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. Crush Rush

    A vote for McCain is a vote for big oil.

    July 31, 2008 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  2. Phil, FL


    July 31, 2008 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  3. RAY IN NJ

    It's totally amazing to me that people will vote for McCain after 4 years of Bush. To some he may be "less risky", but if they'd stop to think for a moment, they'd realize that he really hasn't told us of any policies that actually make sense! Also, if McCain can't run a decent, cohesive campaign you'd think these voters would wonder how he'd run the White House. We've already endured 8 years of chaotic management from Bush. If McCain wins in November, you can count on 4 more years of chaos. He can manuever all over the political spectrum because he hasn't promised to DO anything – leaving plenty of wiggle room for future nonsensical policies. By contrast, Obama HAS run a magnificent campaign by all accounts. He's surrounded himself with experts in many fields, the sign of a wise man who knows that he doesn't have all the answers to every problem (true 'wisdom' is realizing you aren't "all wise"). Obama has the ability to inspire folks to do more as Americans. THAT is one of the traits of a successful leader! Finally, he's shown superior "judgement" in so many areas it mind-boggling that folks are frightened of his "experience". The man is not a kid, as McCain would have you to believe. He's relatively middle-aged! Just as in the last two elections, to those who touted the Republican philosophy and voted in Bush – you deserve what you're going to get with McCain. Don't blame HIM – blame yourselves!!

    July 31, 2008 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  4. Chris

    Good title CNN, except note that Obama doesn't have to win Florida or Ohio to win, it's just icing on the cake that he's ahead!

    July 31, 2008 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  5. S.M

    You talk about McCain narrowing the lead against Obama. I am curious who you are asking when you take these polls? How many African Americans, Hispanics and Whites are you asking and where is the demographic area in which you are taking your polls? If you're asking Whites with money and who are straight Republicans, than of course the polls aren't accurate. Try asking low income families who they would vote for in this coming election.

    July 31, 2008 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  6. Never Again CNN

    The fact that McCain is narrowing the gap after putting out false negative ad after false negative ad is appalling and show that there are still too many ignorant voters out there (politlcally at least), and sometimes willfully so. When are we going to admit that race has been a factor in this campaign. Seriously, if you look at where these ads are being run...it's not as bad as what was done to Harold Ford Jr. when he ran for senate, but showing Barack Obama then Britney Spears and Paris Hilton in the same ad, even going so far as to comparing them..it's ridiculous and shows how low the republican campaign is willing to sink, even with McCain who claims to be a straight talker. I think he needs to give up the name, but I doubt he will, remember "Swiftboat veterans for ?truth?" or even the last ad they put out that they've been bactracking on. One McCain person even siad its a fair comparison, they are all celebs, apples to apples...well we should start cpmaring McCain to Hank Hill's dad. They look the same even sound the same...apples to apples.

    July 31, 2008 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  7. Tim

    CNN you have reverted to the bait and switch tactics of stores. You advertise one thing to deceive consumers and then switch it to something else. Let me make it clear. Putting a headline on your main page saying "warning signs for Obama" to get people to go to your political ticker for a non story seems like you are being guided by the Rebublican machine. What about the story of McCain's problem with the Hispanic vote? Have they started giving you talking points as well as Fox News???

    July 31, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  8. Travis


    July 31, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  9. stacy


    July 31, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  10. Rudy NYC

    Great news. Obama's lead is shrinking.

    This means voters who want to see Bush and the GOP out of office will come to the polls in droves. Bush was re-elected mainly because polls had him down, voters figured he would lose, so they stayed at home.

    July 31, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  11. Dem of NJ

    Great news. It takes time for people to realize who is real
    and who is the con.

    McCain 2008, Hillary 2012, Obama 3008.

    July 31, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  12. Let's Unite

    Every world power in history has been temporary. I truly believe if McCain is nominated we will see the beginning of the end of our rule in the free world.

    We have already lost respect globally, in many areas I can't blame them, more loss of respect could be detrimental. Continuing to spend billions on wars and oil depreciates the dollar and THAT is why the economy is where it is. Let's be accountable, let's be smart, let's be courageous and allow a brilliant man you may be apprehensive about turn this around.

    Lincoln only had served one term too.

    July 31, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  13. Faux News

    Don't believe the Hype !! - these polls are not even close to being accurate. I think its going to be a blow.

    July 31, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  14. John Starnes Tampa Florida

    How ANY informed thoughtful adult could vote for John McCain is jaw-droppingly unfathomable.

    July 31, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  15. Ace

    Maybe people are starting to come to their senses and realizing how far-left Obama really is. Would you want Britney Spears (or any other celebrity, for that matter) to run our country? I don't think so.

    July 31, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  16. McCain is the arrogant and the oppotunist

    If John McCain thinks Paris Hilton is THAT bad...why did he leave his first wife to marry a woman who is :

    Just as blond as Paris
    Just as rich as Paris and even more
    Never worked for her money , just like Paris
    and is probably an exemple of what Paris will look like in 30 years ?

    July 31, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  17. there you go

    Since Obama does not need HRC or 18 million voters that have supported her I am not going to worry. He insists in going the path that GORE took. Good luck Obama you’re going to need it. Hillary supporters are called idiots in the daily basis for getting behind the strongest candidate but unless the mistakes made are recognized by the DNC I will not be supporting any democrat this time around to insure next time I do not get stripped of my vote. HEY IM AN IDIOT RIGHT? I ALSO HAVE THE RIGHT TO VOTE AND I WILL USE IT ACCORDINGLY

    July 31, 2008 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  18. Joe American

    yea right! who in there right mind would vote for old yellow teethn Mr Flip Flopper!. We dont want more of the same. Exxon had record profits today at the expence of the the people of the United States. How pathetic the republicans are these days. Mcsame wont have a chance even with the media on his side. Hiltler had the media on his side. I think its time for a revolution!

    July 31, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  19. Christine

    When a life-long Democrat like myself is voting for McCain, then yeah, Obama has a problem.
    Sorry if that upsets Ludacris.

    July 31, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  20. Chris from NY

    You can spin it all you want we know what the outcome of this election is going to be. Stop putting fear in people and let the people choose. For an African American man who is new to the national political scene he is doing well to me. McCain has spent half of his life time in Washington and is still not doing so well. That should be more troubling.

    July 31, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  21. Henry n New York

    It has been studied and accepted that Obama has received 100% more negative press than McCain, in addition to twice as more press. McCain has received and equal disproportion of positive press. Is there any other outcome one should expect!!!!

    July 31, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |

    Stick the polls where the sun don't shine. It's amazing that when McCain starts to improve in polls they matter, but when Obama has lead, they don't matter. I'll tell you now, that I, my husband, my father & 2 of my 5 sisters (the other 3 are democrats) are Independents some living in different states and not one of us has ever been polled. CNN, you've been in the tank for McSame since the beginning so keep launching more negatives against Obama as they seem to just backfire with the general public in Obama's favor.

    July 31, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  23. Timber (ex dem)

    People are beginning to wake up! Thank God! Obama is like putting a child behind the wheel of a car. I'm not a McCain fan, but if it is between the two of them, I will vote McCain and save the country from disaster.

    July 31, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  24. McArsenic

    7/29 was the 41 anniversary of the tragedy aboard the USS Forrestal. a day where 134 crewmen where killed and another 161 wounded. some reports indicate that John Mccain wet started his Sky Hawk, which led to a series of explosions. the brave men of the USS Forrestal fought for some 20 hrs to contain the blaze. John Mccain was immediately transferred to another ship the USS Oriskany (the only Forrestal crewman to be immediately transferred). A few month later John McCain would get shot down and captured by the Vietcong, he had by his own admission while being a POW gave up Military information to the enemy, garnishing McCain with the nickname…SONGBIRD. in 1973 returning home McCain would soon start having an affair with Cindy Lou, his now second wife. his then current wife Carol, who was a model at one point and the mother of his first children was in a car accident which left her dis figured. Mccain left her to marry Cindy 1 month after the divorce was final…thin ink had not dried. using Cindy's vast fortune McCain got into politics. he had risen from scandals including Keating 5 to reports of an affair with a lobbyist. Now John Mccain wants us to vote for him….i think NOT. i could not in good conscience vote for a man who graduated 894 out of 899, has 59 lobbyist working on his campaign ,1)Wayne Berman- chevron 2)Frank Donatelli-EXXON 3) Eric Burgeson-BP 4)Rabecca Anderson- Sunco 5) CHARLIE BLACK-OCCIDENTAL PETROLIUM 6)Nancy Pfotenhauer-KOCH (who is looking tattered defending McCain) 7) Randy Scheunemann-BP Amco….to name a few. who will do or say ANYTHING to get a vote, offers NO solution only attacks, has that kind of temper, finds the only answer to a problem is WAR. i know you don't have the guts to post this CNN, but the American people need to know the truth about this man.
    the media is still covering the 2000 Mccain, who has been LONG GONE. start doing your job CNN- so America does not make its biggest gaffe in 8 years.

    July 31, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  25. Patrick, Takoma Park MD

    Mooney is reading an awful lot into what could be statistical noise in one set of polls by one organization. If you look at the aggregate graph of polls in Florida on Pollster.com (http://www.pollster.com/polls/fl/08-fl-pres-ge-mvo.php), the trend clearly is in Obama's favor. The same is true in Ohio (http://www.pollster.com/polls/oh/08-oh-pres-ge-mvo.php).

    July 31, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
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