August 25th, 2008
05:00 PM ET
15 years ago

Schneider: Why is the race so close?

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Schneider breaks down the latest poll numbers."]DENVER (CNN) - Why is the race for the White House so close? A lot of Democrats here at the site of the Democratic convention are asking me that very question.

The race between Barack Obama and John McCain is a dead heat, according to our new CNN/Opinion Research poll. It’s the first national survey taken entirely after Obama’s public naming of Delaware Senator Joe Biden as his running mate.

Sure, there’s tension among Democrats. Thirty-seven percent of registered Democrats questioned in our survey would like to see the party nominate Senator Hillary Clinton. The senator from New York suspended her bid for the presidency and publicly backed Obama in June after the end of the primary season. Our poll shows more than a quarter of Clinton supporters voting for McCain.
But it’s not just the Democrats.

Watch: McCain plays the Clinton card

Republicans are also anything but the picture of unity.

Forty-two percent of Republicans would like to see their party nominate someone other than John McCain. One in five of those anti-McCain Republicans are voting for Barack Obama.
We've got bipartisan disunity! And a very disgruntled electorate.

More than two-thirds disapprove of President Bush. More than two-thirds think things are going badly in the country. Three-quarters of those surveyed say the economy's bad. Two-thirds oppose the war in Iraq.

Imagine what this race would look like if President Bush were running for re-election. Or if Dick Cheney were running to succeed him.

But they're not. McCain is. Same thing, Obama says.

"Unfortunately John McCain's policies borrowing a page from George Bush and Dick Cheney, essentially just more of the same,” says the senator from Illinois.

Not the same thing, McCain says.

"There are issues that I have agreed with the President on, and there are issues that I’ve disagreed on,” says the Senator from Arizona.

So which is it?

The voters are not sure. Half say McCain’s policies would be the same as Bush’s. Half say they would be different.

Suppose you think things are going badly in the country, but you think McCain's policies would be different from Bush's. What do you do?

You vote for McCain, more than 2 to 1.

And that's why the election is close.

All week, the spotlight will be on Obama.

But the most important thing Democrats can do here in Denver is convince voters that McCain means “Four More Years” of Bush.

The survey’s sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points for all voters. For registered Democrats, it is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points, and for Democrats who still support Clinton for the party's nomination, it is plus or minus 7.5 percentage points.

Filed under: Bill Schneider
soundoff (208 Responses)
  1. m.bain

    i think Americans need to admit the obvious this race is tight and has almost always been tight. Obama ,being a black man has a great wall ahead of him.It is always said that americans don't relly know Obama but how many americans really know alot about McCain but i think its easier for him to be accepted as a true american,a patriot because of his race.There is no question of McCain's values,why not this man has by his own addmission agreed with the countries least popular president ever! but his values are okay. I just think America would better off this political season if they just admit that the're not comfortable with an african american holding such a high office

    August 25, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  2. The true minority

    ""Latinos for Obama/Biden August 25th, 2008 5:49 pm ET

    Part of the problem is that there are still many racists and bigots in the good old US of A. I know people do not like to hear this but it is true. As a person of color (Latino) I encounter racism all the time. If anything Obama is to be commended for his desire to become President of this great country. I truly believe Obama will win. WHY? Because I think America is smarter this time around.""

    And as a white male I see reverse racism constantly towards myself and other white people who have done nothing to warrant it. However, that is ok in society today because miniorities have more rights and they would never be called racist.

    Next time you sit there and consider all white people racists you might want to stop and see what your fellow miniorites are saying all the time. You'll be surprised to find out that miniorities are far more racist than white people AND they can get away with it. But if a white person utters one comment that could be "taken" as racist they are forever shunned.

    Hypocrasy is amazing isn't it?

    August 25, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  3. Judy

    The only negative comments you allow to be posted are the rediculous ones. Any serious examination you don't post. You are obviously using this blog as a tool to get Obama elected! Whoever you are that is censoring comments, I want you to know that your partisanship is not only silencing my voice, but losing my vote.

    August 25, 2008 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  4. katiec

    One of the main reasons is the media/AP is totally behind
    Mccain. They overlook, cover up all his lies, distortion and
    his fraud.
    Every statement made about Obama starts with a negative.
    They don't even have the decency to expose Mccain on
    the so called religious debate.
    The media is as bad, if not worse than the republicans.
    You should be able to but cannot expect the truth or
    fairness from either.

    August 25, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  5. jimmy



    August 25, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  6. Will the People Ever Learn...

    It's only close now because of short-term ill will over the perceived sniubbing of Ms. Clinton. Seriously, though, what is all this talk about lack of experience?? Isn't that the point? McCain has decades of experience – experience with the failed "We are the greatest country in the world and we'll do whatever the heck we want" bravado and terrible domestic policies that got us into this mess in the first place. It boggles my mind that so many people in this country can wave their American flags and extoll the virtues of the Republican party at the same time they're standing in the unemployment line and having their kids sent back from Iraq in body bags. I'll take a person with the intelligence and common sense to make the right decision over the one with more experience any day of the week.

    August 25, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  7. Robert in Seattle

    Why is it a close race? Because that's what the media companies want you to believe! Close race = Big ratings! If the truth was told, with Barack Obama leading John McCain by 10-15 points, then there would be no news interest, and no news to report. No big advertising dollars. This is too easy, just follow the money!

    August 25, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  8. Sean

    Those that won't vote for Obama because you support Hillary obviously are supporting Hillary because she is A) a woman or B) he's black. They carry the same message for the Democratic Party, so support the party. It is shameful that you would choose a Republican out of Spite unless you believe in his ideals! But if you were voting for Clinton in the first don't support McCain's ideals!! Open your eyes and make a difference to the future of the country not the future of one senator.

    August 25, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
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