August 19th, 2008
07:35 PM ET
15 years ago

CNN poll of polls: Obama lead cut in half


[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="A new CNN poll of polls shows Obama's lead is dwindling."]

(CNN) - In what could be an ominous sign for Barack Obama just days before he is formally named the Democratic presidential nominee, a new CNN poll of polls out Tuesday shows the Illinois senator's lead over John McCain has been cut in half in recent days.

According to CNN's average of several recent national surveys, Obama's lead is now a slim 3 points over the Arizona senator, 46-43 percent - half of his advantage in a CNN poll of polls one week ago, and down from a high of 8 points in mid-July.

Election Center: Check out CNN's electoral map

The latest poll results come amid increased attacks from McCain on Obama's readiness to be commander-in-chief and the re-emergence of national security worries among voters in the wake of the Georgia crisis.

“Over the last week, we’ve seen Sen. Obama’s lead in the poll of polls cut in half,” noted CNN Senior Political Researcher Alan Silverleib. “This change was likely driven by a renewed focus on foreign policy after Russia’s invasion of Georgia, as well as by Sen. McCain’s willingness to launch more aggressive attacks against Obama on issues such as off-shore drilling."

A Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll out Tuesday evening was the latest national survey to indicate Obama's lead is dwindling, putting the Illinois senator ahead of McCain by only 2 points, well within the poll's margin of error. The CNN Poll of polls also includes new surveys from Quinnipiac and Gallup.

But the recent downturn in the polls for Obama may not last - the Democratic White House hopeful is headed for a week of what is likely to be overwhelmingly postive coverage as he names his running mate and officially accepts his party's presidential nomination.

"The big question now is whether Obama can successfully regain control of the campaign agenda as we head into the Democratic convention," Silverleib also said.

soundoff (159 Responses)
  1. TR

    Everyday there is a different poll all of which have consistantly had Obama up by 3 to 9 points. McCain has never been ahead and will never be ahead no matter what the MSM tries to portray to boost their ratings. We all know CNN is in the bag for McCain.

    Remember Hillary Clinton was suppose to win and she was up by
    30 points and she was a shoe in as the Demoractic nominee.

    Obama 08!

    August 19, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  2. Obama 08

    It is so unbelievable to me that there are people out there who honestly think that Mcain is better than Obama at anything. The old man doesn't even know where he is standing most of the time. He gets asked a question to which he has not rehearsed an answer and he freaks out, stutters, and gives an answer to another question to avoid answering the one he was asked. Once that's all done, he then gives that creepy grin that he usually makes when he reads one of the points that was written for him to take a shot at Obama. The guys is jaded and worthless. He'll lead us into needless wars and I hope that all of you who think he is so great have children who will be forced to fight in those wars because judging by his excitement over the whole Georgia situation, it wouldn't take long to be in yet another needless war that McCain, the hack, supports!

    August 19, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  3. Vegas Barbie for Obama

    I can't believe that anyone who thinks a feeble old man of 72 could run this country better than a vital man with his wits about him not to mention the fact that Obama as our president will IMMEASURABLY improve our world standing and respect amongst our international neighbors...face it, folks, we ARE part of a world community and that fact has been sorely forgotten during the Bush admin. He will not lose, and there is no victim card to be played. Fact is, the MEDIA has portrayed and played the negatives on and about Obama, he has not had to lift a finger to be portrayed as a victim...first all those turncoat HRC WHINERS who can't just face that fact that parties have nomination processes with RULES and by those RULES, Obama won this nomination, but now has to coddle the pantsuited one and practically make this convention about her...McCain has had no such party infighting...but again, I will take a man who knows his countries and his borders, who can speak on a WEEKEND, thank you and does not retire to his ranch with his beer heiress wife any day over the likes of McCain.
    OBAMA/BIDEN '08 & '12 OH YES WE CAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 19, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  4. colinfahey

    Soldiers abroad prefer Obama 6-to-1 over McCain.

    People with cell phones and who are on the national do-not-call registry, as I am, will not get polled.

    Voters who aren't heads of households aren't being polled.

    Students who can vote are less likely to be reached by telephone are probably under-represented.

    In any case, clearly Obama should work hard to win over the people who might have recently swayed over to supporting McCain. Also, Obama should try to win over moderate McCain supporters who might be convinced that Obama actually represents a better choice for president.

    There are many people who will vote McCain only in the hope that abortion will be further limited. There are many people who will vote for McCain only in the hope that McCain will somehow prevent gay people from being granted any status resembling marriage. There are people who will vote for McCain because they're making $200K or more, and they think McCain will reduce taxes for them. There are people who like McCain's tough-talking foreign policy attitude. The 20% of people who are still convinced that Bush is still an OK president are obviously going to have everlasting support for the Republican party. All of those people, probably amounting to 40% of Americans, are probably lost causes.

    Although CNN's "poll of polls" might indicate a small shift, think about how many times a "shift" has been reported. If you look at Gallup's web site, for example, and you click on the Obama-McCain figures (45%-44% today), you will see a long-term graph - and you will see that the polling numbers have fluctuated to McCain's favor many times in the past 4 months. But the past several months have shown a clear, but definitely small, advantage for Obama.

    Yes, it's scary that McCain will enjoy a convention bump AFTER Obama. Also, it's scary that various recent events have played in to the fears and prejudices of people, making them more inclined to prefer McCain. Hopefully people will come to their senses before the election. We shouldn't have to suffer four more years of Republican methods.

    OBAMA 2008

    P.S.: @"Clinton, no, wait, McCain Supporter" ("When in doubt, play the victim card ...") : Hillary claimed "sexism" during the primaries. Like you, I think Hillary would be a good president, but you have to admit, she accused various pundits and critics of sexism. And did you watch McCain on Saturday? He played the "I was a POW victim", to great effect, several times during that interview. I think he invested at least 5 minutes of the overall hour specifically to anecdotes of his POW experience. Likewise, I think McCain used *other* people as victims in his proxy - such as the victims of 9/11, the victims of conflict in Iraq and Georgia, etc. I'm not saying using personal experiences and anecdotes is wrong, but if you're going to criticize the idea of "playing the victim card", realize that Hillary and McCain - your preferred candidates - have definitely played that card many times.

    August 19, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  5. RyanD.

    Amen to Brad.

    Like Jack Cafferty said...McCain is Bush with more anger.

    Obama 08'

    August 19, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  6. 18 million minus one

    I am in noway disheartened by the polls. Barack is a strong candidate whose best days are ahead of him. He has HRC and the PUMA coming at him from all directions, he has the Republican attack dogs on him and he has the media commenting on every move he makes and giving McCain a free ride. Only Jack Cafferty has the strength to say what many others know about McCain. I am pleased that Obama is doing so well. McCains days of being the sacred cow because he is old and an ex POW are over. Once people and the media begin to scrutinize him as much as they have Obama, Obama will win the election. Probably by a very narrow margin. I refuse to believe that people in this country are so naive as to get the presidential election wrong 3 times in a row.

    August 19, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  7. aware

    Obama is spiraling down fast. It doesn't help him to call people who hold him accountable liars, and it won't help him to disrespect an American hero.

    McCain has a proven record of integrity and authenticity.

    Obama has a far left-wing voting record and a book of obfuscation, fantasy and half-truths.

    Hillary is his only hope but she would be foolish to join the loser! 🙂

    McCain 08!

    August 19, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  8. reform repub

    these polls are useless. the small number of persons contacted and how they are contacted does not reflect the general population in this country. When do you call so i can be sure to be here to answer that call.

    August 19, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  9. Tim

    If you expand the time frame his lead is steady 3-6 this is just another bump attributable to random noise. Ominous? Cut the melodrama and stick with real reporting please.

    August 19, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
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