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. Jonathan, Hartford, CT

    McCain is like an ant building an anthill. He starts off, one grain of sand at a time (that's all he can carry) and little by little, ever so quietly, he gets the job done. When everyone wakes the next morning, there it is: a mountain where a mole hill stood yesterday!

    Meanwhile, pompous Obama, directs a wailing wall to be built for his private correspondence with God. The crews and the big, heavy equipment is brought in, and the wall is built (just like Rev. Hagee's). Obama tucks his notes in to God (i.e. "God, how about making me King of the World.") just before going to bed. The next morning, Obama runs out to find all the notes stolen by the Israeli press. Suddenly, the huge, thunderous voice of God booms down, "NO!"

    July 31, 2008 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  2. Montana is Obama Country

    McNegative.. you need to find substance to run on … not rhetoric..

    July 31, 2008 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  3. Molly

    Good for McCain – the American people are now seeing obama for who he really is – an Arrogant, Radical FRAUD!

    July 31, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  4. Jackie from Minneapolis

    If people vote for McCain, he will be the one who will finally take this country right over the cliff. That would be worst thing that could happen to this country. When Bush was reelected, newspaper around the world said "how could 9 million people be so stupid?" . I think we have alot of stupid people in the country as well as racist people. They would rather see this country destroyed than vote for someone who is a different color than them. It's pathetic. Obama doesn't think about the next election – he thinks about the next generation. The selfishness in this country is mindblowing. Many people only think of themselves, their family and friends and their backyard – no one else. Ultimately, that will be our downfall as a society. We haven't evolved much as Americans or human beings.

    July 31, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  5. Stop it!!!

    Dear Media,

    Please stop the madness!!! These polls mean ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!!! If there's one thing the 2004 election should have taught you, it's that polls are notoriously unreliable. The whole idea of a "margin of error" – that somehow the true state of things is guaranteed to be within several points of the reported results – is not true. So stop with the barrage of countless polls... they are not showing true "warning signs," "ominous indicators," "causes for celebration," "clear trends," or anything else like that. They just giving you something to fill the space when you can't think of anything else to put there. I don't care if you support McCain or Obama... just don't support the ridiculous trend of constant, daily poll results presented as real news.

    July 31, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  6. kathryn

    It amazes me how CNN goes to such lengths to "warn Obama" with trends against him.....why don't you ever "warn McCain" with trends against him? Oh, yes that's right, I forgot....supposedly the media is TOO CRITICAL of Obama and being gentle on McCain (-if you believe that one I've got a Bridge in Brooklyn for you! )
    Kathryn Granby MA

    July 31, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  7. Eric

    It is difficult to believe. Everyone agrees that the pathetic and low-road campaign McCain is doing will hurt him with independants. But let's not forget how stupid the average American is. Voted for Bush twice, and in favor for more oil drilling, even though it won't change anything before ten years, while climate change and its consequences will cost billions. US is simply not ready for a President who can think and who has long-term plan for the country. Sad but true.

    July 31, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  8. welches, oregon

    If McCain were somehow to be elected, the entire World would roar in collected laughter and disgust because we can't elected anyone other than old white men. Our reputation in the world would finally be entirely destroyed. Obama IS the change we've been looking for – Give Peace a Chance!

    Obama 'till 2016

    July 31, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  9. Tony Z- MD

    It will start to change. Tired of the same old dirty politics. If Obama is an empty suit- than why is McCain talking about him.

    July 31, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  10. Frank

    The shock and awe of Obama has worn off and his far left philosophy is making Americans very concerned about what is at stake for the future of our children. Democrats are wrong on every issue!

    July 31, 2008 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  11. Nicholas

    You find warning signs in EVERY poll. The fact that the narrowing was so insignificant makes it meaningless. If you all knew how to poll worth a darn you'd know the truth. When will you become a news organization that is credible?

    July 31, 2008 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  12. shadman

    Wait till Republicans bring out something to scare the hell out of us again like the Bush administration has done for the past 7 years... lies, of course, but we will run to vote for the continuation of the Bush (Rambo) policies..... God have mercy of us.

    July 31, 2008 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  13. Moderate Republican Supporting Obama

    Obama must do more to explicitly and plainly point out the differences between him and McCain. It is clear that the media is not doing their duty in pointing out the many mis-statements, flips, and policy errors of McCain. However, every word Obama utters is prejudically examined, blatantly taken out of context, and analyzed to death on talk radio and mainstream news shows! The Obama camp must spell out to the American people why McCain will be a continuation of 8 years of the failed domestic and foreign policies of the Bush Administration. The Obama camp must tell the American people that McCain is no longer the independent free-thinker he was back in 2000. McCain is a clone of the George Bush and the ultra-right conservative movement!

    July 31, 2008 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  14. Neb

    While things are narrower this shows that Obama's continued heavy spending in Florida has been an interesting resource allocation. If he forces McCain to spend money there to shore himself up or pick Christ for a running mate he will have succeeded in putting McCain on a big defensive position before Labor Day. Obama's ads have not been in as heavy a rotation in Ohio as Florida. Once McCain is pinned down a bit in Florida expect Obama to do what is needed to tie the economy and Bush around McCain and go back to widening these gaps.

    July 31, 2008 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  15. Denise Groves

    if mccain is so "experienced," why can he not close the deal? if mccain is so well known, why can he not close the deal? why is he always trailing? why can he not get above the early 40's in the polls?

    July 31, 2008 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  16. Wes

    What the heck are people thinking? McCain? Are you freaking kidding me?!

    Do you want sound environmental policies or policies that destroy the environment even more? Do you want courts that favor citizens or that favor corporations? Do you want health care for everyone or health care for a few? Do you want to be loved by our allies abroad or merely tolerated by them? Do want an end to the war in Iraq or perpetual war there?

    And I'm talking to you PUMA's! I voted for Hillary. I would have loved to have seen her become president. But I loved Hillary (and still love her) BECAUSE of her stance on these issues! She's not going to be the nominee, so I've moved on because these issues are still important to me.

    And, PUMA's, stop including me in your "Hillary's-18million-supporters" talk. The majority of us, Hillary supporters, have turned our attention to Obama (I've seen a couple of polls that indicate around 60% of us). So, here's some math: 18million – 10.8 million – however many Rush Limbaugh fans voted for her in certain states = probably only around 6.5 million of you. Get on board, already!

    July 31, 2008 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  17. Nicholas

    Never mind the fact that you same news people said these three states would be hard for Obama to win since he lost them in the primary. Yet he has leads in all three. Interesting how terrible you all are. Way to make a mockery of the presidential race and turn it into a reality TV show so you can put a little extra cash in your pocket.

    July 31, 2008 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  18. JB

    This is due to Obama wanting to cover illegal aliens under his health care plan. He may deny it, but then continues to add them in his count under his plan. This is true, I have done enough research. This is one of those situations where he denies something, knowing he is not "lying" just not telling the truth.

    And also because he is now backing down on his "absolute timetable" in Iraq.

    It will be interesting to see what happens when he chooses someone other than Hillary. This thing may get alot tighter if the PUMA's follow thru with their threats.

    July 31, 2008 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  19. ExDem

    John McCain has my vote. I would never support BO, a candidate that holds dual citizenship with Indonesia, who has such a mysterious and unknown background. Obama is simply not qualified and American needs to know more about his background. Why did he go to Pakistan in 1981 and not tell anyone about this in any interviews?

    July 31, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  20. Joealbanyny


    Well, It's about time Americans opened their eyes and dump Obama.
    He's all talk and flash and no substance or EXPERIENCE. McCain will beat him soundly in the election. GO McCain!!!

    July 31, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  21. David, Silver Spring, MD

    Yes, Obama has "enjoyed a wave of intense media coverage surrounding his trip abroad." The newspapers have been full of headlines like, "McCain Rips Obama Over Berlin Speech," and "McCain Attacks Obama's Refusal to Visit Troops in Germany."

    Let's face it, the media likes two things above all else during elections:
    1) close races, and 2) easy stories.

    When the McCain camp comes out with some crazy accusation like "Obama's not for America." the news media has a full week's worth of coverage lined up:

    Monday: full coverage of the accusation,
    Tuesday: full coverage of Obama's response,
    Wednesday: polls showing what effect the accusation has had,
    Thursday: an investigation or analysis of the substance of the accusation, and finally
    Friday: a report on media coverage of the accusation.

    Media uses polls not to report on public opinion, but to guide which way their coverage has to go to keep the race tight.

    July 31, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  22. LAM

    It appears that it may be too much to ask of Americans to wake up and smell the disaster that will be McSame/Worse.

    July 31, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  23. Bernard Hussein Montgomery

    The fact that Obama is ahead in Republican States such as Florida and Ohio is actually good news for Obama, it's funny how the media (CNN) tries to spend this as some type of warning of bad news for Obama, you guys tickle me pink.

    July 31, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  24. Carol - Litchfield CT

    It's looking like – Senator McCain, a WRITE-IN, or the "third party candadate ! WOW !

    July 31, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |


    July 31, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
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