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. Turning Florida Blue

    Palin mania will soon blow over. A lady was asked in Missouri why is she supporting Palin ? Her answer she is exciting !! come on lady exciting what about her views on the economy or education or anything...exciting was all you can come up with you people are really out of touch.. exciting! hahahahaha exciting!

    September 10, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  2. BV

    It's Obama all the way for me. Palin is not ready to step in as President of the US. It's incredible to me that anyone could even possibly think this. This high that the Repubs are on just shows me why this country is in the mess that it is. Repubs hear her give one speech and suddenly she's the one. ONE FREAKING SPEECH. This is like kids hero worship. You're all acting like little children. Can any of you think? Really use your brains? This is for real, kids. This is not a game.

    September 10, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  3. Dan Rogers

    Smarten up? By voting for someone who is in his 70s and whose VP is someone who was the governor of ALASKA (pop about 700,000) and before that was mayor of a town of 9,000!?

    September 10, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  4. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    The truth shall set us free from the tirany we have all suffered under the Republican administration. No way, No how, No John McCain and Palin. The situation in the Mideast is a total disaster and the military are calling it that and believe diplomacy is the only way out. That should sound very familiar because Obama has been telling us that all alone. They are also saying we can't kill our way to Victory as John McCain says victory must be won. McCain will not live out his plan to victory and Palin will continue the destruction. WAKE UP AMERICA, THIS AIN'T NO JOKE OUR LIVES ARE LOOKING AT.

    September 10, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |

    G O V E R N O R---P A L I N-–T H O R N--I N--O B A M A ' S--

    L I P S

    September 10, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  6. JP

    I live in VA, and I have been seeing attack ads by McCain/Palin that contain outright lies about Obama. Republicans are trying to distract us from the fact that they are not talking about the issues. If McCain and Palin's behavior is supposed to be an example of small town family values, then I have to say...THANKS...BUT NO THANKS!

    September 10, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  7. ST

    This is going to be interesting. I just hope Obama wins. If McCain/Palin gets in, we're in trouble.

    September 10, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  8. Phoenix

    It's so amazing to me how everyone keeps talking about how ridiculous liberals are but yet conservatives are always trying to be like liberals. The liberals had their rock star, now the conservatives have theirs. The liberals had feminism, now the conservatives feel that they have adopted their own brand of feminism. What a bunch of copycats. Oh yea, and stealing Obama's idea of change...that's another way that McCain wants to be like liberals. Oh, that's right, he is a liberal running in conservative clothing.

    September 10, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  9. rightsaid

    The McCain campaign is systematically lying here in Virginia. Over and over and over again. Go to and look up the truth about Obama's tax plan. The McCain ads flat out lie.

    Don't let them make fools of you, and check it out for yourselves.

    We do not need more of the same. Obama and Biden have good ideas and great integrity.

    Obama-Biden '08!

    September 10, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  10. Carla

    Even Ron Paul won't support his own party. A vote for an Independent is a vote not given to McPalin, which they need to win. Go Obama!!!

    September 10, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  11. Hill's / for McCain

    We are working on changing that!

    September 10, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  12. Sarah

    Yes I wear Lipstick but I am not a Pig. I am a Pit Bull, and and um a Barracuda, and neat stuff like that. Huh Grand Pa ?

    September 10, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  13. Rick

    Obama paints himself as Mr. Refreshing and innocent. Guess what, he's not. He has a record in the pit bull politics of Chicago of using every trick in the books to keep people off the ballot so he could win. Another interpretation – he used every tactic possible to deny voters an alternative to him.

    Guess what, he chose the lipstick line deliberately as a double entendre swipe at Palin. He's far too intellgent to not know of the implications given Palin's acceptence speech. What is phony is his "who me" reaction when he's called out by the McCain campaign.

    Despite the fact that a Dem presidential candidate should win by 20 points given the current public mood, people are seeing through this phony. He can be as mean spirited as any politician when he needs to be.

    September 10, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  14. Texas Sam

    Republicans are Racist...they dont want blacks in power at all! Look at the RNC, there were no people of color! wake up America, The Democratic Party is the only REAL AMERICAN party because they represent a cross section.

    September 10, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  15. karen-phoenix

    Obama/Biden are the ONLY hope this country has of succeeding in the future. McCain wants to privatize (for profit) everything he can get his greedy little hands on including the VA, Education and they will all fail just as Fani and Freddi did and McCain failed miserably and he should have gone to jail with his connections to the Keating 5–thousand lost everything they had for retirement and McCain got richer!!!!! McCain is alll for the rich and NOTHING for America!!!

    September 10, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  16. Don

    This is good stuff, CNN. Perhaps more stuff like this and less free publicity for McCain's swiftboat ads. Seriously, he should have to pay for every one of them, not get free airtime by having you replay them for him.

    As for the electoral votes, I'd certainly rather be in Obama's shoes, only needing 1/3 of the toss up votes to win the election. New Hampshire, Michigan, Colorado, New Mexico and Pennsylvania are all leaning for Obama, and that's enough to win him the Presidency. I hope more states (Virginia, Ohio, Florida) wake up and give him a landslide.

    September 10, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  17. fella from Chicago

    The major polls now have McCain up in Ohio by as much as 5 points and down in Pennslyvania by only 2 points and closing. If the current trend continues and McCain keeps Virginia and wins Florida, he'll win in November.


    September 10, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  18. Lynne


    September 10, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  19. Tony

    Virginia has been leaning more and more blue. That's because the education here keeps getting better and better.

    September 10, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  20. Nate Hussein


    Obama/Biden '08
    Clinton/Sebelius '16

    September 10, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    McCain..90% agreement with Bush
    McCain/Bush = 28% approval rating
    McCain shares the agreement & the approval rating.
    It's Really Obama against McCain/Bush
    You can't tell the 2 apart!
    I don't trust the polls for accuracy.
    People can't forget these last 8 years.

    September 10, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  22. Annette Ivey

    Obama 280 McCain 260

    September 10, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  23. DB

    Yes, it is tight now because people have not paid enought attention yet.

    I believe that Virginians (whom I respect as a fellow citizen) wake up and smell the coffee.

    It is amazing that McCain and Palin are even being considered for the most important job in the world. I run a small business and I will not hire them for my small company. McCain has ideas/slogans/repeating/incoherent statements which shows he does not "get it". (Now, McCain says he and Jack Bauer from "24" have lots in common. He should be packed home so that he can watch 24 hours of "24"). Palin has no credentials. Everything she has done can be done by lots of americans. Nothing special.

    September 10, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  24. Chuck

    All Obama needs is Michigan, New hampshire and Colorado. That puts him at 273. It's over. And that is without winning any of the other batteground States as Virgina, Ohio, Florida, Nevada, Missouri, etc.

    September 10, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  25. Jann, Denver CO

    Blacks will turn out in all States in record numbers. I very much doubt that these voters are being polled. The polls don't reach young people with cell phones either and this is another group that will show up in record numbers.

    I don't believe that this race is as close as the polls show them to be because of these two factors. Obama will win by a sizable margin in November.

    September 10, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
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