August 20th, 2008
06:15 PM ET
14 years ago

Poll of polls: Obama's once-comfortable lead gone

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Obama's lead is down to 1 point over McCain."](CNN) - For Barack Obama, the Democratic convention and the bump in the polls that is expected to follow couldn't come soon enough.

According to a new CNN poll of polls, the Illinois senator's once-comfortable lead over McCain is down to only 1 point nationwide - potentially troubling news for Obama as he gets set to accept his party's nomination in Denver.

Obama now leads McCain 45 percent to 44 percent, down from a 3-point margin in a CNN poll of polls yesterday and down from an 8-point lead in mid July.

The seemingly rapid drop in the polls could be due to the reemergence of national security issues following the crisis in Georgia, giving McCain an anvil to hammer away at Obama's inexperience. When Russian troops invaded Georgia two weeks ago, McCain vigorously denounced the action and warned of consequences. Obama's reaction was more measured, and potential voters noticed, CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider said.

"Which candidate do voters believe is better qualified to deal with Russia? McCain by better than 2-1," Schneider said. "More experience in military matters and foreign affairs."

CNN Election Center: Check out the latest polls

In a year when the Republican brand is reeling, CNN Senior Political Researcher Alan Silverleib says the Obama campaign officials should be concerned their lead appears to have become so tenuous.

“This ought to be a landslide Democratic year, but right now the Obama campaign is at risk of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory," Silverleib said. "They’ve been slow to respond as McCain has successfully raised a series of questions about Obama’s basic fitness for the presidency."

"The pressure is mounting for Obama to regain the initiative as he heads to Denver for what is certain to be one of the most critical weeks of his campaign

But can the Democratic presidential candidate rely on the post-convention bounce? Maybe. From 1976 to 2004 every major party nominee has gained ground - 8 points on average - in polls taken immediately after the convention. But in the last presidential cycle, neither President Bush nor Sen. John Kerry received any bounce from either of their conventions.

soundoff (222 Responses)
  1. Joel in Corona

    The right leaning media says that Obama is winning, the left-leaners are saying McCain is ahead...

    August 20, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  2. Lyle

    The closer one examines Mr. Obama, the less appealing he becomes. We do not need a trainee in the White House, we need an experienced leader who can step in and take charge and Mr. Obama is simply not ready.

    August 20, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |

    God forbid McCain is President and a 3:00 am call comes in on the weekend – He takes off every weekend.

    I would vote for Bush again before I would vote for McCain.

    The time for change is now – we can't wait. The country can't afford it.

    McCain talks about the past all of the time. He lives in the past. We have got to move into the future.

    August 20, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  4. Mujaahid

    Frankly Moon Beam its Mc Con that should be well ahead and he's not even adhead.

    He's the white guy, the lifer and the righty.

    He's the hero Top Gun and the Vietnam war vet.

    He's got big big religous fan club icon and big business friend.

    He's the natural follow up to GW.

    But has not been winning at all. Nor has he been ahead. Stop the BS about polically motivated polls's not working for the voters withstanding your con games.

    Stop with the nonesense talk !

    BO is squarly where he should be in the bogus polls pulled together from in a timely manner to benift " you know what."..stop lying with faulty data.

    Obama is the next President of the USA

    August 20, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  5. Franky

    Well, after his vacation and the "unfortunate incident" in Russia, people will give up on anything that seems unfortunate. Am I worried?? No I'm not!! Let the GOP do what they gotta do...

    The Devil may have plans on his mind and that's right I'm here since the beginning...

    And Senator McCain is the underdog...please!!! Make sure you know what you're talking about...

    August 20, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  6. Jeremy

    This is kinda pathetic. You could not have asked for a better year for the Democrats.

    Obama has been spending money on ads like crazy and instead of going up, his support is going down. You have every group and celebrity running pro-Obama ads, the media making excuses for him, and still nothing. That oughta tell you something.

    Seems like the American people have woken up and they see the emperor has no clothes.

    August 20, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  7. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    We will see how the post convention bounce propells Obama (and possibly McCain). If there is little in the way of bounce for either one, it will be a close race. Obama really needs to get it going in Denver.

    August 20, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  8. Nova from NV

    This drop in poll numbers lead for Obama coincide with the Russian invasion of the independent Georgia. McCain was very quick to criticized Russia and sent his allies to Georgia to monitor the situation. Obama was very slow to react and took a softline at first. This just to show that Obama really lacks the experience to lead a nation in the time of crisis. People suddenly realize that he is naive and inexperience so the poll numbers drop from a big lead. This a legitimate concern to people and we should debate about this. Don't get me wrong, I think Obama is a good man, but can we trust him to lead our country in this dangerous world?

    August 20, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  9. Anthony

    Not to worry. this is mostly the result of McCain's negative attack ads. McCain is currently ooutspending Obama in ads, but that won't last much longer/

    After the conventions, McCain is limited to the @ $80 million he'll get from public funding. Obama can spend as much as he can raise, which is potentially hundreds of millions.

    August 20, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  10. Karen

    What is the top priority for Obama supporters? I'm really starting to wonder.

    I think he's a fine man. I really do. But if he doesn't pick Hillary as his running mate, I'm so worried he'll lose.

    The most important goal is to get that White House back. So why do so many Obama supporters hate Hillary? She can help make that happen.

    Let Hillary attack McCain. Let her do the dirty work. We all know she's tough enough. Let Obama be the nice man we all want him to be.

    But it's time for all of us to come together for that one goal. And we need both of them to make that happen.

    August 20, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  11. jason, tx

    People who vote for McCain are not very bright. Do you all not see what has happened to our country?

    August 20, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  12. Oh Boy!!!???

    I have not been polled, or asked to, or want to.

    Let me vote already and count that!

    August 20, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  13. returntocommonsense

    One more time – the only numbers that matter are the ones after the election is over. Polls and newspapers (remember Dewey Wins (1948 Presidential election) headlines?) are not the be all, end all of Presidential elections.

    August 20, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    How in the world could that hideous gargoyle be anywhere near Obama in the polls? We're f'ed.

    August 20, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  15. Tomislav

    Without Hillary , Obama can't win

    August 20, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  16. The Iraq war IS legal

    Once you go Barack..... you will want to go back!!

    August 20, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  17. Patriot

    By the way for those who don't know what "above his paygrade" meant, he was referring to God. When it comes to abortion and pro-choice, God will be the final decider on who's right about when life starts, when we stand before the gates awaiting judgement.
    Besides if you are really Pro-life you would not serve or the Military or Department of Defense and you wouldn't vote to go to War..Mr. McCain..Pro-Life Presidency

    August 20, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  18. park more

    Nooooooooooooooo Obama, McCain this time and then Hillary

    August 20, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  19. aware

    No bounce for Barack!

    McCain crushed Obama at the Rick Warren Forum, and the world situation is much too tenuous for an equivocating novice with poor judgment!

    No VP choice but Hillary could be of any substantial help. And, it would be much better to have the Clintons on the inside than the outside! But, I doubt if she would go with the loser!

    McCain is the only choice for Commander in Chief 08! 🙂

    August 20, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  20. Ely Dorsey

    If the poll of polls said that Obama was leading by say 12 points, I'd be worried not because I do not want Obama to win, I do, but because the distrust of Americans to anything new is well grounded. I do not know what the electorate is feeling right now. Neither does CNN nor any of the pollsters. Racism is still very strong in the country and there is no way that any pollster can track its effects on this presidential race. Clearly McCain is a very weak candidate so something must be propping him up. It has to be racism since he has nothing of substance to offer the population. Nothing. He is a phony.

    August 20, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  21. Ian

    In my entire life, I've never been called for my opinion on anything...and something tells me no one else has been called either. I honestly think media outlets just make it up as they go along to sell a story. It's like watching a blow-out in the Super Bowl. Everyone changes the channel when the games not close. CNN loses ad revenue when people aren't watching so they make up bogus claims of a tight race when the truth is they haven't called anyone.

    August 20, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  22. Obama = Carter the 2nd!!!

    It is so funny to see now that the polls are not going for Obama all his backers say they do not count. LMFAO!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 20, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  23. Marc PDX

    The Democrats picked the wrong candidate. The Clintons had experience with government and national security. Obama hasn't a clue. And this game is for real – not just some fantasy league presidency.

    August 20, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  24. Nick in Las Vegas

    I don't know anyone who will vote for Obama.... unless he chooses Hillary as a running mate. Then, I would at least be tempted to vote for her!

    August 20, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  25. brad in austin

    To all of the Obama supporters (which I may end up being), would you please stop all the "rah rah rah" and give me some facts, something to sink my teeth into? I don't seem to be getting it from the candidate and I WANT to like this guy. I can't get behind hype without some facts, and I don't seem to be reading or hearing anything other than a very very well spoken man who can motivate and inpsire people. That's good..don't get me wrong, but I really need to see some facts/platform that haven't gone to the middle since he became the prsesumptive nominee. I am really afraid that this election is going to end up in a mess and Sen. McCain will slip in through the cracks.

    August 20, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
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