August 6th, 2008
03:50 PM ET
14 years ago

Poll: Obama, McCain both risky options

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="A new poll takes a look at which candidate is riskier."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - More than half of registered voters say electing Barack Obama is slightly riskier than choosing John McCain, according to a new CNN/Opinion Research Corp. Poll released Wednesday.

In the poll, conducted July 27-29, 57 percent say Obama would be a risky choice, while 54 percent say the same of McCain.

When asked whether Obama would be a “very risky” choice, 31 percent agreed - while only 21 percent said the same of the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

But when asked which candidate is “somewhat risky,” 33 percent chose McCain; 26 percent said Obama would be.

The poll is based on interviews with 914 registered voters, conducted by telephone on July 27-29. The margin of error for both questions is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Though slightly more registered voters find Obama a riskier choice, the race continues to remain tight.

A CNN “Poll of Polls” released Tuesday shows just five points separate the two candidates - Obama's 48 percent to McCain's 43 percent, with 9 percent undecided.

While “risk” is not defined by a single issue, one issue in particular may help Obama ease fears over the course of the campaign season.

In a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll released Wednesday morning, 48 percent of those surveyed said McCain and Obama’s economic policy would be the most important issue when deciding who to vote for this fall.

But when it comes to deciding who is the better choice to fix the economy, Obama is their pick by a 54-43 percent margin.

That poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

The CNN "Poll of Polls" consists of four surveys: CNN/Opinion Research Corporation (July 27-29), AP-IPSOS (July 31-August 4), USA Today/Gallup (July 25-27), and Gallup tracking (August 2-4). The Poll of Polls does not have a sampling error.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (208 Responses)

    League of Conservation Voters gave McCain a "zero" rating for 2007, saying he had missed all 11 votes related to such critical energy topics as automobile fuel economy, offshore Virginia drilling, refinery construction, renewable electricity mandates, energy efficiency, liquefied coal, support for biofuels.

    What a hypocrite McCain. Now that you are running your campaign you wake up from your DEEP SNOOZE!!!

    McCain the PHONY EXPRESS

    August 6, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  2. Shawna Martin

    Does anyone else think it's ridiculous to have a poll of only 914 people and think that it would in any way reflect what all Amercians think??

    August 6, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  3. Mad

    I like to see McCain just as a bench warmer till Hillary comes in

    Of course Obama is risky- he has no past polls of actually doing anything IN HIS HOME STATE!

    He is young-fails at debates meaning he doesn't actually know any of the things coming out of his mouth

    he needs a lot more experience THEN ill vote for him

    McCain 08
    Clinton 12/16
    Obama 20 when he is ready...

    August 6, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  4. James

    This is another string in misleading and stilted polls. It does not articulate why people think either is risky.

    Is Obama considered risky because he is new?

    Is McCain considered risky because people think he will get the US into more wars?

    Just because people think someone may be a risk does not mean they won't vote for them.

    August 6, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  5. Kathryn Irby - Metairie, LA

    Nowhere near the incompetence of John McCain!

    August 6, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  6. jd


    August 6, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  7. Mike, TX

    A vote for Obama is just driving the car off the cliff.

    August 6, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  8. Cricket

    Polls, polls, polls, far too many polls!!! These polsters do these polls just so some commentator can say "they don't mean anything this early". Give it a rest!


    August 6, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    Obama is considered risky because people don't really know him yet.

    McCain is considered risky because they do.

    August 6, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  10. Sacto Joe

    We can only make progress by taking chances. Most people know that, instictively.

    What matters is CHANGE. McCain will give us more of the same. Only Obama will change the direction this country is going in.

    And right now, that looks like over a cliff!

    August 6, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  11. P, CA

    Yet again, Americans are scared of what they don't understand/what's different. They don't bother to learn. They don't bother to understand. They just deem it a "risk" and go for what they know. Why bother even having schools if this is how you want to live?

    August 6, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  12. John

    With Obama taking campaign contributions from Hamas, I'd say he is risky.

    August 6, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  13. Jill-IN

    McCain is a far riskier choice. He will continue the Bush era politics. The fact that he has played both sides of the aisle is not comforting as he always steps back in line with the neocons. He has done little or nothing in his 25 yrs in the Senate to change what has gone on in D.C. for the past quarter century and we have all seen it get much worse in the last decade. How could he possibly say he will be an agent for change when he has been there 25 years as part of the problem. It's pure nonsense!

    August 6, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  14. Cindy

    When is mainstream media going to catch on to the fact that there's a huge movement afoot to deal with the above issue.

    McCain is seen as risky because he's "more of the same" Republican nightmare we've all endured these last 8 years.

    Obama is seen as risky because a) he lacks wisdom and experience and b) he's seen as somewhat of a wild card.

    This is why so many of the 18-million who voted for Hillary Clinton were initially disenfranchised. They still are, but now they're determined – more than ever – to turn the election around by demanding the leaders of the DNC put Hillary's name into the rollcall.

    Mainstream media is sooo far behind the 8-ball in reporting on this election, by the time Denver & this election is over, I doubt they will ever recover their credibility with the majority of the American people.

    August 6, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  15. lou

    They are both risky options. But I am still basing my vote on the war. I think it is a cancer that has ate away at our confidence, our status in the world, and is killing our economy. McCain is a military man who will not treat this cancer. Obama is ready to cut it out. I'll vote for less experience over knowing full well what McCain's experience will get us.

    August 6, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  16. Michael McMahon

    We have seen too much Obama. We have seen too much McCain. Now neither one of them is saying anything worth listening too – all they are doing is bad mouthing each other. American politics at its finest. Each of them has a job to do that the American taxpayers are paying for and neither are doing it. Send them back to work, until 1 week before the election. Then they can talk again about their platform – one deragatory remark towards the other and all air time is squelched.

    August 6, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  17. Johnny

    There's CNN, trying to create the illusion of a tight race again. The heck with the country, as long as they keep their ratings up with DRAMA, DRAMA, DRAMA!

    McCain's a weak candidate, and even the RNC knows it. Have you looked at their website lately? He ain't on it! It's like they're ashamed of him. Meanwhile, they're doing what they always do – trying to paint the Democrat as unviable. The Republicans know they haven't had anything to offer for decades, and their only hope is to make the alternative seem "scary" so you'll settle for them.

    And that's all Republicans do – settle for their bad candidates, and pretend that the disasters they cause would be even worse if someone else were at the helm. Brainwashed!

    August 6, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  18. ByebyeBush, Chicago

    Life is full of risks. Either one is better than Bush. How about a positive question like which one presents more of an opportunity for the country?

    August 6, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  19. Anyone but these 2

    Of course they're both risky. They are horrible candidates, each for their own reasons. Why does the media refuse to cover the other candidates? if they'd cover the options, then maybe the two "major" parties would then be forced to put forth better candidates. Stop being suckered into the two party system!

    August 6, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |


    OBAMA 08!!!!

    August 6, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  21. Bayou Joe

    Keep Obama in the Polls. We don't want the Democrats to swtich candidates on us in Denver. Hillary would be harder to beat than
    Obama. So we need Obama to be the ONE.

    Yeah, The ONE that Goes Down in November.

    August 6, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  22. H Jay

    There are over 300 million people in this country how can anyone say that a sample of 914 people truly represents the thoughts of the country

    August 6, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  23. Sherry, Atlanta

    Preferance being...Senator Obama, with Creative Direction.

    August 6, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  24. Michael Shea

    I don't think there is anything risky about electing Obama. He is bright, a,canstitutional attorney which this country desperately needs after Bush and the Patriot Act.

    I believe Obama will surround himself with competent leaders, both Democrat and Republican and top notch staff persons.

    Most important the American people will have a President who cares about their problems instead of corporate interests. Look who contributed to his campaign in the primaries and will do so again in the general election:ordinary folks, not corporate interests.

    McCain on the other hand is a rehash of the current administration and is the darling of the corporate interests. On top of that he is not very stable with his horrific temeper.

    August 6, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  25. GoHillary

    Does Obama's MAMA know that the fruit of her loins is a complete lemmon?

    He clearly has a lot of repressed issues from his childhood.

    His need to feel wanted is what causes him to pander to the immediate audience whether he's telling the truth or not.

    How can we have an unstable person in the Whitehouse?

    August 6, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
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