next president.

    July 31, 2008 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  18. Elizabeth, minnesota

    Polls are so silly. So in the midst of his trip the poll was made – hardly "the trip made no difference." Then let's not forget polls go after *registered* voters who have lan lines – heavily weighted for older votes who are more likely to go to McCain. There are one million new supporters of Obama who are not registered and aren't getting polled!

    This is also before the insanely stupid commercials McCain has put on blaming Obama for, of all things, RISING OIL prices... Um, McCain has been the one in power for 26 years, the one who says "Obama has done nothing". How is Obama a do-nothing if he's capable of single handedly, as one of 100 US Senators, raised the price of oil?

    July 31, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  19. Otto Von Hinkie

    Maybe if Mr. Obama stopped flip-flopping on important issues such as FISA and NAFTA, he wouldn't have to worry about losing in the polls.

    July 31, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  20. RyanD.


    Drive your ratings all you like, Obama has the most extensive ground game ever and we will not be held hostage by the nation's idiots and scared rednecks for another 8 years. Mark my words.

    Lets talk on November 5th.

    Obama 08'

    July 31, 2008 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  21. Becky

    I'm from PA and voting for Obama! This article just encourages us Obama supporters to get the word out even more.

    McCain's negative attacks are going to continue to hurt his own campaign, I believe. Advisors from both campaigns were on the Today Show this morning, and Obama's advisor nicely stated, "McCain is an honorable man running an unhonorable campaign." McCain's advisor did not give straight answers, in my opinion. McCain should change the name of his bus from "Straight-Talk Express" to "Dancing Around the Bush".

    July 31, 2008 09:38 am at 9:38 am |

    People must be out of their mind to actually vote for McCain, your guaranteed to have the same type of politics as Bush, whereas, you at least have a possibility of change with Obama...shouldn't a person choose a possibility of change instead of the same politics....this is just insane...

    July 31, 2008 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  23. rumpusgoopus

    Who knew that being cranky was an effective campaign strategy?

    July 31, 2008 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  24. wayne

    Voters are suffering from "OBAMA FATIGUE". They are finally waking up and saying 'NOBAMA in 2008"

    July 31, 2008 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  25. Lawrence O. Guillory

    The reason Obama is not gaining in the polls is black and white. It's the only answer. The better he looks, the better his ideas, the more his color affects him. McCain is no Hillary Clinton. The only way they are similiar is the color of their skin. Therefore, no knockout punch. Thank God the majority of the people of this country will be color blind on election day.

    July 31, 2008 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
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