October 22nd, 2008
04:00 PM ET
11 years ago

McCain playing defense in states Pres. Bush won

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/22/art.mccain.bush.jpg caption="A new poll suggests John McCain is on defense in states Pres. Bush won."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - New polls suggest that John McCain is on defense in four of five states that President Bush won in the last election.

CNN/Time Magazine/Opinion Research Corp. surveys released Wednesday afternoon indicate that Barack Obama has a small advantage in Ohio, Nevada, North Carolina and a large lead in Virginia, with John McCain ahead in West Virginia.

Electoral Map Calculator: You Call The Race

Democrats last carried North Carolina in a presidential election in 1976, but the poll suggests that Obama, D-Illinois, has a 4-point margin - 51-47 percent - over McCain among likely voters. That is with within the poll's sampling error, but it is an increase over our last survey in North Carolina two weeks ago, when Obama was tied at 49 percent with McCain, R-Arizona. Fifteen electoral votes are at stake in North Carolina.

"The North Carolina poll exhibits the same gender gap and generation gap that national polls typically show," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said. "McCain has a slight edge among men and voters over 50 years old; Obama has a slightly bigger margin among women and younger voters."

You have to go back to 1964 to find the last time Democrats won Virginia in a presidential contest. But the poll indicates that Obama continues to hold a comfortable lead over McCain in Virginia, 54-44 percent. Obama held a similar 10-point advantage over McCain in our poll from last week.

"Obama's lead in Northern Virginia is growing," Holland noted. "He now beats McCain 2-1 in the Washington suburbs." Virginia has 13 electoral votes.

It all came down to Ohio four years ago, with the state putting Bush over the top in clinching his re-election. And our new poll suggests that it could again all come down to Ohio and its 20 electoral votes. Fifty percent of likely voters in Ohio questioned in the poll back Obama for president, and 46 percent support McCain. Obama's lead is within the poll's sampling error.

Suburban voters could again be crucial to determining the outcome in Ohio.

"The suburban vote in Ohio is split right down the middle, 48 percent to 48 percent," Holland said. "That's a familiar pattern for anyone who follows Ohio politics. Four years ago, the suburbs in the Buckeye State went for George W. Bush 51 percent to 49 percent."

Nevada voted for Bush in the past two elections, but the survey suggests Obama retains a small advantage in the state, 51-46 percent. The lead is also within the poll's sampling error.

Bush carried West Virginia by 13 points in 2004 but the poll indicates McCain has a smaller 9-point lead over Obama, 53 percent to 44 percent.

There's an interesting trend in these five new polls.

"In every one of these states the decline in the Republican vote is larger than the gain the Democratic vote," said CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider. "One reason is there may still be uncertainty among voters about Obama, but there's no uncertainty about the loss of confidence in the Republicans.

"The two states where we see the biggest shift in the Democrats' favor are Virginia and North Carolina, which have the largest populations of African-American voters. Democrats have made a gain of 9 points in Virginia and 7 points in North Carolina from the results of the 2004 presidential election," Schneider added.

With these new polls factored in, the CNN Electoral College Map estimates that if the election were held today, Obama would win states with 277 electoral votes, with McCain taking states with 174 electoral votes. States with 87 electoral votes are still up for grabs. Two-hundred and seventy electoral votes are needed to win the White House.

State surveys, campaign advertising buys, candidate visits, and voting trends are all taken into account in calculating the CNN Electoral College map.

Likely voters questioned in the polls were also asked about whether they would support either of the three major third-party candidates, Independent Ralph Nader, Libertarian candidate Bob Barr, and Green Party candidate Cynthia McKinney. But none of the three registered more than 3 percent of the vote in any of the five states surveyed.

The CNN/Time Magazine/Opinion Research Corp. polls were conducted Sunday through Tuesday, with 700 likely voters in Nevada, 644 likely voters in North Carolina, 737 likely voters in Ohio, 647 likely voters in Virginia, and 674 likely voters in West Virginia questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points in Nevada and Ohio and plus or minus 4 percentage points in North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.

Filed under: John McCain • President Bush
soundoff (118 Responses)
  1. Liberated!


    October 22, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  2. Charlie Bradley

    LOL you might want to think about strategy here Johnny Boy.

    October 22, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  3. = = = Now hear this:

    Well, Mr. John McCain, Sir. You had your chance.

    In all honesty, rather than showing off by superior performance your experience, maturity; successes and knowledge and political savvy, you chose to run one of the dirtiest, dishonest, sleaziest, insulting, vicious and most incompetent campaign that I am aware of.

    Rather than demonstrating by your presentation your superiority you ran around chest-thumping telling everybody, who cared to listen, that you were “tested” and had the “experience” and did not need “on-the-job training”.

    You chose and an incompetent running mate. You permitted insinuations and insults towards your opponent. You cannot hide your hate and temper in the debates. YOU could have shown that the GOP can be competent and be above the fray. – – – Well, you did not.

    To late now to put on a different mantle – you have shown your true colors.

    If you lose, and it seems that way, only you are to blame.

    October 22, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  4. Debby

    Its not over till all the votes are counted .

    October 22, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  5. Akin

    President BARACK OBAMA


    October 22, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  6. the other jd

    Don't get me wrong...I love that Obama shows as ahead, but there is something wrong with this math...

    Democrats last carried North Carolina in a presidential election in 1976, but the poll suggests that Obama, D-Illinois, has a 4-point margin — 51-37 percent

    October 22, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  7. N.S of Huntsville, Al

    To be honest Obama should be blowing McCain away, McCain is trash with the lid on it, and Pailn dosen't know a thing. So people in the USA get a damm grip. If your voting for McCain because Obama is black you got issues. There is not one thing that I like about McCains plans, not his 5k health plan, not anything.

    October 22, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  8. Bob Indianapolis IN

    The only way to defeat the Rovian Cheat Machine is a nationwide LANDSLIDE! Early voting is going Democrat 2 to 1....

    Caribou Barbie and McSame are going down in flames!

    October 22, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  9. Mari for Obama

    I live in a state that always goes "red"--I just wish the rest of my state would wake up and vote for change!!!

    October 22, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  10. Obama Fan

    McCain is a Lier....Why would anyone vote for someone who is a proven lier? The race is over for the lier.

    October 22, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  11. NoMcSame

    They look like brothers.

    October 22, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  12. Robert in raleigh

    NC is going BLUE. Obama to the white house that's something this country we need. And the war in Iraq ended.....

    October 22, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  13. dennis

    Why should pops and his intern play defense when this ballgame is over. Obama-Bidenx8 years in the whitehouse.

    October 22, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  14. Red, Red WHINE!!

    Such a nice picture! And so accurate!

    Sad part is, I would vote for Bush before I voted for McCain.

    Math Fact:
    McCain has admittedly voted with Bush 90% of the time. Out of pure statistical luck, Bush has been right 10% of the time.
    Conclusion: McCain has been wrong 100% of the time!

    October 22, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |

    Election officials have just announced that all McCain supporters can now vote on Wednesday, November 5th! An entire day just for McCain voters. Pencil it in on your calendar!

    October 22, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  16. Roy

    John McCain & Sarah Palin are not trustworthy just like President Bush & Vice President Cheney.

    October 22, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  17. Darrell

    This fool with no clear agenda talks about how experienced he is with foreign countries and I still do not recall him having been President.He acts like a fool through the economic crisis and expects us to believe his experience would be good to deal with international crisis when he can't even be trusted to pick a VP that is qualified.One thing McCain is good at is lying to the public and running a different camaign every week.

    October 22, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  18. Marilyn

    I went out today and voted. I'm a life-long Democrat and for the first time in my life I voted a straight Republican ticket!!

    October 22, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  19. KJL

    The big difference between McCain and Bush is that McCain is old.

    October 22, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  20. Kate

    In their heart of hearts, Americans believe "as you do unto the least of these my family you do unto me"...and every day in a dozen ways they see more clearly that Obama and Biden are true to this belief and McCain and Palin are not.

    October 22, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  21. Felly

    My friends, McCain and Bush are joined from the hip.

    October 22, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  22. Baze

    Can we vote already?


    October 22, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  23. Don't get it

    I'm in SHOCK with the way McCain has run his campaign. I voted for Gore in 2000, and Bush in 2004. I regret my 2004 vote but ... that's now history. I was "on the fence" for this election, and McCain's shenanigans and dirty politics made me wonder how he'd run his White House. Dividing this great Country is not decent. I'm sickened by his tactics.

    October 22, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  24. dennis

    Debbie, this ballgame is over even before all the votes are counted. Notice how Palin is beginning to distance herself from pops lately? She is setting up for 2016. Have I mentioned that this ballgame is over Deb?

    October 22, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  25. Carlos

    Leave it to Ohio to drag the rest of the country down with it, afer all they have done it twice in a roll

    October 22, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
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