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. brad in austin

    John B... not quite true. Obama was ahead in several polls like in Texas and didn't quite pull it off they way they expected. Ohio? PA? Polls are generally accurate, but only as accurate as the person polled wants it to be. Ever hear of lying to a pollster? It's been done to skew the numbers. We're not all "cattle" that can't think on their own!

    August 20, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  2. dano65

    When examing the qualities of a Presidential candidate I will take EXPERIENCE+STRAIGHT TALK+COURAGE vs. HOPE+CHANGE+CHARISMA any day of the week. Anyway, doesn't REAL CHANGE come from within?

    August 20, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  3. Voter

    The poll is Nov 4. Let's talk on Nov. 5.

    August 20, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  4. rbt

    Thius is funny. Not once in the past 3 months has CNN or any other MSM news media outlet refferred to an Obama lead int he polls as "comfortable" Now, they are trying to telll us it was comfortabele to try and make a compelling story that he has dropped drastically. WWE ARE BEING MANIPULATED!

    August 20, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  5. Truth be known

    No... it is due to his arrogance, going on his excellent European adventure that reminds one of Hitler and his crowds, the continued vitriol coming from his so-called supporters against EVERY American who prefers a different candidate.

    Hate does not unite.

    Boastful strutting and self-promotion does not inspire.

    Insults do not convince and persuade voters to your side.

    Ignorance is not bliss.

    Cheating and stealing a nomination does not succeed.

    August 20, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  6. mileshigh

    It was those effective ads during the Olympics with the Orwelian lines "Not ready to lead" and "economic disaster." And looks like the offshore drilling scheme worked. (Where's the debate this week as Hurricane Fay slams into Florida?)

    In the long run, this comes down to which party base is fired up. Only time will tell come November

    August 20, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  7. Bobby, Triangle, VA

    I took a poll with other people in the inner cities around the United States and according to our polls Obama is ahead 63% to 31% for McCain. We talked to 2453 people across America! how come CNN's poll do not show this? I tell you why, they call people is swing states where the majority of the people are white. There is nothing wrong with asking white poeple who they are voting for, my problem with CNN polls is it is not based on equally amount of people from suburbs, inner cities, whites, blacks, hispanics, jews, etc....

    CNN the americans are not stupid!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1111111

    August 20, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  8. Tracy

    The public has finally seen through Obama's smoke and mirrors.It usually takes at least until October but his careening from one position to another has been so amatuerish that it came faster in his case.The fact that Putin is now acting up hasn't helped him either.We saw last week in Georgia how the Russians deal with talkers.Sorry CNN but its over

    August 20, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  9. c-span junkie

    HEY Obama, Mr brilliance, Mr Smooth, Yeah YOU!!! stop listening to your bloggers, Hear the PUMA's Its Hillary or write another book on "How I lost the White House to a Slug name McCain"

    We are the mainstream Mr O. and there are tens of millions of common sence voters that don't care about all the CRAP they are feeding you, unless you infact feel that way to cause I remember the brush off the Hillary speech but I'm willing to getover it if you can. ERGO, for the Dem. win HILLARY or we wait till 2012 !!!!

    August 20, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  10. Dave

    how can they poll people in the hood, they dont have phones! But they do have ipods, gold chains and fridge full of food, courtesy of Uncle Sam welfare!

    August 20, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  11. Karina

    That big air bubble and a yet to be scrutinized money machine which has been keeping Obama and his campaign afloat is finally going to burst.
    Obama has been exposed as lacking core values and principles , hence his constant change of stand on issues.
    He has not been vetted enough and America can't afford a leader who needs training wheels .

    August 20, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  12. Derek

    As a lifelong Democrat I am not excited about Obama either... he is just too inexperienced. At least if McCain wins we can have Hillary in 2012; the Dems missed their chance this year by not nominating her in the first place.

    August 20, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  13. Sandy

    I don't know, um, maybe, er, it's the way, uh, he um, speaks when it's ah, not um, orchestrated. So much for the great orator!

    August 20, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  14. kathleen

    Our country will become obsolete if the Republicans keep running it
    and our jobs into the ground. They are rich enough to live in Dubai.
    like the Clinton's. Hillary and Bill have probably already received hillary's losses from her campaign from Dubai and Columbia

    August 20, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  15. LGriff



    OBAMA 08-12

    August 20, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  16. RuplicanforObama

    Does anyone realize the nationwide poling means they called just about 1000 (usually less) people in 50 states (sometimes not all states). Its funny when polls go against people they hate it, but when it goes for them they love it. The FACT is that poll are not and never will be true. When polls said Obama would beat Hillary, he lost, when they said Hillary would beat him, he won. Don't trust polls. Who came up with his concept anyway? I mean they only poll so many people (max 1000) then on top of that they always have a plus and minus margin of error. Completely dumb. Anyhow I'm a registered Republican voting for Obama

    Obama '08

    August 20, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  17. jack@yahoo.comm

    Every real Democrat knew that Republicans were voting for Obama in the primary. Know that Mrs. Clinton is out they are showing their true colors. In the last two days I have spoken to 6 Democrats who say that if Clinton is not in they will vote for McCain.

    August 20, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  18. RH

    I haven't had a landline telephone in seven years. Just saying.

    August 20, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  19. Nancy

    Well, if you want the situation in Georgia and Russia to turn into WW111, Vote for McCain. CNN, i live in a largely populated area and 95% of the lawn signs read " Barack Obama". so who the heck are you polling? You will not change the minds of the intelligent voters who can see through your "fair reporting" for what it is. Nice try though. What's next.?

    August 20, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  20. ALLAN USA.

    No obama. No obama. No HRC - NO OBAMA.

    August 20, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  21. henry of cleveland

    like people really care what jimmy carter did that was 30 years ago for goodness sakes obama dont worry thats just 15 minutes of fame for mcain obama will have they lead again before we know it

    August 20, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  22. Franky

    Do you know what will be the most unfortunate thing?? If another war wouldv'e broken out, I would guarantee you the Dems have no chance. Is not because of my boy or because he ain't ready but because I know how the this works. People will sacrifice themselves for something they feel they can't protect. I'm sorry to say but if this were to happen, say to the Dems chances goodbye...

    If our country can get any lower, what makes you think we can can get any higher??

    Don't you love fate?? I do...

    August 20, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  23. gl

    McCain will be out on vacation next week during the democratic convention and polls will likely shift in Obama's favor. The GOP convention will likely give McCain a boost.

    I think McShame is going to try in go negative during the democratic convention becasue he won't be getting any attention. Sad, but watch and see. The media better not cover McShame if he go negative durint the democractic convention. I am tried of all McShame negative ads. Obama have to start hitting back and be presite on his message.

    August 20, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  24. Trent TM

    CNN's Poll of Polls, and other national and state polls, are simply not reaching the 2008 electorate. In the past, surveys of likely voters have managed to predict election outcomes. However, the newly-registered and irregular voters of 2008 are not factored in to these polls. In a season when THE UNLIKELY VOTER may decide the outome in November, traditional polls of likely, repeat voters are of limited use. WHY NOT A POLL OF NEWLY REGISTERED VOTERS?

    August 20, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  25. theo

    Who cares what the wolves,Lous, coopers,crowleys and the campbells says, They are all losers .

    August 20, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
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