November 2nd, 2008
11:20 AM ET
10 years ago

Obama seven points ahead in CNN's final poll

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Obama has a lead in CNN's final poll."]

(CNN) - Two and seven: With two days left until election day, a new national poll suggests that Barack Obama holds a seven-point lead over John McCain in the race for the White House.

In the CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey, released Sunday morning, 53 percent of likely voters say they are backing Obama, a Democratic senator from Illinois, for president, while 46 percent support McCain, a Republican senator from Arizona.

Over the last month, Obama's lead has remained quite steady, ranging from five to nine points in the CNN Poll of Polls, which is an average of the national surveys.

But CNN Polling Director Keating Holland cautions against assuming the election is over.

"Keep in mind that this is not a prediction of the final outcome," Holland said. "That's not an easy task with two full days of campaigning to go in a country in which roughly one in ten voters tend to make up their minds in the last few days."

There are three major third-party candidates that are on the ballot in some states across the nation.

They are Independent Ralph Nader, Libertarian candidate Bob Barr, and Green Party candidate Cynthia McKinney.

When they are factored into the poll, Obama's lead increases by one percentage point, to eight points - 51 percent to 43 percent, with Nader, Barr and McKinney combining for four points.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted Thursday through Saturday, with 1,017 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The surveys' sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

Obama also holds a commanding lead in CNN's Electoral Map.

CNN estimates that if the election were held today, Obama would win states worth 291 electoral votes - more than enough to capture the White House.

McCain would take states worth 157 electoral votes, while states worth a combined total of 90 electoral votes would still be up for grabs. A candidate needs 270 electoral votes to win.

CNN's new poll suggests that a majority of Americans have a favorable view of both presidential candidates, with 61 percent giving a thumbs up for Obama and 56 percent for McCain.

But the same is not true of their running mates, Democratic Sen. Joe Biden and Republican Gov. Sarah Palin.

"Six in ten have a favorable view of Joe Biden, but the public is split right down the middle on Sarah Palin. And Palin's unfavorables have been growing - eight points higher than early October and more than twice as high as they were when she was first introduced to the public in late August,"
Holland said.

Sixty-four percent of those polled say life will be better for most Americans four years from now if Obama is elected, with 53 percent saying life would be better if McCain wins the White House.

"Americans... think an Obama presidency would be better for themselves and their families - six in ten say they are likely to be personally better off in 2012 if Obama is elected; just over half feel that way about a McCain victory," Holland said, adding: "An Obama presidency would face some great
expectations. Most Americans think it's likely that Obama will improve the economy, end the war in Iraq, increase respect for the U.S. in other countries, and reduce the country's dependence on foreign oil if elected."

That difference in public perception on Iraq is striking. Sixty-seven percent say it's likely the U.S will not be at war in Iraq in four years if Obama is elected, with just 47 percent saying the war will be over if McCain wins.

"This is the issue on which people see the clearest difference between the two presidential candidates," says CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider.

McCain's insistence that Obama will raise taxes appears not to be convincing voters: 47 percent of Americans in our poll say their taxes would be lower four years from now under Obama, with just 36 percent saying that McCain would lower their taxes if he is elected.

McCain has one advantage in the poll : 62 percent say it's likely that the country will be safe from terrorism in 2012 with McCain in the White House; the public is evenly divided over whether the U.S. would be safe from terrorism under an Obama administration.

So how does this election compare to the last presidential election?

Four years ago, CNN's last poll before the election suggested George W. Bush was two points ahead of Sen. John Kerry, the Democratic presidential nominee. President Bush ended up winning the popular vote by three points.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (62 Responses)
  1. Barbara - 65 yr old white female in NC

    I'll take the intellect and judgment and expert advisors of this man any day.

    I don't like the erratic, temperamental, divisive, hate-filled messages the McCain campaign has put out. It turned me against John.

    November 2, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  2. Tod in CA

    Hello there, big political establishment which likes to publicly call me a cowardly, atheistic, communistic, probably homosexual terrorist because I don't rabidly support the modern conservative agenda of invading countries and giving away the taxpayers money to insanely rich people.

    ...and good-bye!

    November 2, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  3. Phil in TX

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Dear Gov. Palin,

    I realize this is a little like 'casting pearls before swine [or some other lipsticked porcine creature]' but perhaps you can gain a little insight from this quote:

    We do not see things as THEY are,
    We see things as WE are.

    Hate, racism, fear…

    What do you see now?

    And just for your viewing pleasure, might I suggest you watch an old Andy Griffith movie [probably as unamerican as he is] called 'A Face In The Crowd'.
    Look familiar? Shall we refer to you as Sarah 'Lonesome Rhodes' Palin?

    November 2, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  4. VETS4Obama

    McBush's thoughtful V.P. pick really showed her true colors during the prank call she took! What a complete and total MORON! McSame can blame his defeat in a large part to that power abusing, hate spewing, ignorant piece of eye candy. He has no one to blame but himself! I cannot wait to send her back to her igloo!

    November 2, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  5. Peter (CA)

    Right wing haters, it's time to give it up.

    Obama has run a much smarter campaign, he has used his intellect and those of the people he has around him to show America what he is capable of.

    I know that some of you (those names I keep seeing here over and over) will bash and bash and bash, even when you have nothing to bash. Would you be willing to let it rest even for a couple of days and then judge?

    November 2, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  6. John

    It's so hard to believe McCain is even in the race...With his past participation in the destruction of our economy...and simple math:
    Me first (Palin) + Wealthy first (McCain) = Country Last

    November 2, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  7. Keith

    It feels like CNN has FINALLY started providing unvarnished, unbiased, non-partisan news coverage AND THEN....

    ...why aren't you covering the hilarious story of Palin falling for the most over-the-top fake impression of Nicholas Nicolas Sarkozy by Canadian comedians? She didn't catch on even when he referenced Hustler's "Nailin' Palin" as her biography. She is as obivious as a sack of cement, obviously. This is front page stuff for Yahoo, howcum you guys don't report the news? Too controversial for you?

    November 2, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  8. jason, tx


    November 2, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  9. Texas Teacher

    In an article about polls following a commentary that is closed, an individual made the point that the military is overwhelmingly for McCain in polls. I have to remind people that whether they like it or not the military is under the control of the Bush administration.

    Their phone calls are monitored. Everything they do is monitored... some by necessity if they are in a war zone.... but some by design with the patriot act! These people may vote completely differently, if it is safe for them to do so. Remember in 2004, bags and bags of their absentee voting cards were lost.... LOST?

    Again,at the risk of being redundant, you might call me McCynic?

    We need to get out in numbers too large to dispute for OBAMA, People!

    November 2, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  10. Joe the mechanic.

    And this Republican is Praying for an Obama victory. It is crystal clear that Obama has common sense answers to our failing economic crises and just as clear that McCain does not. Even that other Joe will in truth be better off when Obama wins this election. Buy Stock folks. As soon as Obama wins, the DOW will shoot up to 11000. Take it to the bank.

    November 2, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  11. lisa in AZ

    It feels so close in Arizona and we feel so BLUE "state-ish"....the kids at the u of a are in long lines early voting. Tucson, Pima county, tips the scale enough to elect our beloved Janet Napolitano and we may just do it for Barack Obama. Pheonix, Maricopa county, is neck in neck and it comes down to everybody showing up and voting. WE WANT TO TURN BLUE!!!!

    November 2, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  12. larry in Chillicothe OH

    Just 2 days to victory.

    Teamsters for Obama

    November 2, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
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