September 9th, 2008
06:14 AM ET
12 years ago

CNN poll: Convention bounces cancel each other out

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="The presidential race remains close with just 57 days left until the election."]

(CNN) - Why is the presidential race dead even after both parties have had their conventions? In a nutshell, it's because the conventions have not changed the basic dynamic of the race.

Earlier: CNN poll shows race dead even

New numbers released by CNN Monday explain just how the presidential race remains so close with 57 days to go until voters weigh in at the polls: the conventions were so successful for both parties that that each essentially canceled the other out.

The candidates' favorable ratings are identical (60 percent) - and almost identical to what they were before the conventions began. The GOP convention made Republicans more enthusiastic (an increase of 17 points). But Democrats are more enthusiastic as well (up 14 points), so an 11 point "enthusiasm gap" favoring remains: 71 percent of Democrats say they are enthusiastic about the election, compared to 60 percent of Republicans.

The candidates' strengths and weaknesses on the issues also have not changed over the last month - Obama retains his edge on the economy and health care; McCain's advantage remains on Iraq and terrorism.

Full poll results [PDF]

In fact, the Iraq issue is instructive of just how effectively the conventions molded public opinion. Before the Democratic convention, McCain had a 9-point edge; after the Democratic convention it was a tie, and now McCain has a 14-point lead on Iraq.

But not every convention theme appears to have resonated - although the GOP convention portrayed McCain as a maverick reformer, more Americans see Obama as a "real reformer" (48-41 percent) and as someone who is "not a typical politician" (56-34 percent)

Who would Americans be prouder to have as president? That's a tie - 46 percent say Obama, 44 percent say McCain, despite the emphasis on McCain's war record at the GOP gathering in Minnesota. On the other hand, McCain may have managed to best Obama on values (49 percent say McCain is more likely to share their values compared to 45 percent for Obama; in mid-August Obama had a 4-point margin on that measure).

It appears McCain was able to gain some ground on "change," a theme that the Obama campaign has long called its own. But in the wake of McCain's pick of Washington outsider Sarah Palin, the Arizona senator has narrowed Obama's lead on that item from 18 points to 8.

CNN Polling Director Keating Holland says both party's conventions clearly had their desired effect.

"Although McCain's acceptance speech did not get the same rave reviews as Obama's speech, the two conventions appear to have had the same overall effect - 48 percent said that the GOP convention made them more likely to vote for McCain, 51 percent said the same about the Democratic convention and Obama," he said.

But even as polls tighten in McCain's favor, a slim majority (52 percent) of Americans still think Obama will win in November.

"We'll see if that number changes later this fall once the public sees the latest round of polls," Holland said.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (256 Responses)
  1. Amy from MI

    I'm voting Obama, and no one has ever polled me. My 73 year old mother is voting Obama, and she's never been called. Neither have my husband, my college-aged son and daughter, my sister, my 5 best friends-all supporters of Obama. The only polls that matter are the polls in Novemeber. Keep the faith Obama/Biden supporters!

    September 9, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  2. CarlosN

    "Anyone who believes the Republicans can fix the mess they created; also believes the iceberg could've saved the Titanic." — Hillary Clinton

    September 9, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  3. Johnboy

    Wrong! McCain is now ahead. You weren't afraid to post everytime Obama's lead went up a point or 2, why is iy different with McCain? Shameful.

    September 9, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  4. DeNel - Dallas, TX

    I don't care about her Jerry Springer family! Please don’t waste the America’s time on discussing T-Ball issues. Voters don’t care about her family. Healthcare, 2 Wars, Economy, Tax Cuts are the key issues we face today.

    I want to know if she is stonewalling "troopergate."
    I want to know what her policy views are in the middle east.
    I want to know if she believes using birth control pills constitutes abortion.
    I want to know her views on science- global warming/climate change,stem cell research, and evolution.
    I want to know the circumstances surrounding her attendance of 5 colleges in 6 years.
    I want to know if she supports unwanted children being adopted by gay citizens.
    I want to know her views about habeus corpus,wiretapping,and the Constitution.

    September 9, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  5. Olegringo, NM

    Obviously CNN was,is, and will be in the tank for Obama. Fair and balanced it is not.

    September 9, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  6. Bill From Florida

    The polls will come back in Obama's favor when everything comes out
    about Palin. Americans will find out she is not qualified to be VP
    pick. McCain made a big error in his choice. If he thought Palin
    could win over the Hillary voters, he was dead wrong.

    September 9, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  7. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    The headlines in the foreign newspapers after the 2004 election said it best.

    "Can Americans be that dumb?"

    And now, there's a chance that another ninny running on the same platform as the current failure is going to get elected?!

    To be sure, this is starting to come down to race, and shame on America for it! The GOP are already race-baiting here in San Antonio with egregious bumper stickers prtraying Obama in an awful, racist posture!

    September 9, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  8. Democracynow2008

    These Polls should be cancelled period they are meaningless .
    Its the Electorial College that counts not some Gallup Poll.
    CNN Stop getting Poll crazy look at the Electorial College as MsNbc has the last night.

    Thats what really counts and if you go by that Obama will win in November.

    All these Polling groups never polled me or my friends .

    Again the Polls can say whatever they want but the voters in November will change the outcome with Senator Barack Obama winning over McCain/Palin mark my words thats whats going down in November 08.

    September 9, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  9. Bill W

    I am a man, and I would never vote for Wacko Sarah Palin. Religious fundamentalism is what we're fighthing overseas from terrorist nations. We don't need to elect religious extremists here.

    September 9, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  10. greenfun

    Apparently Bo is having trouble with white women. I wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that the Democratic party went from taking wonen's votes for granted to showing outright contempt for them. Can I just say.......bad idea. I am really glad superdelegates did their job-not.
    It is so nice to see they can be bought off by money from Bo's pac, Pelosi's pac and New kind of politics?

    September 9, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  11. Debbie

    Its very telling who's the man that can't be touched in this race. Obama is attacking Palin, Biden is attacking Palin, the media is attacking Palin and the Dem heads are attacking Palin. I guess Mccain can't be touched. It seems that all are so prepare and willing to take on the woman in this race because they can't measure up to the man. What's fascinating for me is that the 'woman' is taking it all in strides and is prepare to prove that she can stand the heat. I feel bad for her but I'm beginnning to respect her more and more each day.

    September 9, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  12. Craig, Carrollton, TX

    I'm waiting for the video showing Palin speaking in tongues, not just of the forked variety because she already did that during the convention.

    September 9, 2008 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  13. The Nightingale Sings in Berkley Square

    I am shocked that Obama keeps whining. What a cry baby. He cries crocodile tears at a moment's notice. We want a man to be president not a cry baby. Oh whine whine whine Obama.

    He has a funny name and is a risk to America

    I support John McCain who will protect our country and our values

    September 9, 2008 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  14. carrolpearson

    the only change we will get from mccain is age the only change well get from palin is no exp.the real change is barack and joe

    September 9, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  15. linda from South Dakota

    im very saurprized mccains ahead must be cos of the bimbo,,,, we dont know much about her,, shes under investigation,, and men like her? come on men,, get a life,,,,, close your eyes and listen to the canidates,,, obamas plan is way better and do-able,,, mccain will be more of the same,, watch and see,, then its too late,,,,,, and aplin still is the bimbo she is now,,,,,

    September 9, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  16. LifeLongDemocrat

    Please...the republicans have engaged in shameless pandering to us Hillary supporters. If palin were a man would she have been selected to be a heartbeat away from the Presidency...NOT!!!

    I am worried about her lack of interest in following the constitution...she is against the separation of Church and state...we need to be vigilant that we can practice religion the way we want to not the way she wants us too. That's what it's all about folks!

    September 9, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  17. Bob Reynolds 10 Year Loyalty with CNN.Com

    Because McCain was supposedly behind in the polls prior to the conventions, I give the bounce to McCain, and here's why. Obama needs to remember that his party has the majority in Congress and the Senate where he is supossed to be sitting as a legislator, which has been a failure to get any thing done with the lowest approval ratings in years. Bush's ratings are just as bad, but he is not in this election, and Obama doesn't have bridges with Republicans. With his Maverick experience as a Senator and his long track history of coilition bulding, and with his lip stick wearing pit bull Governor Palin at his side, McCain and Palin are the change makers. Because Obama is too far to the left, I couldn't see Obama offering to hire any Republicans in his Cabnet and the American people would be stuck with a left wing inexperienced President.

    September 9, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  18. lisa

    Where is the media on this??!!!

    The media is letting McShame and Palin to get away with continual and outright LIES-

    Another article here asks, "Is it fair to raise questions about her experience"? Are you kidding me?!!!!!


    September 9, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  19. mark from NY

    the higher you go the harder you fall. in couple weeks john mccain will fall badly and it will the end of lies

    September 9, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |

    OBAMA, the big talker. Wake up America, he is a socialist. He needs to contest in Cuba or Venezuela. This great country cannot be represented by this man. He will take prosperity from those that have worked hard and become prosperous and distribute it to his fellow tribesmen. That is not fair. I worked hard after coming to the USA and I am working on my own prosperity. Obama is the wrong man for this country. He is connected to radicals and has radical views which he has tempered a little for the elections. Do not make a mistake and elect him.
    Indian American for McCain~Pailin.

    September 9, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  21. An observer on Aruba

    If you're a die hard republican and some one as Sarah Palin comes along, you have not much choice that accept her as is.

    Regardless if you're a democrat or a republican; What choices other than Obama or McCain do you have? Well, it's called "democracy" and that suppose to be a good thing.

    However, I find Sarah Palin a very high price to pay for being a die hard republican. I sincerely hope that I'm wrong, but I don't see a leader in Sarah. McCain suffers a chronically illness of tunnel vision. I think he's serious about leadership but there's more going on than merely some Middle East Butt Kicking. I even dare to say that he will do no better job than Bush (if not worse)

    Here comes along (in my opinion) a man with a vision and a strange name. A man that knows where he's going but all the beautiful things he promised comes with a price.

    Look at the conventions: Democrats are ready to go, ready to role up their sleeves. Republicans not so, they (at the convention) worry about their wallet, their comfort zone.

    I bet the republicans of less than 250mil per year feel the democratic magnet pulling. How many of the republicans can really govern themselves? Do you have the funds, the braincells or the talent to do so? Hmmm...

    I say: Go with Obama / Biden and be a part of "Change".

    September 9, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  22. Maggie VT

    I think we are giving too much credit, attention, and power to Sarah Palin. She obviously is not what she says she is and neither is John McCain. I understand people do not want to vote for the other party for obvious reasons. However, the more people talk about her, it gives her more power because that is what she is surviving on right now. The power we give her. Let's stop and concentrate on the issues that are destroying this country.

    September 9, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  23. Richi

    Two Women are controlling the presidential race now. Palin pushing Mccain up and Michelle pushing Obama down.

    September 9, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  24. 5


    He lies then says others our doing it.

    Support our troops
    Vote McCain

    September 9, 2008 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  25. alvino

    The polls continue to show support for McCain/Palin. Evidently Troopergate, Abuse of Powergate, Bridge to nowheregate, Alaska earmarkgate, Pastorgate, E-baygate, and Lobbyistgate are of no concern to the Republican Base. I personally think John McCain would even do much better with Paris Hilton as a running mate. (even Zell Miller would be of more help)

    September 9, 2008 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
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