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. Lifelong Republican for Obama, Columbia, TN

    Let's hope and pray that this "enlightenment" toward Obama continues. It has been clear to me for some time that McCain and Palin would simply be dangerous for America in these difficult and complex times. We need a President and Vice-President with astute judgment coupled with practical experience on the major financial and foreign policy issues of this day. McCain and Palin are not these individuals. Obama and Biden are!

    October 1, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  2. Lifelong Republican for Obama, Columbia, TN

    I think Gwen Ifill should remain as moderator. This is simply another attempt by extremist conservatives to distract Americans from the plain fact that Palin is a dangerous VP pick that lacks both experience and judgment and just plain old interest in the problems every American is facing right now. Gwen Ifill, in my opinion, is well-informed and practices true journalistic integrity. She will be fair and unbiased. I have no doubt. Regardless of who the moderator is, I still don't think that Palin has a chance a winning this debate! She is incomplete and incompetent-plain and simple.

    October 1, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  3. MLG

    Republicans are no longer organized enough to steal elections. Those of you who were bragging about how Kerry was up in 2004 and Bush won anyways need a psychiatrist.

    Being right doesn't mean you're a winner You may have been right to say that Bush was going to win, but the country lost. Sad that you are still claiming sweet victory after he destroyed our country.

    But, you probably don't see it that way since you seem to value being right over what's right.

    For the survival of our country I pray to god people go out and vote Obama in large numbers in November.

    October 1, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  4. Beth, Starkville, MS

    Someone tell me, how can I get my vote to count? My state BLEEDS red, I know all the electoral votes will go to McCain anyway. Does my one little ole vote even count toward the total?

    October 1, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  5. MLD

    Vote Early to avoid lines!

    October 1, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  6. Marsha (Atlanta)

    Indeed, as Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., wrote, "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."

    Go Barack!

    October 1, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  7. Moon Maiden from Lake Michigan

    Look Palin is not ready to be VP or God forbid us, President.
    I hear all this talk on CNN today and all the rebups are staying she is soooooooooo ready.
    How ignorant are these people. They will put our country in jepordy to have Palin as the first VP/ Pres.
    Well as I see it and feel it and believe it Obama will win and will win by a large slide.
    No more lies, no more anger, peace and love, remember

    October 1, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  8. The Razorback

    Dont let your guard down Obama!

    We got your back too!

    McCain is on the ropes and teetering-–Palin is back in the locker room hiding.

    October 1, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  9. Michelle

    i have a question. Why are independent candidates like Bob Barr never given any media attention or included in any debates?

    October 1, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  10. Ken

    Wow, it seems that Russia, Iran, Syria, Cuba, Hugo Chavez, and Hamas also share your hopes of an Obama victory!!!

    I wonder why that is??? Hey, maybe Biden can get up there and talk about what a great job President Truman did on television during the Civil War?!?!?!!

    LOL!! Keep dreaming everyone.

    McCain/Palin 08!!!!!

    October 1, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  11. bertha doucet

    I do not believe in the polls,especially the cnn polls because they are in the tank for obama.the only polls that count is the one on 11/4. Houston Texas

    October 1, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  12. Just read this Article on Obama's campaign funds


    Secret, Foreign Money Floods into Obama Campaign
    Barack Obama campaign has raised a whopping $426.9 million — nearly twice that of John McCain's campaign. But Obama says more than half of his money comes from small donors giving less than $200 — and Obama won't disclose their names. Kenneth R. Timmerman reports on the strange donation activity, Khaddafi's claims about foreign fundraising for Obama and then meet Mr. Doodad


    October 1, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  13. Never Barak Obama (PUMA)

    major gains – I think not!

    October 1, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  14. laurel from seattle

    I love the nepalm smell of change in the morning.

    Wake up, everyone. We need you all.

    Americans will always do the right thing, at the last minute.

    October 1, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  15. Lavonne

    I do not trust Sarah or John, after 8 years of Republican BULL I
    want some person in the Whitehouse who can speak AND be
    understood. I think Obama will explain things that involve the
    normal American!

    October 1, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  16. JUSTIN

    How do you ignoorant people believe that this economic crisis is the democrats fault when the republicans have been in control for the last 8 years.....are you serious? are Americans seriously thinking about voting for john mccain? how can you people be so ignorant? is it the race issue? has to be........it just has to be. americans would feel more safe picking a "maverick" and a hockey mom than an intelligent black man. ridiculous! WAKE UP AMERICA.......LOOK AT YOUR WALLETS........FOR GOD SAKE LOOK AT THE GAS PRICES!

    October 1, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |

    Blah,Blah,Blah same lies & BS from Liberal Dems!!! Vote for MCCAIN/PALIN the team that actually fights for us common people

    October 1, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  18. riotgrrl

    Please listen/watch the debate tonight – if that doesn't persuade you that McBush is just the wrong guy, then nothing will. while McCain is a great patriot, we need someone looking forward, not backward.

    Your action counts on election day. Do your duty.


    October 1, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  19. Vegas Barbie for Obama

    I am not calling Obama Savior, Messiah or anything of the sort...I am calling him what we will ALL be calling him after Nov. 4th: MR. PRESIDENT. He is a charasmatic and inspiring individual and I will be proud to cast my vote for him.
    OBAMA/BIDEN '08 & '12 YES WE CAN!!!!

    October 1, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  20. Michelle

    I am a registered democrat, but right now I don't agree with all of the views of either candidate. Like voting yes on this bailout bill. Obama just said in his speech in the senate that this bill is NOT perfect. Make it perfect before you vote yes.

    October 1, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  21. Donna from Colorado Springs

    Maybe, just mayybe, the people in this country are finally waking up to the fact of how dangerous, wrong and out of touch McCain is for this country. Way to go Obama!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We absolutely must get this country going in another direction, and Obama is the only one who can do it! McCain is an irratable, sarcastic old man who cannot and will not accept the fact that people do not trust him or believe in him anymore. He has simply lied too much and distorted the truth to suit himself for many months now. He needs to face facts.

    October 1, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  22. Irene

    AMERICA WINS when Senator Obama becomes our next President.!

    The McCain campaign is desperate and running UGLY ads.....it WON'T WORK this time!

    OBAMA / BIDEN 08

    October 1, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  23. Albo58

    The pollsters didn't contact me or people like me because we were probably AT WORK! You see, not everyone can be on welfare or in a mortgage crisis because somebody has to pay the taxes to subsidize this Socialist way of living!

    October 1, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  24. Gertrude

    Maybe the ad with Obamas long time "Reverend" should be shown in the swing states. Obama was indoctrinated in a culture of RACISM in his and his family's church. Hmmm, he decides to break off ties with this racist fanantic a few months ago (after being married by him and having his children baptized by him) and suddenly Obama is a "changed" man. You O-Cult kids are in for a great big surprise, when this wolf in sheeps clothing is exposed for the racist that he is. McCain/Palin 08. And oh yes, once again, this will not get posted because CNN does not want any thing negative against O – their messiah as well.

    October 1, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  25. Michelle

    McCain fights for people like himself. THE RICH!

    October 1, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
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