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)
  1. Sherri

    Obama 08!

    This is another silly story. Where's the news today, CNN?

    August 6, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  2. Vote Nader

    Isn't it your job to make sure the public knows there are options other than these two? Especially since we think both of them are risky.

    ** Nader/Gonzalez 2008 **

    August 6, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  3. Ben, FL

    I just saw McCain at the grocery store, standing in front of cheese again. News at 11.


    August 6, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  4. B J

    I dont trust either one of them. They are both politicians, they are going to tell people what they want to hear. Does anyone think there will be sweeping changes with Obama? Maybe some. Do people really think that McCain is exactly like Bush...Hardly. Obama is new and may get some change done and how soon people forget that McCain supported Clinton several times and challenged Bush and Rumsfeld many times. When it comes down to it its Congress, Congress has sucked. Both it rep control and more recently under dem control, they have been terrible. I think its time for term limits for Senators and Representatives.

    August 6, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  5. Jeff Adkins

    (For the next..."Seen Too Much Obama"

    No, we have not seen too much of Senator Obama. And come January 2009 we want to see him a lot more. Hello, we have been waiting nearly eight years to see an intelligent leader. What we have had too much of is Neocons (emphasis on Cons)...We are sick and tired of hearing things from uptight, short-sighted, narrow-minded hypocrites...All we want is the truth...Just give us some truth. We've
    had enough of reading things by neurotic, psychotic, pig-headed politicians...All we want is the truth...Just give us some truth. (Thanks Billy and Generation X)

    August 6, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  6. Peter

    polls are stupid, Obama will so win

    August 6, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  7. Kiss and make up NOW !!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    Hillary is the right one.

    Obama egged his followers to use ugly, vile, vulgar hatred to discredit HRC. Nothing was too filthy to be used. Even labeling Bill, Hill and 18Million lifelong supporters of Civil Rights- as racist.

    They thought we would forgive and forget the treachery and kiss and make up with the abuser.

    Obama decided to use racial division to divide the party to gain an edge.

    Now that has backfired.

    He had no qualifications other than being a beautiful black man in a time when change was a good message to use.

    August 6, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  8. jmv


    August 6, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  9. Mommyof2

    I agree that Obama is far less risky than the status quo.

    August 6, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  10. linda from South Dakota

    i agree, polls dont tell all,, and americans have been through the worst risk,, bush era so my vote still goes to obama,, i would think mccain is the second worst risk compared to bush,,, we can and we will win obama!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 6, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  11. Betty, MO

    I'll take my chances with Obama any day, then going with McCain where I KNOW it will be 4 more years of the same old thing. He's in big oil's pocket, and we don't stand a chance.

    August 6, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  12. Rob indetroit

    Risky? does anyone remember the secret meeting cheney had with the oil company's??? Now MCbush is taking money from the oil company's, people wakeup and smell the BS. MCcrazy is too risky. Obama 08.

    August 6, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  13. LUCYNA

    Those who vote for McCain or thinking about it......their brain cells are shirinking.

    August 6, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  14. Dan , TX

    McCain is a communist plant. He was brainwashed in Hanoi. He is going to push the nuclear button for sure if he gets in. A vote for McCain is a vote for nuclear holocaust.

    August 6, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  15. Obama Supporter from Texas

    No Marilyn, McSame will be a disastrous choice. He will continue the policies of the Bush administration. It is just like going to the store and buying a bad red apple. Each time you eat it, it leaves a bad taste in your mouth. Would you continue buying the same kind of apple?Common sense tells you to try a different kind of apple (green apple, maybe)...

    August 6, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  16. T. Kency

    America needs to wake up and quit fearing change. Barack is nothing to be feared, just because he doesn't fit in with old politics and white america. He is exactly what we need to get us rolling in the direction of a new and more positive future. Who cares if he wants to raise taxes, at least he is trying to look out for the little people, and not corporate giants. Raising taxes allows a way to pay for the betterment of America. It's our country, we have to be responsible for paying for it, even if you feel that it doesn't directly affect you.
    A 30+ white woman in Kansas

    August 6, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  17. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    Of course Obama is riskier. He has the least experience of any presidential candidate ever. Even if you look at the 5 presidents that were younger than Obama when they took office, Obama's lack of experience is glarring:
    Teddy Roosevelt: Secretary Of the Navy, war hero, Gov. of NY, VP
    JFK: 2 terms in the House, 2 terms in the Senate, war hero
    Grover Cleveland: Mayor of Buffalo, Gov. of NY
    US Grant: General-in-chief of all Union Armies in the Civil War
    Clinton: 2 terms as Gov.

    Obama: half a term as Senator, with half of that MIA while he campaigns.

    August 6, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  18. Frank

    Obama is clearly the riskiest option, hands down.

    August 6, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  19. Mack

    If we would really want to have the right person in the White House, American should write in "AL GORE"!!!!

    August 6, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  20. Ralph V. AZ

    The polls need to factor in that John McCain is a fraud and a crook!

    McCain was one of the "Keating Five," congressmen investigated on ethics charges for strenuously helping convicted racketeer Charles Keating after he gave them large campaign contributions and vacation trips.

    Charles Keating was convicted of racketeering and fraud in both state and federal court after his Lincoln Savings & Loan collapsed, costing the taxpayers $3.4 billion. His convictions were overturned on technicalities; for example, the federal conviction was overturned because jurors had heard about his state conviction, and his state charges because Judge Lance Ito (yes, that judge) screwed up jury instructions. Neither court cleared him, and he faces new trials in both courts.)

    Though he was not convicted of anything, McCain intervened on behalf of Charles Keating after Keating gave McCain at least $112,00 in contributions. In the mid-1980s, McCain made at least 9 trips on Keating's airplanes, and 3 of those were to Keating's luxurious retreat in the Bahamas. McCain's wife and father-in-law also were the largest investors (at $350,000) in a Keating shopping center; the Phoenix New Times called it a "sweetheart deal."

    August 6, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  21. governa

    Mc Cain's health and age doesnt look good for him to survive the first term as a president which raises an obvious risk on his part !

    August 6, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  22. Sara

    I think they are both very poor choices, but Obama is the better of the two. I'll have to settle for him.

    August 6, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  23. Rita Pendergast

    It is of great concern for the American public to consider a candidate that is as old as John McCain for the President of the US, one of the most stressful and demanding jobs. CNN and other media outlets have gone out of their way to cut away from clips of the many events and news conferences where Senator McCain appears to be confused and delivers incoherent statements. CNN deleted such an episode at yesterdays' event in South Dakota. Another example was in the recent event in Florida when Senator McCain could not answer the two questions posed by a reporter, the second one being on his record on support of civil rights. The confusion by Senator McCain was painful to watch, but the American public deserves to see the candidate on his own words and without editing so an informed decision can be made on the competence of the next Chief Executive. Instead for weeks the media has questioned Barack Obama's qualifications. These comparisons should be put in light of previous presidents. Compare JFK and Abraham Lincoln to old experienced presidents that are now forgotten in History.

    August 6, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  24. Selected by hate and division and race card

    Obama was so smug and arrogant.

    He thought he could waltz into the white house- simply by destroying the better qualified democratic candidates.

    He knew he had to trounce HRC.

    But he miscalculated the voters. We will not vote SIMPLY along party lines if you are unqualified and cheated your way to being installed.

    Should have counted the Fl and Mi votes- or re voted or something. Blocking the voices/votes of those who voted for your opponent is generally NOT a way to win.

    August 6, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  25. Tim

    McCain risky??? Not the maverick? Even his own party doesn't trust him. If they would show his Gaffs, not only would America see he is more risky that Obama, but he is also senile. LOL!!!!!

    August 6, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
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