October 20th, 2008
10:48 AM ET
14 years ago

Race will get tight, Obama says

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/19/art.sept.gi.jpg caption="Obama says the race will tighten."](CNN) - He may hold a 6-8 point lead nationally with only two weeks until Election Day, but Barack Obama said he expects the race to tighten in its dwindling days.

In an interview airing on NBC Monday morning, the Democratic presidential candidate noted presidential races have historically tended to narrow in the days immediately before voters weigh in at the polls, and said it’s absolutely necessary he continue to play "ball control offense."

Watch: Is it too late for McCain?

"We think that the race will tighten, just because that's what happens at the end of campaigns. They always have - even when there are substantial leads," Obama said. "And in each of these battleground states, you've got a lot of close races. One of the messages that I've had to my team is that we don't let up. We do not let up."

The latest CNN national poll of polls shows Obama holds a 6 point lead over McCain - an October advantage that has rarely been surpassed in past elections. Recent state polls out of key battleground states also show the Illinois senator appears to be firmly in control in every state won by the Democratic ticket in 2004, as well as a handful of states won by President Bush.

Election Center: Check out the latest state and national polls

A clear lead in a race's final days for a politician can be a double-edged sword: supporters may decide to stay home, thinking their vote is not needed if the outcome is already a foregone conclusion. And candidate who appears overly confident of victory may also turn off the majority of voters who still have not made up their mind.

"There is a fine line between hubris and confidence. Hubris could turn off the persuadable and the undecideds...and could convince some of the faithful they can stay home," CNN Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley said.

In the interview with NBC, Obama noted he appeared to have wrapped up the Democratic presidential nomination weeks before Hillary Clinton saw a late surge and the race continued into May.

"You know, you remember we had those big leads. We had gotten 11 wins in a row against Senator Clinton. I think there was this sense of, ‘OK, things are kind of working out,’ and - and thought that we could just ride momentum," Obama said. "And we ended up getting our head handed to us."

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (196 Responses)
  1. Karen

    I hope we see the kind of turnout we had at the primaries, and that it's all for Obama. He has his faults, but he's so much better than four more years of a Republican, and the choice of Palin, an insult to the voting public's intelligence, should make Obama even more desirable.
    I'm waiting for a Republican dirty trick, or cheating, or manipulating local officials to deny Democratic voters the right to vote. i think they'd even stoop to provoking Iran and scaring the elderly and uninformed. I agree with Obama, even a good lead is not sufficient.

    October 20, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  2. Dallas, TX

    McCain is the man to lead our country and Gov. Palin at his side will be an unbeatable match.

    Stand steady and strong, get out and vote for America!

    Obama is a good man, but he's not ready as so many good Americans have said, just as his VP selection Biden has said.

    VOTE! McCain/Palin!!! 2008!!!

    This race is NOT over!!!

    October 20, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  3. Leo Hussein Smith - TX


    October 20, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  4. Joel, Florida

    The only way we get Hillary later is if we get McCain now! Be smart and patient people.

    October 20, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  5. nhmom

    In response to Hill:
    I understand your frustration about Hillary loosing...she also had my vote! However, your understanding of the political climate in Europe and the 20% unemployment rate might be from the McCain book of missleading statements. Please do some reading on economy in contries like, Sweeden, Germany, Austria,where taxes are higher on the top 5%, higher education is $ 1400 (per year) at best universities and the standard of living is much higher than for most of us living in the us. Do not publicize your unfounded and politically tainted comments!

    October 20, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  6. Angeline

    Unfortunately, the race probably will get tight, as you will have all the whack jobs out there who simply don't want to see Obama in the White House for purely insane reasons, vote for THATseriously dysfunctioned ticked. So be sure to go VOTE for Obama! And report any mishaps that have been going on, such as in West Virgina and other early voting states, where people have been reporting cheating machines that keep switching their Obama vote to McCain. Do not trust the GOP whatsoever at this point. They are dirty tricksters.

    October 20, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  7. Jack

    Yes, everyone must vote this year it is going to be some very hard times ahead for which every person who wins. I country has always been divide and will continue to be i years to come until there is a new majority in this counrty and only then will we see the results of a two party society which has undermined the true nature of being a human being. There are alot of true americans not just the ones who have served thier country in the armed services and i am a vet for sen. obama. It seems funny that there is no mention of that in the press.

    October 20, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  8. Chris

    Bruce, regarding your statement about great speakers who wound up being duds, I offer you the last Democratic president as retort...Bill Clinton. He was supposedly "unproven" too. 8 years Democrat as president vs. 8 years Republican brand (the last eight)...I'll take the what the Democrats have to offer this time around, thanks.

    October 20, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  9. chucky1169469

    my wife and i voted this morning for Obama

    Texas for Obama/Biden 08

    October 20, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  10. Arizona Demo

    I find it interesting that some of the supporters of McCain/Palin are Hillary supporters????? So, you all are pro life, want the same trickle down economics, total free trade, anti gay/lesbian. If you were REAL supporters of Hillary, you would be appalled at the tactics of these two people. As to the Vets for McCain, do your homework. He has consistently voted, not shown up for votes against anything for vets, up to and including the new GI bill, which he didn't even bother to show up. I am LOL if these jerks get elected. If you really think they are ""country first" you are kidding your self. BTW wonder how much Mrs. McCain's tax cut will be????? Oh yes, Sara is such an ethical person, oops she didn't break any laws while letting her husband try to get her brother in law fired and she let her husband sit in on meetings in the Governor's office. Yikes!!!!! sounds like Cheney to me.

    October 20, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  11. Bill

    the desperation of the republicans is palpable. watch out for more hate speech in the days to come. they have nothing else. their attacks will get more vile in the days to come. luckily most Americans see through their lies. VOTE EARLY.


    October 20, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  12. A Senior Southern Lady

    Obama is the right man at the right time.

    October 20, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  13. sf

    My son voted for OBAMA last week via absentee ballot, and, I was so excited to see the completed ballot and to place it in the mail. I along with so many others are anxiously waiting for Nov 4 so we can vote and have a champion of our causes in the White House.........OBAMA!

    October 20, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  14. diakenpoy

    I'm from chicago but i'm not voitn for Obama. What has he done to improve for develop chicago or Illinois tha i can be proud on. Chicago is still bankrupt and Illinois getting killed on debt. And i am suppose to believe in his economic skills? I DO NOT VOTE FOR ANYBODY BECAUSE HE IS FROM MY TOWN OR MY STATE. OR FOR DANGLING THE TEMPORARY TAX CUT TO BUY MY VOTE. He is taking the hard earned money of other people and giving it to the poor. I wonder how LOW he thinks of americans?

    October 20, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  15. JD in Moraga

    If the race didn't get tight toward the end, it wouldn't be news, now, would it?

    October 20, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  16. Architect of Iraq War

    The architect of Iraq War has endorsed Obama.

    What does Obama say to Powell, who represented USA in the UN with his bold and concrete presentation to invading Iraq ?

    Is Obama not siding with all with failed "judgement" on Iraq War ?

    October 20, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  17. Annette

    Obama that's right, keep it real! I hear ya!

    October 20, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  18. jwn in south carolina

    I stand with Warren Buffet and General Colin Powell.

    Vote Obama/Biden

    October 20, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  19. kw

    Everyone keeps making comments about Obama raising taxes, but if you really review his plan, it bodes better than McCain. Most have said Obama's plan is better, (the same as Clinton when he first got in office) even joe the "fake plumber" admitted he didn't understand Obama's plan, and that it would not affect him. I know you people want to find things to make Obama out to be this horrible guy, but non of it make sense. And he is right this race will get tight, McCain and Palin and succeeding with there racist rhetoric, and all of those who just can't vote for the "second stringer" as one of McCain's eloquent bigots stated, but in the end I believe for once, I believe the Good will prevail.

    October 20, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  20. Terri, Atlanta

    Look to the side-bar on this page – look at how many people have viewed articles about Obama – 3048 to Mc's 2138 – i think that is going to be a good proportional measure for the landslide that Obama may infact have on November the 4th!

    October 20, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  21. Go Obama

    I'll be voting early as well. I am thrilled to see all the enthusiasm. Obama will make a great President!

    October 20, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
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