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. John in Ohio

    I can't believe the media is equating Obama's attacks with McCain's attacks.

    McCain's attacks: Obama is friends with terrorists and is dishonorable and dangerous for our troops.

    Obama's attacks: McCain was involved in a scandal that he is on record as having been involved in, and his recent erratic behavior shows that he has erratic behavior. Which has already been documented through McCain's years in the Senate.

    McCain's attacks: Lies
    Obama's attacks: Truth, and only brought up after the false lying attacks
    Media narrative: Both campaigns are "going negative" and both campaigns are in error.

    What a load of BS.

    October 7, 2008 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  2. John

    Palin doesn't realize it but she's being thrown under the bus by the McCain campaign. They know she has no future in national politics – not 2012, not 2016, not ever. So they are having her speak to ardent red state supporters and offer up nothing more than vile lies. After 28 more days of this the US pubic will be so sick of her and so untrusting that we will all be happy when she disappears from the national scene.

    October 7, 2008 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  3. Vince in NC

    Obama has a substantial lead in Virginia, if he carries that its over for McCain.

    October 7, 2008 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  4. James From Chicago

    The republicians need to get a grip and realize they are going to loose.

    McCain with his negative campaign because he cannot ficus
    on the issues, and Palin that lies every time she opens her mouth.


    October 7, 2008 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  5. Kentucky

    I think he was doing better bfore he did the Palin gimmick

    October 7, 2008 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  6. Levi in Iowa

    EVERYTHING is bad news for McCain. Now he's stooping to low blows and smears and hateful rants.

    Same old politics, same old McCain. Vote for Change.

    October 7, 2008 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  7. Tyree in Virginia

    I hope that the recent racist attacks from Sarah Palin does not sway voters in battleground states. I know most of the people aren't fools but then again we know that negative campaigns have worked in the past.

    October 7, 2008 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  8. Walt

    And CNN's estimate of Obama's status is a very conservative one!

    No wonder, McCain in his power-hungry quest for the White House has gone 100% negative and uses lies, distortions and innuendos to smear Senator Obama. Let's hope the American public is smarter this time and doesn't let these standard Neo-con Republican political techniques distract them from the real issues of the economy and the war.

    By his own words, McCain knows that what he is doing in his smear campaign is morally wrong and insulting to the electorate...but when it really is "McCain First, not "America First", the "Straight Talk Express" winds up with four flat tires.

    October 7, 2008 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  9. Bubba

    McCain was on the board of right wing pro-Nazi anti-semitic and racist group for 5 years between 1981-1968. CNN why are you silent on this? McCain's pro-Nazi group advocated for the killing of Jews!

    October 7, 2008 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  10. john johnson

    Go Obama/Biden, don't let McCain lie his way into the WhiteHouse

    October 7, 2008 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  11. Dan, TX

    The McCain campaign attacks on Obama play right into Obama's campaign plans.

    McCain has no plan on the economy. He can't answer a question about the economy with a coherent sentence. I'm sorry, but he's old, his brain just doesn't work as well as it did 8 years ago. You know I'm right.

    October 7, 2008 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  12. CJ

    Go Obama Go!!!! I wish the election were tomorrow so we could begin to free ourselves of the disease we have had to live with for the past eight years!!! May you find strength, courage, and energy to proceed as you near the finish line, and may God see you get there safely.

    October 7, 2008 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  13. Out of work

    GOOD , Maybe this nation is wakeing up.!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 7, 2008 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  14. Billy

    It's all over but the outrageous and futile personal attacks.

    October 7, 2008 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  15. Lois

    Obama is gaining because he is talking ISSUES. All McCain and the pittbull can do is the below the belt attacks. Too bad the pittbull doesn't discuss her investigation in Alaska. Too bad a SITTING Gov. and her hubby the "Co Govenor" refused to answer to LEGAL legislative supeonas. Another Cheney and Rove in the wings, who thumb their noses at the law. AGAIN.

    October 7, 2008 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  16. john johnson

    Go Obama/Biden, don't let McCain/Palin lie their way into the Whitehouse.

    October 7, 2008 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  17. Susan

    PLEASE REGISTER TO VOTE,No matter whom you support.

    This is one of the most important elections of your life.

    October 7, 2008 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  18. alvino

    I worry about Indiana. There must not be any retirees there who realize that McCain's plan to pay for adding 5 million to his health care plan requires over a $1 trillion reduction in medicare. It appears that Florida has begin to see the light.

    October 7, 2008 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  19. Tarrie

    I want McCain to STOP the negative campaigning and focus on the issues.

    October 7, 2008 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  20. MK, Apex NC

    The euphoria over McCain's VP pick lasted some two weeks. Now, more than 50% of Americans believe that Palin is not qualified to handle the presidency, should that need ever arise.

    After election, McCain will blame his loss on his bad judgement for the VP pick.

    October 7, 2008 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  21. Muckinello

    Obama has to win only one state of the toss-ups. I see him favored in VA, CO and NV. A sweep for Obama is less of a stretch than a sweep for McCain, and that's the only option the Arizona senator has.
    After eight long years, time to party on November 4th!

    October 7, 2008 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  22. alvino

    If McCain loses, I wonder if Sarah and Todd will push for Alaska to secede from the US.

    October 7, 2008 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  23. keating5

    McCain and babyboomer Palin keep on attacking Obama but their numbers are sagging. ('Gutter' politics is pushing them into the gutter)

    Dumb and Dumber will not get it and resort to something constructive

    October 7, 2008 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  24. Charles I Am

    P.S. Saxby Chambliss is

    October 7, 2008 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  25. welches, oregon

    You know -– you can still like Hillary and like Obama too. No matter what the circumstances, Obama is the Democratic Nominee. If you like Hillary, you should vote Obama. There is no way Hillary would get a Presidential Appointment under a Republican administration.

    October 7, 2008 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
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