September 10th, 2008
04:08 PM ET
9 years ago

CNN battleground polls: Race a dead heat in key states

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Sen. Obama campaigned in Virginia Wednesday."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - New state polls indicate that the race for the White House remains a dead heat in four crucial battleground states that could determine the outcome of the election.

CNN/Time Magazine/Opinion Research Corporation polls for Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire and Virginia out Wednesday suggest the race between Senators Barack Obama and John McCain is statistically tied.

The survey has Illinois Senator Barack Obama up 4 points, 49 percent to 45 percent, in Michigan and ahead by 6 points, 51 percent to 45 percent, in New Hampshire. Both states voted for Democrat John Kerry in the last presidential election.

The poll has Arizona Senator McCain up 5 points in Missouri, 50 percent to 45 percent, and leading by 4 points in Virginia, 50 percent to 46 percent. President Bush kept both states in the Republican column four years ago.

Virginia hasn't voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since Lyndon Johnson took the state 44 years ago. But Obama is working hard to try and turn the red state blue: He's made numerous campaign stops there, including events Tuesday and Wednesday this week.

"The geographic patterns in Virginia are pretty much the same as in 2004, with one exception: In the area around Norfolk, Hampton Roads and Virginia Beach - a region John Kerry lost by four points - Obama appears to have a 13-point advantage. That's surprising for an area with several naval bases, and the headquarters of Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network. “Obama's getting about the same support in Northern Virginia that Kerry did four years ago,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “But that wasn't enough to turn that state blue in 2004, and it's not enough in 2008. Obama needs to do better in Northern Virginia if he hopes to carry the state."

Michigan has voted for Democratic presidential candidates in the past four elections, but it's a state that McCain hopes to turn red this time around. McCain and his running mate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, campaigned in the state on Friday.

“Something may be happening in Michigan,” adds Holland. “Oakland and Macomb counties, the Detroit suburbs that were the home of the Reagan Democrats, went for Bush in 2004 by a combined total of just one percentage point. But today McCain has an 18-point lead over Obama.

“So where is Obama making up the ground he is losing in the Detroit suburbs? In the southwestern part of the state, Obama currently has a 9-point edge, even though that area gave Bush a 19-point margin four years ago," he says.

While the overall political climate appears to benefit the Democrats in 2008 - thanks to an unpopular Republican president, an unpopular war in Iraq, and an ailing economy - the race for the White House remains tight, both in national polls and state polls.

"All four states are voting the same way they voted in 2004, although all are close and the Democratic ticket is doing slightly better in each,” says CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider. “It's as if very little has changed in four years. In all four states, partisans are lining up solidly with their party Independents are the key swing group. Independents are voting for Obama in New Hampshire and Michigan and for McCain in Missouri and Virginia."

The CNN Electoral Map suggests that if the presidential election were held today, Obama would win 243 electoral votes to McCain's 189, with 106 electoral votes still up for grabs (270 electoral votes are needed to win the White House). CNN's Electoral College estimate is based on several factors, including the most recent state polls, voting trends and campaign advertising spending.

The CNN/Time Magazine/Opinion Research Corporation polls were conducted Sunday through Tuesday, with 966 registered voters in Michigan, 940 registered voters in Missouri, 899 registered voters in New Hampshire, and 920 registered voters in Virginia questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points in Michigan, Missouri and New Hampshire and 3.5 percentage points in New Hampshire.

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soundoff (193 Responses)
  1. Doug

    Once the "Palin" bounce has subsided, we'll see where it is at that point. Coming out of the Dem Convention, Obama was more ahead than he had been prior, and after the Rep Convention, McCain can only manage a tie.

    I think that once people realize that candidates are not what they seem and they get to hear what the candidates say on the important issues, there will be a separation again.

    Plus, polls don't yet reflect any of the young 18-21 year-olds who have never voted before and are doing so for the first time.
    In other words, too much has to flesh out.

    September 10, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  2. eric

    Anonymous, proving your insanity is not smartening up. Its showing conservatives will vote against a black man and for the same failed things over and over regardless of whether they get a different result or not. Obama didn't refer to Palin when he made his lipstick comment. To have called Palin a pig with lipstick would have been demeaning to the integrity and intelligence of pigs.

    September 10, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  3. Ishootwolvesfromaplane

    And I cut off their left paws too – how nice.

    September 10, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  4. Susan


    Scares me. Feels to sad to say but I might move to Canada or even UK.

    September 10, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  5. Sarah Bell

    I'm sick of all this. Obama tries day after day to get the media and America to focus on the issues. IMPORTANT ISSUES! McCain spends each day talking about his tickets biography and making up lies and repeating those lies over and over like doing so will make them truths. Look what's happening folks, they're doing it again. All over. 2000 and 2004 = 2008. Problem-McCain. Solution- Obama.

    September 10, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  6. Moon Maiden from Lake Michigan

    are we really going to adhere to the electoral votes this time.
    if we do then its obama/biden

    September 10, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  7. LS

    Anonymous – your an idiot if you think people standing on the other side of 'your' line are going to cross-over and vote for the dumbest people walking this earth – McCain and Palin.

    It isn't going to happen. Actually, people who were previously supporting McCain have crossed over on our side. They have realized that there is no justice when supporting the unjust.

    September 10, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  8. Thomas Jefferson

    Actually, McCain and Palin are counting on people to be stupid.

    How can you vote for 8 years of the same??? Either you are stupid or racist.

    September 10, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  9. Wake Up America

    Don't be fooled by McCain/Palin (men stop voting with your penis – women use your brains). They offer 4 more years of the same crap.

    September 10, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |

    Matt Damon is right. This woman Padin is terrifying.
    Bush and crew say movie stars don't count. YES THEY

    Palin, the Reps. brought in their own "Movie Star and Americans
    are falling for it!

    Obama Biden or we are screwed.

    September 10, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  11. Ex-Republican for Obama

    Palin as President (because McCain is likely to die in his first term) is terrifying.

    Russia invades Georgia, Palin's response:

    Hide and call them names on camera with out directly speaking to the people, nor for that matter really mentioning the subject. Just say "Dogs can wear, uhhhm (referring to cue card) get out of mean people who are not forcing your kids to have babies like I am...I am a hockey mom...hear me be mean...oh, don't say mean things about me...whaaa, cry, whaaa...hey, I'm mean..stop being mean to me...sob, sob, sulk"

    September 10, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  12. John - Coralville, IA

    Here's a guy that wants to belittle and discriminate against Sarah Palin based on sex and discriminate against John McCain based on age. I hope Matt keeps blabbing away as he is doing a great job pushing folks further away from the left. Keep up the strong work Matt (conservatives love you)!!

    September 10, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  13. KenB, MI

    Obama-Biden will need to continue the campaign on the ground and in the media...just keep going

    one extra note...matt damon for the role of capt. kirk in any continuing trek movies after the 09 release.

    September 10, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  14. Sick and Tired

    McCain and Palin are seriously dividing this nation. That is not change; it's the same.. There are many Americans are Ignoring the big elephant in the room (wearing lipstick and a POW pin). This election comes down to race as much as I don't want to admit it. Anyone in the right frame of mind would see right through what the republicans are doing. Well... Then again, a racist is not in the right frame of mind, so what do you expect! A woman from Ohio said it herself this morning on CNN....

    CNN won't post this because they too are trying to avoid and ignore the elephant in the room (yes, with lipstick and a POW pin).

    September 10, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  15. Not a fan of the 'Cuda

    If the margin of error is big enough that 5 or 6 points is a statistical tie, then essentially all the numbers in this race that could matter are garbage.

    The key question is still whether the huge numbers of registered people who didn't vote in 2000 or 04 and the big numbers of new voters Dems racked up in the primaries get insipired to actually vote on Nov. 4. Not only would that be good for us as a country, it likely would mean a Democratic victory. If we have another low turnout general election, the GOP could take it.

    September 10, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  16. Tammy - KCMO

    I live in Missouri and it's amazing to me that people would be stupid enough to put another Republican in office again. When will America wake up from this stupor they're in and vote on issues instead of personality?

    September 10, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    Smarten up, how can we? People will smarten up when the media starts manning up and showing the dirty politics being used. Seriously, an ad comes out which completely misconstrues other peoples' work and opinions but yet CNN has not made mention of it. The ad has been denounced by itself as falsifying the statements made by both and the Wall Street Journal OPINION article.

    People have not smartened up at all, they are being left in the dark.

    September 10, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |

    CNN, Please stop you negative reporting on Obama.

    September 10, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  19. Undecided leaning toward Mccain


    NO barak HUSSEIN obama.

    HILLARY 2012!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 10, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |


    September 10, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  21. Casual Observer

    Attention: Everyone Who Voted Bush/Cheney Like Me

    I will vote Obama in November. Eight sorry years already proved I was so wrong and it was a dumb vote. I repent. I will only make things worse by voting McAttack and "Pitbull" Palin.

    Obama/Biden '08!!!

    September 10, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  22. inuk of the north

    It's soooooooo close that Nader guy could be a REAL factor.

    Who knew?

    September 10, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  23. Mrs.L

    Phil Thompson

    Obama 243 Mc Cain 189

    You Repugs no how to slant everything dont you?????/

    Get it right!!!!
    Not this time, Not this time!!!!

    September 10, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  24. Ruby, Kansas

    Hey Anonymous! America is smart! That's why it's going to be Obama/Biden. Get used to saying it baby!!!

    September 10, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  25. Jim

    The race will be close because McCain has chosen to stoke cultural fires and divisions, similiar to Richard Nixon in 1968 (who chose Spiro Agnew for that very purpose).

    McCain and Nixon use the exact same slogans about their respective foolish wars: "victory," "honor" and "Democrats are defeatist traitors."

    My slogan is the GOP one of 1940: "NO THIRD TERM!"

    Franklin Roosevelt deserved a 3rd term. The Bush/Cheney/McCain/Palin policies (e.g. a $400 bilion deficit) do not deserve it.

    September 10, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
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