October 1st, 2008
04:08 PM ET
12 years ago

CNN Polls: Major gains for Obama in battleground states

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/10/01/battleground.polls/art.obama.gi.jpg caption="Obama is up in new CNN polls."]ST. LOUIS, Missouri (CNN) - New polls in five crucial battleground states that could decide the race for the White House suggest Barack Obama is making some major gains.

CNN/Time Magazine/Opinion Research Corporation polls released Wednesday afternoon of likely voters in Florida, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada and Virginia suggest a shift towards the Democratic presidential nominee.

In Florida, the state that decided it all in the 2000 presidential election, 51 percent of likely voters say Obama is their choice for president, with 47 percent backing Republican presidential nominee John McCain. The last CNN poll taken in Florida showed the race for the state's 27 electoral votes all tied at 48 percent apiece, among registered voters. A new CNN Poll of Polls in Florida, also out Wednesday afternoon, has Obama over McCain by 5 points. The CNN Poll of Polls is an average of the new CNN poll and other new state polls.

"The campaign season is like the hurricane season. Florida lies directly in its path. Hurricane Obama hit Florida, and Hurricane McCain. Tropical Storms Biden and Palin made landfall in the Sunshine State. The impact? Over the last two weeks, Barack Obama has been gaining support in Florida," says CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider.

Obama's also making gains over McCain in Minnesota, the state where the Republican convention was held a month ago. Fifty-four percent of those questioned are backing Obama, with 43 percent supporting McCain. That 11 point lead is much larger than the small two point advantage Obama had in the last CNN poll taken in Minnesota, one month ago.

It's a similar story in Missouri, where 49 percent of those polled are backing Obama and 48 percent supporting McCain. That's a gain for Obama, who was down five points to McCain in our last poll in Missouri, taken three weeks ago. Thursday's night's Vice Presidential debate is being held in St. Louis, Missouri. The only other new poll in Missouri, a Research 2000 survey, indicates McCain ahead by one point.

The poll also indicates Obama has a four point lead over McCain in Nevada, 51 percent to 47 percent. CNN's last survey in Nevada, taken in late August, had McCain up slightly. A new American Research Group poll in Nevada puts McCain ahead by two points.

In Virginia, a state that hasn't voted for the Democrats in a presidential contest since 1964, the new poll suggests Obama has a nine point lead, 53 percent to 44 percent. The last CNN survey in Virginia, taken in mid September, had McCain up by four points. But it's a slightly different story in American Research Group's new survey in Virginia, which indicates McCann has a three point lead.

What's behind this shift for Obama?

"Obama has gained ground among moderates in all five states," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "That may have something to do with the first presidential debate. Some commentators knocked Obama for agreeing with McCain as often as he did, but moderates tend to like it when candidates appear willing to see the other side's point of view.

"In most states, Obama also won support from senior citizens and voters making more than $75,000. Those are two groups who may have been hardest-hit by the recent problems in the stock market and the financial community. Economic jitters may not last if Congress passes legislation in the next few days, but there may have been short-term gains for Obama as a result of the current economic problems," added Holland.

When factored in, the new CNN/Time Magazine/Opinion Research Corporation polls are behind a shift in the CNN Electoral College Map. CNN is moving Minnesota, and its 10 electoral votes, from toss up to lean Obama. Missouri, with 11 electoral votes up for grabs, is shifting from lean McCain to toss up. With those moves, CNN estimates that if the presidential election were held today, Obama would win states with 250 electoral votes and McCain states with 189 electoral votes, with 99 electoral votes in states still up for grabs. Two-hundred and seventy electoral votes are needed to win the White House. Obama has a 61 electoral vote advantage over McCain, up from a 40 point lead in our previous electoral map.

The poll also expanded to include three third party candidates, Independent Ralph Nader, Libertarian candidate Bob Barr and Green Party candidate Cynthia McKinney. Except for a 3 percent showing by Nader in Florida and a 4 percent showing by Nader in Nevada, no one registered more than two percent in any survey.

The CNN/Time Magazine/Opinion Research Corporation polls were conducted September 28-30, with 940 registered voters and 770 likely votes in Florida, 929 registered voters and 849 likely voters in Minnesota, 951 registered voters and 744 likely voters in Missouri, 924 registered voters and 684 likely voters in Nevada, and 925 registered voters and 684 likely voters in Virginia all questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points in Florida, Minnesota and Missouri, and 4 percentage points in Nevada and Virginia.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • CNN Polls • Florida • John McCain • Minnesota • Missouri • Nevada • Virginia
soundoff (276 Responses)
  1. Jim Schimmer

    McSame will destroy our economy. We will become a third world country!

    I am an independent who is now for Obama!

    October 1, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  2. Bruce

    the only poll that matters is the one on 11/4
    get out and vote, if you have to wait in line...do it

    October 1, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  3. Peggy McElroy

    Ms Ifill should withdraw herself as moderator of the VP debate. She has a financial interest in the presidential election outcome and it puts her in the position of an unquestionable conflict of interest. Her bias will be in question – and should be! She has shown in the convention coverage that she cannot objectively report on Palin. So, with the added incentive of monetary reward, it is already obvious that she will abuse the position of moderator. By definition, she cannot be unbiased.

    October 1, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  4. Cam

    Wow, if the CNN electoral map were to hold up, Ohio or Florida would be all Obama would need. Thats a big uphill battle for McCain.

    October 1, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |

    Of Course What else did you expect? And might I caution you that the polls are "Modest" and Obama is REALLY leading by DOUBLE DIGITS.

    October 1, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  6. RobinH


    October 1, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  7. Mike

    After watching the debate the other day, I want Hillary back!

    October 1, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  8. Jenny

    Everyone knows CNN is pro-Obama!

    CNN–pls give me a break and shut up!

    October 1, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  9. Dr. Proctor, PHD

    Even if Senator Obama loses(not likely), I will not blame it on race,
    because I am so proud of the way that whites and blacks and all races
    have rallied for the good of the country. I have not seen this type of
    unity in all of my years. And it feels good. I am so proud of Americans of this generation. Let's make this a reality by actually voting in record numbers. God bless Senator Obama and the country.

    Yes We Can!!!! Democrats 08.

    October 1, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  10. Chris, Antioch, CA

    I'm smiling from ear to ear.

    Obama / Biden 08 and 12

    October 1, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  11. McCain Invented the BlackBerry, Palin Invented the Manure Spreader

    North Carolina should be in the toss-up category as well. All of the most recent polls there show it a dead-heat, with Obama slightly ahead.

    I think its safe to say also that Colorado and Wisconsin are leaning Obama.

    October 1, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  12. Helene

    These are welcome news. It shows that American people do not want 8 more years of Bush's atrocious policies. McCain and Palin are more of the same, even worse.

    October 1, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  13. Griff

    And I will still win CNN... Remember this October.... I will win the Bet...
    No I didn't make one. It's too easy!!!

    October 1, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  14. Greg

    Good news, but be careful. 34 days is a long time in politics to make a mistake.

    October 1, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  15. Dave

    Too bad the election can't be held today!

    Don't get complacent, everybody. A lot can happen in 34 days. But these polls look good!

    No matter who the next president, I wish him the best of luck. He'll have a mess on his hands.

    October 1, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  16. Noah

    I knew living in this backwards state would finally come around and start facing the right direction. Obama will take Florida in 2008

    October 1, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  17. Independent

    Woah this supports the new Quinipac poll that came out today in Florida...50% support for Obama!

    McCain is in serious trouble.

    October 1, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  18. Garrett-Chicago

    holy cow. i wish the election was this next tuesday instead of a month from then.

    if the election was today, obama would have a landslide on his hands.

    October 1, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  19. Brian Rich

    Excellent news.

    I'm happy voters are realizing that Obama is the only person who should be handling the economy in this time of crisis. His extreme caution when approaching government intervention, along with his care and thoughtfulness that goes into every major decision he makes is the judgment we need in the White House. No gut responses from McCain need apply.

    October 1, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  20. the other jd

    Only one electoral map will matter...the one showing at the end of the day on 11/4.

    Obama and Biden supporters! Regardless of these numbers or how Sarah P does at the debate, call up your local Barack Obama office and get involved. If you can afford it go to his website and give money to the campaign.

    Let's get 'er done!!!

    October 1, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  21. baby mama

    great new for The Messiah,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,death sentence for the USA...............so sad

    October 1, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  22. GO, GO OB & JOE

    Wheeeeeeeee! and this is only the beginning!

    October 1, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  23. email and call senators NOW!


    October 1, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  24. Jak

    Not the biggest Obama fan out there, but it appears that common sense is prevailing here.

    October 1, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  25. James

    Don't count out the Rove Klan. They are devious and decptive. Always lurking in the shadows. Like Dick Cheney in the halls of Congress, stalking and creeping. Open the windows and chase out the darkness. Let the winds of change sweep our Democracy clean.

    October 1, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
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