October 7th, 2008
08:00 AM ET
14 years ago

CNN Polls: New Obama gains in battleground states

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/07/art.1008map.cnn.jpg caption="Obama makes major gains on the new CNN Electoral Map."]WASHINGTON (CNN) – Polls in five key battleground states in the race for the White House released Tuesday suggest that Sen. Barack Obama is making major gains.

The CNN/Time Magazine/Opinion Research Corporation polls of likely voters in Indiana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin reflect a significant nationwide shift toward the Democratic presidential nominee.

Check out the latest CNN Electoral Map

In Indiana, 51 percent of likely voters say Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, is their choice for president, with 46 percent backing Obama. Indiana went for George W. Bush by 21 points four years ago; the Democrats have not carried the state since 1964.

Obama has made significant strides in New Hampshire, a state which is credited with reviving McCain’s GOP primary campaign in both 2000 and 2008. Fifty-three percent of the state’s likely voters are backing Obama, while 45 percent are supporting McCain. Obama’s eight-point lead is larger than the five-point lead held by Obama in the last CNN New Hampshire poll taken in the beginning of September.

Bush squeezed out a slender one-point win in the state in 2000 - but four years ago, John Kerry narrowly carried the one-time GOP stronghold.

In North Carolina, the two major party nominees are locked in a dead heat, with McCain and Obama each claiming the support of 49 percent of likely voters.

“Obama's strongest region is in the Raleigh/Durham area,” noted CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “McCain does best in Charlotte and the surrounding counties.”

The last Democrat to carry North Carolina was Jimmy Carter in 1976. The state’s 15 electoral votes are considered to be critical to any successful Republican presidential campaign.

McCain currently trails Obama by three points in Ohio; 50 percent of likely voters favor Obama, while 47 percent favor McCain. No Republican has won the White House without carrying the state.

“McCain has a six-point lead in the Cincinnati area,” said Holland. “But a GOP candidate normally needs to do better than that in southwestern Ohio in order to win the state. And overall, Obama actually has a two-point edge among suburban communities across the state.”

In Wisconsin, which hasn’t voted Republican since 1984, Obama is holding a 51 to 46 percent lead among likely voters.

“Obama continues to maintain a ‘home field advantage’ in the southern Wisconsin counties that border Illinois,” noted Holland. “He has nearly a 30-point lead in the city of Milwaukee, although he loses the Milwaukee suburbs by nearly as large a margin.”

The new CNN/Time Magazine/Opinion Research Corporation polls are behind several new shifts in the CNN Electoral College map.

CNN is shifting North Carolina, with 15 electoral votes, from leaning toward McCain to toss-up. CNN is moving Wisconsin and its 10 electoral votes, and New Hampshire and its four electoral votes from toss-up to “lean Obama.”

Finally, CNN is switching Michigan and its 17 electoral votes from leaning toward Obama to safe for Obama. The McCain campaign announced last week that it was shifting its resources out of the once hotly-contested Rust Belt state, instead intensify efforts in battleground states like Pennsylvania and Ohio.

With these moves, CNN estimates that if the presidential election were held today, Obama would win states with 264 electoral votes and McCain would win states with 174 electoral votes, with 100 electoral votes still up for grabs. To win the White House, 270 electoral votes are needed. Obama’s lead has expanded by 29 electoral votes when compared his margin in CNN’s last electoral map, which was released on October 1.

The CNN/Time Magazine/Opinion Research Corporation polls were conduced October 3-6, with 677 likely voters in Indiana; 813 likely voters in New Hampshire; 666 likely voters in North Carolina; 749 likely voters in Ohio; and 859 likely voters in Wisconsin, all questioned by telephone.

The survey’s sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points in New Hampshire, Ohio and Wisconsin, and plus or minus 4 percentage points in Indiana and North Carolina.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • CNN Polls • Indiana • John McCain • New Hampshire • North Carolina • Ohio • Wisconsin
soundoff (323 Responses)
  1. Meg

    WAY TO GO.

    OBAMA / BIDEN 2008-2012.



    October 7, 2008 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  2. Michelle in PA

    Good news, but let's not get complacent Obama supporters. Remember your vote, and the votes of everybody responding to this poll, and the vote of everybody who has never been polled, doesn't count unless you get out and cast it. Big turnout = Big win for all Americans instead of just the wealthy elites.

    October 7, 2008 08:46 am at 8:46 am |

    Good news. I'm glad to hear it.

    I received 5 credit card offers in the mail today. I thought there was a credit-crunch. What's up with that?

    October 7, 2008 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  4. Rave

    Now America has a clear choice.
    1. Elect someone who cannot address the real issues of Americans and tries to deflect attention, create doubts, fear in people with some fake / baseless allegations = John McCain / Sarah Palin
    2. Someone who truely understands the current situation of hard working Americans, better understanding of our Foreign relations, Economy, Energy independence, Healthcare, Education .... = Barack Obama / Joe Biden.

    October 7, 2008 08:46 am at 8:46 am |

    So now McCain needs to get out of the muck and talk about the economy even though it makes him uncomfortable.

    We need a leader.

    October 7, 2008 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  6. Junius

    New Jersey is not leaning toward Obama, We are 100% for Obama!!!!!!!!!

    October 7, 2008 08:46 am at 8:46 am |

    i have always been a cnn fan.. for as long as i can remember but i have to admit the scrutiny you are putting on obama just isnt fair.. you say you dont want the mud slinging in the campaing but yet you continue to run the ads that do just that. you play over and over again the rally's that sarah palin and mcaain are constantly mudslinging barack. . i want to hear about the economy and healthcare. and better jobs... the fact of the matter is mcain /palin startted this.. barack is only defending him self.. he is always talkingabout the situation that is going on today and that is what concerns me the most what is going on now.. not twenty years ago.. john drew first blood now he is scared now that he sees the blood.!! i think jack cafferty said it best!!!! pathetic!!! give obama the credit he is due.. this man was the under dog from day one and he has come a long way .. and i think he has did way more than anyone ever expected him todo. i commend him

    October 7, 2008 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  8. Belle2

    If Obama is not ahead, he should be. He not only has more money to finance his campaign, he also has the media on his side. I feel certain that Obama will win because of the media bias, just as GW Bush won in 2000 because the media refused to publish anything negative. When Bush wanted to prove he was rougher, tougher, better than Bush I, the media ensured the first preemptive strike by refusing to publish anything not in line with attacking Iraq. Now, the media has decided that Obama will be the next President and refuse to publish anything negative about Obama. I sit and watch C Brown tout her "no-bias, no-bull" line as she drools over Obama. I see CNN report that Obama was 8 years old when Ayers committed his terrorist acts without noting that Obama was over 30 years old when his political career was launched in Ayers living room. I watch the debate analysis and count the facts scrolled along the bottom of the screen that are three to one in Obama's favor. I also know that CNN is less biased than MSNBC and the major networks are not much less biased than CNN. If anyone still believes that the voters are selecting the next President, they are very naive. This country is no longer a Democracy; it is a media-ocracy.

    October 7, 2008 08:48 am at 8:48 am |

    Reptilian spokesman Holtz-Eakin stated that MaGoo and Crew will pay for the health care proposal by cutting 1.3 TRILLION dollars from Medicare.

    That would be the same Medicare plan that seniors use as their “health care plan”.

    That would be the same seniors that turnout to vote in percentages in the mid 70’s.

    That would be the same MaGoo and Crew campaign that has now officially conceded the 2008 election.

    October 7, 2008 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  10. j williamson

    Bush squeezed out that victory in New Hampshire (in 2000) mainly because Ralph Nader took several percentage points away from Al Gore – had Gore won the state he would have won the presidency (without Florida). Just underscores how EVERY vote in EVERY state counts. Go Obama!

    October 7, 2008 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  11. Ric

    Why isn’t anyone talking about McCains cowardly conduct during the Vietnam war. I was a Marine on an Intelligence gathering and Special Operations Team. There was a code of conduct that everyone in the military swore to adhere to. It was called the Military Code of Conduct and among other things stated that if captured you supply the enemy with nothing more than Name, Rank and Serial Number. All of the people from my unit who were captured never returned alive because they adhered to that Code of Conduct. McCain spilled his guts to the NVA resulting in the death of other service members and he returned alive.

    October 7, 2008 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  12. zach

    What a quirky system that electoral college is...very undemocratic.

    Oh well.


    (said to the tune of "Four more years!"...or in the case of John McCain and the Republican party, "No more years!")

    C'mon Colorado! Don't let the Union down! Show your intelligence and start leaning to the left! Hell, I'd even take Nevada! Let's take it to the House! After 2000, I think it's high-time the Republicans felt what it's like to have an election stolen from them!

    October 7, 2008 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  13. Scott

    This election shouldn't even be close – McCain/Palin shouldn't even be in the running. This country doesn't need an angry old man and an absolute ditz running the country now – we've had that in Cheney / Bush for 8 years. What we need is thoughtful, measured and articulate leadership.

    I used to have some degree of respect for McCain, but he's destroyed any faith I might have had in him with his choice of a pitifuly ill-equipped running mate and his recent negative attack ads. I imagine it's only a matter of days before he and Palin start referring to Obama's ethnicity to scare voters. Just when you thought the Republicans couldn't sink any lower . . .

    October 7, 2008 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  14. proud army and navy mom

    mccain and palin are dangerously stupid. In their quest for power and prestige, they are encouraging the nutcases of this world to react.

    On two separate occasions yesterday, at Palin's then Mccain's rally, the rabid gangs of people were whipped into a frenzy by the hate speech that the candidates were engaged in. In Palin's rally, someone yelled, "kill him" and at Mccain's rally, they yelled that the US Senator is a "terriost".

    Both candidates appeared to hear this, but did nothing to discourage the language or sentiment. By their silence, they were condoning this behaviour.

    Their silence was criminal. It's called inciting hate.

    October 7, 2008 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  15. Tally, Florida

    Maybe because McCain is being seen for what he really is: a man willing to sacrifice whatever honor he had left to win the presidency.

    He and his wife insisted only months ago that we would not see any negativity from their campaign and that this campaign would be about the issues – that was obviously just another McCain lie.

    October 7, 2008 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  16. vperry

    Most of all, Senator McCain, be yourself. Talk from your heart and not your head. If you really believe that you are the man who can make a positive change for the future of this country (and I believe that you are), then say it. Do not have any regrets.

    October 7, 2008 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  17. Nadeem

    The better Obama does the nastier and more devisive the McCain camp is getting.

    One thing we need to remember, whoever the next president is, he will be OUR president, democrat, republican and independent. We don't need eight more years of a house devided.

    October 7, 2008 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  18. Paul, Riverside, CA

    The GOP having to do battle in VA and NC would be comprable to Obama having to battle in NY and OR.

    This is not good news for McCain/Palin, but GREAT news for Obama and the millions of people who can't wait to call him President.

    October 7, 2008 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  19. alybuilder

    Is it possible that we will see one candidate garner 400 electoral votes?

    October 7, 2008 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  20. NC Women for Obama/Biden!

    IF John McCain had any specific ideas for change and IF he'd run the "respectful" campaign he promised, maybe, just maybe your map would favor him a bit more. How could a candidate who promised a "respectful" campaign and can't even do that keep any other promises he's claiming to make? Enough, already! Obama/Biden for America!

    October 7, 2008 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  21. MEP

    Provide a plan to help Americans with their problems that's real and concrete . Stay out of the muck. Go Obama Biden!!

    October 7, 2008 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  22. Jude from West Virginia

    Okay America, please remember to teach your children not to end their sentences with the preposition "that". It may appeal to the uneducated "Joe Six Pack" part of America, but as a hiring manager I would never hire someone who couldn't speak proper english to the customers. Proper grammar and intelligence is something I expect from our leaders. I don't want another "misunderinformed" Bush clone near the White House.

    Using "that and it" at the end of a sentence may be the Alaskan way, but in the rest of America we know that prepositions have no place at the end of a sentence! Most of us have already learned this lesson in grade school, but it has somehow eluded Palin.

    October 7, 2008 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  23. David

    Unless they poll every person in America, I am not too concerned with how the polls look. There are still 2 more debates and a month to go before the election. Neither side should be shouting about the polls. To me, they are by no means an exact science. They are just a guesstimate as to how things might turn out.

    October 7, 2008 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  24. Independent America

    It is truly fascinating to me that when the news reports the race for the White House, national polls are used as the true gauge for the election. The media is reporting the election as thought, the popular vote decides it. In this country we have an electoral college. In order to truly report the race for the White House this should basically be the primary and most emphasized way of reporting the race. It is disingenuous to keep showing just about 50/50 polls as the marker for the race. Al Gore won the popular vote but that did not secure him the White House. The national poll is basically not an indicator by ANY means of who secures the White House. I guess however, by reporting these national polls it makes the race look better for McCain and keeps the country in the belief that this is truly a close race and that we are basically split down the middle. The map above shows the true story of what is taking place.

    October 7, 2008 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  25. Kay Kay

    John McCain never should have abandoned his principals. They were why I supported him, and he needed the independent voters like me who liked straight talk. Now he's become the worst kind of politician and his running mate is a disaster. Obama didn't win my vote, McCain lost it.

    October 7, 2008 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
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