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. Republican for change


    October 1, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  2. Mizz Independant

    To Michael Ray Thompson

    You are an ignorant racist bigot. I am a middle aged white female independant voter and Obama supporter. I have no problem for those that support McCain for policy reasons but because of ignorant people like you maybe we need an IQ test to be able to vote. After all Bush got in twice and this country is going to the crapper. I can only hope and pray that you are in the "minority of stupid" that votes that way for the good of this country!


    October 1, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  3. Jerry in Missouri

    Nothing like unbiased reporting, huh CNN? The last time the liberal networks tried to cook the polls, it didn't work either. Americans are more intelligent than you give them creit for. I don't want either one for President, but I know I don't want Obama. He will destroy this country.

    NObama...No Way... No How

    October 1, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  4. aware

    I am a former democrat and Hillary supporter who will never vote for Obama!

    He is a smooth talking universalist who lacks authenticity, integrity, a moral center and American values! 🙁

    Vote McCain/Palin 08 for authentic reform that will change America for the better! 🙂

    October 1, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  5. aware

    No way, no how, no Obama! 🙁

    I prefer straight talk to smooth talk!

    Former democrat and Hillary supporter for McCain/Palin 08! 🙂

    October 1, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  6. Joe Regis

    Change is coming to Washington.

    Last week the McCain people suspended his compaign. Now staring into the abyss that are the polls # he will probaly end it. We are seeing the near collapse of the McCain compaign now.

    Desperate move.

    This time there is no little trick that can bring his campaign up.

    Landslide Obama/Biden 08/12.

    October 1, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  7. C W

    Folks around the country are beginning to wake up to the nightmare of McCain/Palin and understand not only how important this next election is, but that Obama and Biden are the only logical, sane choice to make.

    Both men are intelligent, hardworking and will truly face the many challenges that lie ahead of us. They have ideas, plans and the ability to rally the American public and elected officials to get things done.

    We cannot afford another 4 years of Bush's failed policies. Thank goodness people are finally getting it!

    October 1, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  8. FL4OB

    Great news, but no time for complacency.

    Obama/Biden '08
    Yes We Can!

    October 1, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  9. aware

    Obama would destroy America's economy with his tax plan plus his energy plan, and he would also diminish her military. 🙁

    No way ! No how! No Obama!

    October 1, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  10. Independent..found what I was looking for

    This must be the reason for all the negative ads coming on in the battle groung state. I wondered how long it would be before the Republicans took Rev. Wright out of the closet. This is called runnung scared. Senator Obama was very upfront in answering all the questions he could regarding his old pastor....
    McCain and Sarah Palin on the other hand....her church looks very interesting...witches and the end of the world in Alaska. John McCain has Keating 5 which never seems to come up. Nothing about his church...cause he doesn't go.
    Desperation is a bad things...

    October 1, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  11. Jack

    lies lies lies conservative lies – yes, McCian/Palen will work on getting your money and leaving you destitute.

    Vote Obama/Biden

    October 1, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  12. Shannon

    How sad for us, that this man is going to be the next President. Really is this empty suit the best we can do

    October 1, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  13. aware

    The "smooth talk express" is charging full steam ahead! Will America be fooled again by another guy they would most like to have a beer with? 🙁

    October 1, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  14. Jerry in Missouri

    More lies since you won't post a conservative opinion. How do you people sleep at night pushing out your lies to the public??

    October 1, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  15. HouseDiva

    St. Louis supports Barack Obama/Joe Biden!

    October 1, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  16. Cathie

    Get out the vote.............make sure all you know are registered!!
    I'm from Missouri........my excitement is guarded.

    October 1, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  17. A recovering Republican

    This is a repeat of the contest against HillBilly. He is steady, methodical, persistent as he slowly wins support. McCain and his supporters will continue to unleash a barrage of ad homonen diatribe because that is all they have.

    10 years sober

    October 1, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  18. The Nightingale Sings in Berkley Square

    "Barack Obama skipped 45 percent of Senate votes, but did manage to show up to vote against emergency funding for our troops,” the narrator says in the new 30-second spot from Veterans for Freedom.

    “Obama was chairman of the committee overseeing the fight against Al Qaeda in Afghanistan but never held a single hearing. “…Obama found time to make 45 trips to Iowa but only two trips to Iraq."

    Say no to Obama This is not change This is Obama on an ego trip Wake up America before it is too late.

    October 1, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  19. Nom Deplume

    This former DC attorney and political analyst predicts a comfortable Obama victory.

    Buy your ammunition and rebel flags now, comrades. After January 20, they will be illegal.

    October 1, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  20. Jen, California

    find it utterly hilarious how 99.9% of these wacko liberal CNN bloggers are trying to convince the other 99.9% wacko liberal CNN bloggers to vote for Obama (because they're the ONLY ones CNN will allow to post).

    You’re preaching to the choir, people! 99.9% of American voters don’t even know that these tickers/blogs exist – and couldn’t care less if they did. So enjoy talking to each other and feeling “important” – NO ONE ELSE cares!

    And in terms of politics and the polls — IT'S STILL A LONG WAY TO NOVEMBER!

    October 1, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  21. 107 yr old boxer

    John McCain is making the same fatal mistake that the other previous contenders made when sparring with Obama. They brand this fighter as " inexperienced" and it is not working. The McCain Camp is only jabbing with the " inexperienced " theme. They continue to underestimate this crafty young fighter who has dodge many blows from both sides of the political ring. That last match with the Clintons was won halfway through the bout. The McCain camp thinks they are fighting a lightweight match because Obama is young. Obama is a heavyweight. They are hitting below the belt with scare tactics to divert people from the real issues and this could backfire. In the debate McCain constantly said to “ Senator Obama doesn’t understand..". What McCain fails to understand is that if he don't truly start to recognize Obama's skills in politics, he could find himself faced down in the ring in November.

    October 1, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  22. Jen, California

    I find it utterly hilarious how 99.9% of these wacko liberal CNN bloggers are trying to convince the other 99.9% wacko liberal CNN bloggers to vote for Obama (because they're the ONLY ones CNN will allow to post).

    You’re preaching to the choir, people! 99.9% of American voters don’t even know that these tickers/blogs exist – and couldn’t care less if they did. So enjoy talking to each other and feeling “important” – NO ONE ELSE cares!

    And in terms of politics and the polls — IT'S STILL A LONG WAY TO NOVEMBER!

    October 1, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  23. Nom Deplume

    JT, just stating fact. Obama is a socialist, and if you need further proof, go to the DSUSA website and compare the Obama economic program (the one he had in the primaries, not the one he is using now) to theirs. They are virtually identical in some respects.

    Fact is, America is going socialist, and in the way that the socialists like Norman Thomas predicted that it would.

    You can look it up.

    October 1, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  24. Nom Deplume

    Jay Moyer really shouldn't be preaching revolution. After all, the dems are against gun ownership. Hard to win a revolution with tofu and organic granola.

    October 1, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  25. Henrita

    Hopefully, people are beginning to wake up.

    October 1, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
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