September 30th, 2008
05:40 PM ET
14 years ago

CNN POLL OF POLLS: Debate 'changed nothing'


The first presidential debate did little to change the dynamics of the presidential race, new polls show. (Getty Images)

(CNN) - Nearly 60 million Americans tuned in to the first presidential debate between Barack Obama and John McCain last Friday, but national polls released this week suggest the square-off did little to change the dynamics of the race.

The new polls are bad news for McCain, who with only five weeks until Election Day is quickly running out of opportunities to shake up the race for the White House.

In a new CNN poll of polls consisting of surveys conducted entirely after the first presidential debate, Obama holds a 5-point lead over McCain, 48-43 percent. That's exactly where the race stood immediately before the two candidates kicked off the presidential debate season in Oxford, Mississippi, four days ago.

“The ruling on last Friday’s presidential debate is in, and it’s a split decision,” said CNN Senior Political Researcher Alan Silverleib. “The debate changed nothing. Obama’s supporters aren’t shifting to McCain, McCain’s supporters aren’t shifting to Obama, and undecided voters are still undecided.

But the poll numbers come even as surveys conducted by several media organizations immediately after the debate showed most viewers thought Obama had won. However the polls also showed the debate viewers appeared to be more Democratic than the overall population.  (Related: CNN analysts grade McCain, Obama debate performances)

"Unfortunately for McCain, a continuation of the status quo favors Obama," Silverleib also said. "The pressure is increasing on McCain to find some way to change the fundamental dynamics of this race. He can’t afford to walk away with a tie in the remaining debates.”

McCain and Obama next square off October 7 in a debate that features a town-hall format - a set up that McCain favors. VP candidates Sarah Palin and Joe Biden have their only debate on Thursday.

soundoff (251 Responses)
  1. reggie


    September 30, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  2. Patricia in Ohio

    Yeah for Obama!!!! McCain has just been caught in his lies. This is no laughing matter if McCain wins. We will be in worst shape than what we are now. He chose Palin thinking she would boost things for him but instead she made it worst. Like David Letterman said he needs to check his metamucil and if he is suspending things now by lying there is no telling what he will do in the White House. But we aren't going to let that happen because we are registering people here in Ohio in record numbers. The race isn't looking good for McCain either. Don't let him fool you.

    September 30, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  3. urbantexan

    I cannot wait to vote . I may spend the night at the polls just so I can place my vote first. I am sick of this crap. McNut and his pitbull are really scrapping the bottom of the barrel with their antics.

    September 30, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  4. Manny

    Obama is the next Kerry/Gore.

    September 30, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  5. Christine

    Wow, sounds like a bunch of moron's on this chat site. If you don't know how to read you shouldn't leave a comment, it says 48-43 point lead! It's stupid people like you that are flushing our country down the toilet! Oh, did you cash your welfare check yet or the one your parent's sent to pay your bills? Obama is bringing taxes on everybody and I for one can't afford it. I'm tired of paying for you ignorant, unemployed, spoiled, self-indulgent, uninformed losers!

    September 30, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  6. Meka

    NO, CHUCK:


    OBAMA/BIDEN '08-'12

    September 30, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  7. MD, TX

    Dear Sarah Bell,

    You must be an old crazy woman democrat.

    September 30, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  8. Diing

    Exactly Pk!

    September 30, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  9. David, Silver Spring, MD

    The foreign policy debate was supposed to be John McCain's big triumph over Obama.

    The fact that it wasn't gives Obama a big advantage moving into the upcoming debates.

    To use a sports analogy, it's like the two teams are tied one game each in the playoffs, but now the series moves from McCain's home court to Obama's.

    September 30, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  10. amanda

    If McCain would have used the brain in his head and picked a qualified running mate, he might have been able to pull this off, but his choice shows poor judgement and the American people see this. I am suprised Obama doesnt have more of a lead though.

    September 30, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  11. Brian

    On the campaign trail, Gov. Sarah Palin jokes about listening to Sen. Joe Biden's speeches since she was in second grade. In a just-released CBS News segment, Katie Couric asks if that isn't an odd thing to say given her own running mate's age.

    Said Palin: "Oh no, it's nothing negative at all. He's got a lot of experience and just stating the fact there, that we've been hearing his speeches for all these years. So he's got a tremendous amount of experience and, you know, I'm the new energy, the new face, the new ideas and he's got the experience based on many many years in the Senate and voters are gonna have a choice there of what it is that they want in these next four years."

    WOW! is all I can say. Thanks for proving Obama's case Gov. Palin.

    September 30, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  12. Lucy

    Everything is set up to favor the Republicans. They continue to think this time they can still win with snide, sneering, nasty, viscious attacks. Guess what?? It's not working this time. McGrandpa and McBushmeat killer ought to do what they do best and stop creating a mess for the new President Obama/VPBiden. I think they should do a cavity search on Moosemuncher before her debate with Biden to make sure no one is coaching her on a tiny microphone hidden away. Whaddaya think, would they do that?? You Betcha.

    September 30, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  13. MikeH

    About all that John can do is to have his spies at Obama's campaign immediately phone in every idea Obama comes up with so that John can call it his idea.

    The latest Rasmussen poll Obama-51, McCain-46

    Gallup has Obama – 49, McCain-43

    Zogby is clearly under Republican control, so I don't look at it.

    The other combo polls have about the same spread.

    It's Obama's to lose at this point, Palin is too much a joke to make any difference, and McCain keeps shooting himself in the foot.

    September 30, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  14. Scott

    Yikes...this country is really in a sad situation. From the economy to its choices of nominees for President and Vice President. We have Obama, a young 'celebrity senator' who has little or no track record...who has talked a good game, but hasn't proven a thing...and a running mate who likes to shoot off his mouth. On the other side, we have a older guy who has been around the block many, many times...appears to be in good health, but who knows...and a running mate who is as unproven as the guy running for President on the other ticket. Is the best we could come up with? It doesn't surprise me that the polls are this the end, as some of the 'experts' have stated, this will probably be decided by the undecided voter who goes to the poll not sure of who they will vote for until they go and hit the ballot – and decide to go with the guy who has experience.

    September 30, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  15. Sean Hannity

    John McCain is my hero. I love him so much. I pray that he is president so I don't have to lose my tv and radio shows. I can't get a real job. No one will hire me because I'm such a loser.

    September 30, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |

    I see my comment is still awaiting moderation.....let me ask, do you have to say something good about Democrats or Obama to actually have a comment posted. If so, its not right to make people lie. Free speech........ post my previous comment or you are just staling my god given right as an AMERICAN.

    September 30, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |

    I still hold out hope for MCCAIN. If you people would do the friggin' math you would see that all this economic blow up is centered around the politics of the 90's, which if you remember was a DEM President. John McCain came out 4 years ago and warned about Fannie & Freddie to no avail. HE IS A TRUE MAVERICK AND WILL BE A GREAT PRESIDENT if he just gets the chance. How anybody could vote against him is beyond me but I guess the "golden one" has you under a spell or something.

    September 30, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  18. Tom from Pittsburgh

    Analysist said before the debate that Obama needed to go into election day up by at least 8 points to guarantee against hidden racism. He appears to be in trouble given that yardstick.

    This race is far from over and the one who demonstrates leadership with respect to the financial crisis will win in my opinion. Right now they have both struck out!

    September 30, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  19. McCain - What an Old Fart

    McCain is just a silly old fart who thinks he knows what's going on. The only thing keeping him even an inch in the game right now is Washington itself. It WANTS him to be president, so they can all continue their little deregulated rat race. If it were up to me (and probably most of my fellow dems) obama would already be in oval office.

    September 30, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  20. carol

    John McCain comes across as a mean spirited, arrogant man who now needs to just go away......nobody has any respect for him with his less than "honorable" self.
    Even some Republicans can see him for what he really is now......that is a good thing......we need them to vote for Barack Obama.....a man with new vision who will take this country forward for all Americans.
    John McCain is of the old school and we now have a NEW TEACHER in town.....someone who who really cares for average American and not just the rich, fat cats!!!!
    November can't come quick enough for me, lets get rid of this useless Republican party and start the New Year with a fresh start and REAL LEADERSHIP with OBAMA./BIDEN 08.

    September 30, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  21. The beatings will continue until morale improves

    If the polls haven't changed, and Obama isn't CREAMING McCain by 15 points at this point (we're still within a three-point margin of error), then it's game over: McCain will win handily.

    September 30, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  22. dbacchus

    Tuesday, September 30
    National Gallup Tracking Obama 49, McCain 43 Obama +6
    National Rasmussen Tracking Obama 51, McCain 45 Obama +6
    National Hotline/FD Tracking Obama 47, McCain 41 Obama +6

    AND even the crazy biased "batteground" poll (created by Republicans when Mccain started to lose) shows today:

    National GW/Battleground Tracking Obama 48, McCain 46 Obama +2

    September 30, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  23. The Lady

    Sorry I did not know we were voting on the debate..

    September 30, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  24. MD, TX

    48 – 43 = 5.

    The fact that the Obamabots didn't read the article is representative of the reasons why Obama is leading in the polls. No one supporting this lunatic has bothered to read about him.

    September 30, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  25. Bald ex-warrior

    Anyone notice the realtime vote ratings on CNN? The debate may have been a tie, but i counted one or two negetive dips for Obama, yet McCain had fifteen to sixteen dips.

    I think McCain has soured his own grapes and has a long uphill battle on his hands. But don't count him out, if older voters go with him he could still win.

    Then again, it could be like any Congressional vote, the fence riders just sitting there until it looks like one or the other will win and then they fall that way.

    Here is hoping that Thursday night shows us the real VP canidates, not some airbrushed, rote memory, canned answers.

    September 30, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11