November 2nd, 2008
11:20 AM ET
9 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. Mick

    In some european newspaper, today there's the news that the McCain campaign has paid $ 10,000 to Oxford professor Peter Millican to try to show that Obama's biography had been written by William Ayers. I think that's despicable, more so since there's no proof of it. Why CNN does not discuss any of this? It would shed the true light of McCain's campaign, based on lies and the usual, more of the same, Bush like-Republican tricks.

    November 2, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  2. ALD

    We cannot become complacent. Make sure to get to the polls and vote!
    Obama/Biden '08

    November 2, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |

    A little quid pro quo is now in order...

    Time for "real" Americans (Dems, Reps & Indies alike) to give Bush, Chaney, Rove, and the rest of those war criminal, fear, smear, mock and lie fascist-neocon evangelical merchants of toxic slime their due...

    SCREW 'EM ALL and vote Obama/Biden...

    PS: We need war crime trials to start on this rotting lot of anti-American scum – including the Justice Dept. – as soon as Obama is sworn in...

    November 2, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  4. swiftboat my a$$

    It's not over till its Over and don't get to cocky here!!! The ReThug Machine will fight hard till the end ! Let's all get out and vote to make this a landslide.
    No Way , No How, No McBush

    November 2, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  5. Ork

    Wohooo! Let's take it home baby!!

    November 2, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  6. willy

    just to hear her voice[sarah] makes me crinch, let alone the nonsense she is squealing,, awfull ...and the things she stands for ... wow,, I CANT BELIEVE SANE PEOPLE ARE VOTING FOR HER.... or even consider doing so............ vote OBAMA ,, PLEASE

    November 2, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  7. Ruth

    Everyone, PLEASW vot for Obama. Don't let the likes of John McCain get a chance to destroy this country. He is a bitter, grouchy,hot tempered old man who will say anything to get elected.

    November 2, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  8. NB

    Did anyone see Palin's conversation with the fake Sarkozi?
    It is funny plese go to youtube and see.

    November 2, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  9. nate

    In 48 hrs you can change your life and the lives of your children and/or your parents. Hope triumphs over Hate. VOTE Obama.

    November 2, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  10. hn

    Even with the relentless tv ads by RNC, eh? Looks like people are not in mood for personal attacks. With every ad blitz, RNC becomes less relevant than ever.

    November 2, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  11. Dawn two days hopfully we will know who to call Mr. President?

    McCain or Obama your choice....

    November 2, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  12. Dixie AZ

    Hopefully, Obama will prevail. The republicans are now saying that the press has been too negative in coverage of McCain/Palin. I say you reap what you sew. Their whole campaign has been negative with little substance. It took them forever to come up with an economic policy or speak in any positive manner. Now McCain says fight fight fight fight. That's it? My words to you, Sen McCain, if you didn't have to spend so much time defending your poor VP choice, you may have been able to concentrate on policy. You lost me – a former moderate republican- when you chose Palin. Obama 08

    November 2, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  13. Barbara CA

    Senator Obama, I thank you for running a campaign your supporters could be proud. I was proud to support your campaign and I both happy and proud to vote for you as our next President.

    Go Obama/Biden. One man, one vote; so everyone get out there and vote!

    November 2, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  14. mume

    that's what I'm talking about, please just get out and vote on Tuesday and don't just vote, vote for Ma men Obama/Biden

    November 2, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  15. Jerome

    Thats rite- Big Os lead gets bigger and bigger! In a few days we will take this nation back from those right wing nuts and launch in to a new direction! No more poor! No more rich! PEople of color will rise! Al Sharpton's dreams r now becoming reality!

    November 2, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  16. Lavanya

    yay! no more polls?!

    November 2, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  17. David

    McCain now has the hearty endorsement of the most reviled vice President in U.S. history, Dick Cheney. If that doesn't say what's at stake in this election I don't know what would.

    All the socialist, tax and spend, pal with terrorist nonsense that McCain has been throwing lately can't deny and even reinforces the fact that he is nothing more than the Bush / Cheney love child.

    November 2, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  18. Jeremy

    WONDERFUL,lets get out and vote for Obama. We can't fight for Mcain whose Economics/Tax policy is a photocopy of the current one! He is fighting for Wealthy 5% unlike Obama 95%.

    Folks,get out and vote for Obama! Lets bring the change that we urgently need.

    November 2, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  19. Kevin, Rockford, IL

    Who is John McCain? Oh, isn't he that old guy running with Sarah Palin?

    November 2, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  20. Jeff


    What a joke. If McCain won on Tuesday, it wouldn't just be an upset–it'd easily be the biggest, most insane upset of the last 60 years, possibly edging out Truman vs. Dewey. And the last formal poll in THAT election was conducted a full month before Election Day.

    November 2, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  21. Susan in NC

    Come Tuesday, let's all BARACK THE VOTE! Just say NO to the RNC's sleazy, hate-filled attempts to "shock and awe"!

    No Way, No How, No McCain, No Palin, No Bachmann, No Dole!

    Obama/Biden for America!

    November 2, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  22. Joe

    How can 46% of people support McCain? It's insane to think that there are people out there who don't care about the fate of this country and are not mad about the last eight years. I would think that even the most right winged, religious, conservative nut would understand when they're being screwed. This "leadership" that we have so dealt with for so long must end. The secrecy, the lies, the undeniable fact that all of the money was and is continualy being spent without mine or any other voters consent. People need to grow up and stop thinking about themselves and their religion and do what is best for everyone. Vote Obama.

    November 2, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  23. adonna

    Seriously, who REALLY believe there are 9% undecided voters. They are simply not telling or will be voting. 2-3% undecided is realistic at this time, not 9%.

    November 2, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  24. Old white guy for OBAMA

    Folks, even though Obama's lead seems to be holding steady, the Republicans are going to keep up the nasty tactics. In fact, they're going to increase.

    I saw a post earlier about "too many legitimate concerns" about Obama. There are NO legitimate concerns, just smears.

    As contributors, we may need to pony up to the campaign one more time. I don't even have to mention how low the McCain sleazeballs can go.

    November 2, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  25. vote! OBAMA-BIDEN NOV.4th


    November 2, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
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