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. gene

    How do you all like McCain's new plan.. to only have Palin do interviews with people who coddle her? I can't believe people are actually standing up for Palin. We need a leader to look up to, not a leader we have to babysit and walk on egg shells around.

    October 1, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  2. Matt

    Two words: hanging chads. The Republicans are more desperate this time than they were in the past 2 elections. Just keep that in mind.

    October 1, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  3. Kyle

    Good news indeed. Indiana is also a lot closer than maps would suggest.

    Worst case scenario, Obama takes all of New England, West Coast minus Alaska, PA, all Great Lakes states minus Ohio and Indiana, Iowa, New Mexico, and Colorado, and still wins! He doesn't even need Ohio, Virginia, and Florida, a fact that should be scaring the crap out of the McCain campaign.

    October 1, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  4. Doug R.

    McCain is a pathological liar and a false patriot. He has no visions, ideas, or plans for this country. He is McBush.

    October 1, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  5. Nosmo King

    I'm sick and tired of the whole electoral process and the sub-par choices we have for our next commander in chief. For gosh sakes, when will it be over? I have to choose between a has-been good 'ol boy and an ignorant homeboy community organizer.

    October 1, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  6. BJGT

    I predict a landslide for Obama!!

    October 1, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  7. douglas

    i pray for obama winning the president of u.s.a and truly love him as good people with all races. obama did among with colors expect cain.

    October 1, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  8. 37-year-old First Time Voter

    Yes!....I'm glad to see my state, Missouri, is finally seeing the light. People want change! We have been registering folks in droves down here in Missouri. I'm sure this state will go to Obama. But please do not take these numbers for granted. We need to keep fighting because it is not over. The rethugs are going to come back with negative ads and they are already hitting Obama with the Wright, Ayers, and Rezco ads.

    But I'm not worried because Obama hits back harder. This may be a good time for a Keating5 ad and McCain's casino gambling ad. Bring it!

    October 1, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  9. Meka


    October 1, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  10. demwit

    CNN/Time/Opinion Research...?

    Are you guys really expecting us to believe this poll??

    October 1, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  11. Justin Wisconsin

    the winds of change are brewing down in florida! Obama cannot be stopped now McSame!!!

    October 1, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  12. Glenn; North Carolina

    Tomorrow night will do nothing but help too! It's not just about Sen. Obama's gains, it's about the ticket as a whole... Keep that in mind. Who do you want 1 heartbeat away from the presidency, a diplomatic statesperson, or someone that Tina Fay can imitate without even having to change her actual quotes! Although the Presidency and Saturday Night Live are both institutions, that doesn't make it ok to have someone who could star in 1, rule in the other.

    October 1, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  13. tulsa

    October 1st, 2008 4:38 pm ET
    Hey CNN – you only post the pro obama messages?

    Hey John... it's not that they don't post them, it's that there are THAT MANY MORE people who are backing Obama/Biden


    October 1, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  14. Romney 2012

    I say if Palin can't step up, she needs to step down. Let her decide to spend more time with her family. Let McCain correct his error and select Romney as his running mate. Romney/Biden would be an interesting debate, not a train wreck like Palin is going to be.

    I think I will set this one out or vote for Barr if Palin stays on the ticket.

    October 1, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  15. Brooklyn

    PLEASE... God... Not four years of speeches diverting us from all of the total screw ups...

    I can't listen to that speech one more time, my head will explode!!!

    October 1, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  16. neteret01

    Let's go people....the time is now!!! Let's support Obama!! I don't care if it's snowing and you have to wait in line for possibly 12 hours......Let's do it! United!! VOTE

    OBAMA 08

    October 1, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  17. Alice

    Kerry was ahead too, so don't get complacent.

    Let's work our butts off to get Obama elected.

    October 1, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  18. Alex

    Guys, I am an Obama Supporter and don't fall for these polls. Trust me, these are all soft numbers. Meaning they will drop very very fast. It is called a bounce. You can figure it out by going to gallup.com and seeing that Obama is already only 4 points ahead. If he doesn't go back to least 6 by tomorrow, then all these numbers are useless. I don't think PA will be close since it still has remained blue at worst Obama days. I don't PA is much in play. However Ohio and Florida will be very very very close...

    October 1, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  19. tulsa

    I heard on NPR this morning that college students CAMPED OUT in Ohio to be first in line to vote early today.

    NEVER HAS THIS HAPPENED BEFORE. The youth of America sees what their future would be unde McCain and they refuse to sit by and take it.


    October 1, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  20. Jeff

    HE'S NOT GOING TO WIN! He should have picked Hillary! Don't believe the polls! Democrats gave this one away! We should have taken what we could get (Hillary).

    October 1, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  21. Positive

    This is great news! Come on NC! YES WE CAN!

    Register! Vote! Your one vote can make a difference this time! Let's turn this economy around with someone who knows how–not more of the same. Elect a leader who looks to the future and has a plan that will make it better!


    Obama/Biden '08!

    October 1, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  22. No Hillary = No Obama

    This election is a see-saw, going back and forth, very sensitive to current events, bloopers and flubs (unless your Joe Biden, and then everything is over looked) and yet the media still controls people's perceptions through cherry-picked material, biased talking heads, gender-bashing and power plays. I'm printing in Hillary Clinton's name as the most qualified, viable candidate – not a wannabe or a complacent type, a person who got her nomination hijacked just like Sarah Palin's chances are now getting hijacked. The election process has been corrupted by the media.

    October 1, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  23. tatanka

    The american people are finally waking up to the fact that they have been lied too, cheated, and taken to the cleaners and what other adjectives you want to add. What we really need is someone like obama with new ideas on how to handle the economy and fix the problems the republicans have led us blindly into. Bush's bunch is still trying to save his cronies from losing their shirts. Congress is waking up to that fact and is going to stop this treasonous way of life they have created. GO OBAMA GO WORK FROM THE BOTTOM UP HELP EVERYONE SEE THEIR DREAMS COME TRUE.

    October 1, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  24. Nathan,

    This election is about to get as ugly as anything we've ever seen before in this country. IF the Republican internal polling show the same as every other poll then Mc Bush and Barbie will get nasty. Obama will be attacked like no other candidate has ever been attacked. For obvious reasons it will not make America look good around the world. WIllie Horton will look like Peter Pan when the desperate Republican get finish with Obama. America will have to show the world and the Republicans that we will not tolerate the covet racist scare tactics that are sure to come if the election look as if its slipping away from McBush. They can't win on substance, they can't win on the past, they can't win on their lack of vision for the future and they can't win on intelligence. There's only one thing left and they know its worked before.

    October 1, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  25. No Hillary = No Obama

    This election is a teeter-totter –

    October 1, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
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