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THE SITUATION ROOM
Election Night in America; Absentee Ballots a Hint of Election Results?; CNN America's Choice 2014
Aired November 4, 2014 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: These are the last moments of a midterm slug fest.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is really important that we regain control of the Senate.
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT: They're really running against the president, aren't they?
ANNOUNCER: This is the last word on a campaign to shake up the U.S. capital and state capitals across the nation.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: South Carolina.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the state of Ohio.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Texas.
ANNOUNCER: This is the last election to shape his final two years in office.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And they will try to divide us and they will try to distract you. Don't buy it!
ANNOUNCER: Tonight, Republicans aim to take back the Senate for the first time since the Bush presidency. It will all come down to about a dozen make-or-break races.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: There is nobody Barack Obama wants to beat worse than Mitch McConnell.
ANNOUNCER: The Senate's top Republican could get a promotion or he could go home if his toughest opponent in decades wins.
ALISON LUNDERGAN GRIMES (D), KENTUCKY SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: I don't know whether to call Senator McConnell senator no show, senator gridlock or senator shutdown.
ANNOUNCER: It's a night of razor-close contests.
SEN. JEANNE SHAHEEN (D), NEW HAMPSHIRE: I don't think Scott Brown really understands New Hampshire.
SCOTT BROWN (R), FORMER U.S. SENATOR: You see on her sign she is putting New Hampshire first. Since when?
ANNOUNCER: Colorful personalities.
JONI ERNST (R), IOWA SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: I grew up castrating hogs on an Iowa farm.
ANNOUNCER: Bitter grudge matches.
GOV. RICK SCOTT (R), FLORIDA: This guy ran away from the state and he wants his job back?
CHARLIE CRIST (D), FLORIDA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: We want to may know Florida Scott-free.
ANNOUNCER: And some of the biggest names in politics poised to run for the presidency.
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: I believe with all may heart that there midterm election is a crucial one.
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: The good thing about this election is it is a really clear choice.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN's coverage of election night in America, the fight for Congress, the battles for governor and the issues Americans care about most.
MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: These races are going to be unbelievably tight.
ANNOUNCER: The people are choosing. The world is watching. And anything is possible until the last vote.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: It's election night in America.
And we want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world to a special edition of THE SITUATION ROOM.
I'm Wolf Blitzer in the CNN Election Center. We're here in Washington, D.C. We're counting down to the first results coming in. The countdown is under way. And the power to control the United States Senate is up for grabs right now.
Three dozen Senate seats are at stake tonight, but only 13 key races will determine if Republicans take control of the Senate or if Democrats stay in charge. We are going to focus in on those races all night long. We're standing by for the first raw votes to come in from Kentucky, where many polling places are now closed.
Here's what we're looking for in this high-profile Senate race. Will a young Democrat, Alison Lundergan Grimes, defeat the Senate's most powerful Republican? Mitch McConnell hopes to hang on and get a new title, majority leader, if, if his party wins Senate control. This is the magic number for Republicans tonight. They need a net
gain of six seats to win a majority of 51 and reclaim control of the Senate. We're counting down to the first major round of poll closings in Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, South Carolina, Vermont, and Virginia. And we're getting in new exit poll information right now.
Let's check in with John King. He's over at the magic wall. He's got those numbers -- John.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And, Wolf, as we wait for more raw votes, let's just give people a sense of the mood of the electorate tonight and who is voting.
And these are from our national exit polls. We will go into some of these battleground states a bit later in the night. But across the country tonight, what's the ideology of the electorate? The largest chunk of the electorate described themselves as moderates as they voted today, perhaps a slight advantage for Republicans in the electorate in that 36 percent say conservative, only 23 percent liberal.
But, as always in competitive elections, the fight for the middle, the moderate votes, we will watch how that plays out as we end up going state by state through polls and through the map. The most important issue facing the country today, by far, the economy was the winner at 45 percent. Health care came in second at 25 percent, but jobs and the economy on the mind of most voters as they cast their ballots today for the House and for Senate and for their governor's races back home.
Are you worried about economic conditions? This is a bad number for the president, in the sense that referendum -- midterm normally a referendum on the president; 78 percent say they are worried about economic conditions in the country today, this despite an effort by the president late in the campaign to say, hey, look at the improving unemployment numbers. Look at some other economic statistics.
But Americans clearly worried about the economy. How is your family doing? Your personal family situation? About half of Americans, 46 percent, say they're doing about the same, 25 percent say worse, 28 percent better. You see a divide there on the big question facing the electorate, the economy.
One more, Wolf, as you play this out. How is the president handling his job? Pretty consistent with the late national polls before the election -- 54 percent disapproving of the president. The president is obviously the big issue in a midterm election. But before we end here, just want to give you one thing. He is not the only one on the ballot.
Remember, people are deciding to keep a Republican House, maybe hand the Senate to the Republicans. What do you think of Republican leaders in Congress? Well, the president's numbers aren't great. That's not great either; 60 percent say they're angry or dissatisfied with the Republican leadership in Congress, this in a year that should be a Republican year, Wolf, anger, dissatisfaction at the Republican leadership.
We will see if that cuts into what should be a good night for them because of the favorable conditions. That anger doesn't help.
BLITZER: All right, John, thanks very much.
We're just getting in the first real poll numbers coming in from the critically important state of Kentucky. Let me show you what we have right now. It's very, very early, Mitch McConnell with an impressive lead, 66 percent to 32 percent for Alison Lundergan Grimes. But it is only 1 percent of the vote, if that, in right now. It's going to be a much longer night before we can make any projection.
All of the states, of the states' polls will be closing at the top of the hour, 7:00. That's when we will able to share exit poll results. We won't do that until then. But you can see the first poll number are just beginning to come in.
Let's check in with Joe Johns. He is over in Lexington, Kentucky, watching what is going on.
What are you satisfying, Joe?
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Wolf, this is Fayette County, Kentucky, the clerk's office.
It is in the heart of Lexington. And what you're looking at right now is a line of people who are waiting for the first returns to start coming in. Now, this is what is going to happen. As you can see here, this is a computer card. It's a disk.
All of the information from all the more than 150 precincts around this area is -- ends up on here. And they bring to it this place in boxes. These ladies get it, put in it those boxes behind them, and then we're off to the races, down here to a computer room that's just some distance away. That's Don Blevins, the county clerk. We're going to hopefully talk to him in just a second.
Around the corner here and to another office. Interesting about Lexington, in 2008, 2012, it went for President Obama. The last time Mitch McConnell ran for the Senate, he actually lost this county. This is a computer where the disk actually goes in. These folks are sitting at the desk where it's actually plugged in.
They download the results from all the different voting places here around Lexington and then take it to another room just across the way. What they do is upload that to the state mainframe.
With me right now is Don Blevins. He's the county clerk.
I guess the first question or you is, have you seen any results yet?
DON BLEVINS, FAYETTE COUNTY CLERK: Not yet. We're waiting. Any second now, we will have the absentee results, and we will be able to give you all some numbers.
JOHNS: How many people voted absentee, Don?
BLEVINS: About 2,200 in-office and another 1,300 mail-in.
JOHNS: All right. So, in just a couple minutes, hopefully, we will start seeing the absentees and then shortly after that, we're going to start seeing things come in.
BLEVINS: We will see all the election officers bring the results in, yes.
JOHNS: Good enough.
All right, so we're waiting for news here, Wolf. And hopefully just in the next few minutes, we will have some of the very first results in the country coming out of Lexington, Kentucky -- back to you.
BLITZER: As soon as we get those results, we will check back with you. Joe, thanks very much.
I want to check with Anderson right now for more -- Anderson.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. We're obviously watching this race very closely in Kentucky.
I want to go over to our Brianna Keilar, who is standing by at McConnell headquarters. Also, Deborah Feyerick is at Lundergan Grimes' headquarters.
Brianna, let's start with you. How is the mood there?
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Anderson.
McConnell aides, I will tell you, are very comfortable and confident here with the lead. The polls show they are enjoying several points. Mitch McConnell is in the building here at this Marriott in eastern Louisville. He has done earlier out of the view of cameras a walk- through of this barroom, where he is expecting to give a victory speech.
He has a concession speech written, but it has been shelved, I'm told. He is very much expecting to give that victory speech. At the same time, his contender, or his opponent, Alison Lundergan Grimes, is promising an upset. She says there is going to be a surprise. She is saying that voter turnout has been high, but the question is would it really be high enough to make a difference?
It certainly would be quite a surprise to many around Mitch McConnell. I overheard one aide earlier joking about a celebratory run on bourbon here at the hotel bar -- Anderson.
COOPER: And Deb Feyerick standing by at Grimes headquarters, have you heard from the candidate today?
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we have. As a matter of fact, Alison Grimes making her way here. We spoke to
the campaign manager just a short time ago and he reemphasizes, expect a possible surprise. Keep in mind this race has been a statistical dead heat for much of it. The 35-year-old lawyer, also Kentucky's secretary of state, has really given the incumbent, Mitch McConnell, a run for his money.
Now, the campaign manager says one of the strengths that they're banking is their grassroots campaign, 50 field offices, 6,000 workers out today, knocking on doors, some of them still out there, because the polls close at 7:00 in half of this state. They said that they're not slowing down, that even though they have been outspent 3-1, according to their statistics, they believe that if Alison Grimes loses, it is not because of her quality as a candidate, but because they have simply been outspent.
We're told she is on her way here. They're expecting to have a big outdoor event. You can see the band behind me, a lot of supporters making their way here as well -- Anderson.
COOPER: All right, Deb Feyerick, thanks very much.
I want to toss it back to John King and Wolf for a closer look at what is going on in Kentucky.
BLITZER: It is -- obviously, only 1 percent of the vote is in, but we're beginning to see a little bit of what's going on. Show us what you see.
KING: What you see so far tells me, from knowing the state, that it is filling in the way we expect it to fill I.
The question is, are the margins enough? You are seeing these red counties. You also see the total vote count. We're talking about a little over 5,000 -- a little under 5,000 people here. Mitch McConnell running ahead so far, but hold the phone. The people live in -- where Joe Johns just was in Jefferson County, you have him here, and Fayette County down here.
These are the two big places for Alison Grimes. She has to run it up in Jefferson County and Fayette County. That's where you have large population centers, the big cities, also the African-American base of the party. But what Mitch McConnell needs to do, he likes to tell people the smaller the town, the better I do.
And that's what he's talking about, little places like this. You go out to Floyd County, it's only -- not even 1 percent of the state population. See, that's a pretty close race right now right there. So in these small towns, he needs run it up. That's the big one.
There will be some places where Alison Grimes does OK out here in coal country, but this is more what Mitch McConnell wants. Again, I know it's only 100 votes, right? But this is what he needs in small towns like this, as you get into the hundreds and higher up into the thousands. Let's go back in time. Mitch McConnell always has close races, always
has close races. This one, 53 percent back in 2008 against Bruce Lunsford at 47 percent. Let's just take the math. Let's just take this and draw.
Look at where he has to be red. He has to be red all down in here. And it has to be that way. It has to be this way in the rural Kentucky. He has to run up huge numbers, because the Democrat will get big numbers here. I just want to show you.
I will come off this and show you here. We just talked about Jefferson County. Bruce Lunsford at 56 percent. Alison Grimes has to match or better that number, and not just the percentage. She has to turn out the vote when you get to that county.
Where I just talked about here down in here in Fayette County, Bruce Lunsford at 54 percent. Alison Grimes probably even has to do better than that, because not just the percentage, Wolf. She has to run up the math and Mitch McConnell has to in these rural areas not only win them all, but win them by good margins, because they're relatively small.
Let's just go back and look where are. Again, we have got a long way to go. But these places are filling in as you would expect. And if these ones over here -- there's big a big fight down here, Eastern Kentucky, the coal county here, the unions are for Alison Grimes. Obama -- I'm sorry -- the McConnell campaign has said Alison Grimes would come to Washington and help President Obama hurt the coal industry in the energy fight.
Watch these small counties down here in coal country in the east. See if Mitch McConnell can run it up in these tiny counties here. The key for Alison Grimes, if she is to have a chance here, is to run it up big in Louisville and Lexington.
We don't have any votes there yet as we come back to 2014, a long way to count, just starting. There's your first blue county starting to come in in the Frankfort area, Franklin county, but just a tiny percentage of the vote. We're going to be at this a while.
BLITZER: Yes, the numbers are just coming in from those polls that are closed in Kentucky. All of the polls will be closed in Kentucky at the top of the hour, 7:00 Eastern. Then we will have a better sense of what's going. We will also have some exit poll information. We will be able to share with our viewers as well.
In the meantime, Anderson, let's go back to you.
COOPER: Let's talk more about Kentucky with our panel, Jake Tapper, also David Gergen, and chief political analyst Gloria Borger.
Why has this race been close? If this is a Republican year in a Republican state?
BORGER: A red state, red -- well, it's anti-Washington vs. anti- Obama.
Mitch McConnell has been a fixture in Washington for three decades. People hate Washington. And it is the same in Kentucky as it is everywhere else in the country. And the question is, between, you know, Grimes, he has attached her to Obama at the hip, so it is kind of the lesser of two evils for these voters.
And he could just survive it also because he is going around the state saying, look, I'm going to have a lot of authority, I'm going to have a lot of power, particularly if we take over the Senate. I can do things for this state. But he did have very high negative ratings in the state.
BORGER: This is not a really well-liked fellow.
COOPER: Do we know which is a more powerful sentiment? Anti-Obama or anti-incumbent?
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: That's the question.
BORGER: That's the question of the evening, right?
TAPPER: But the anti-incumbent sentiment is real. I have been talking to consultants on the ground who say the anti-Obama thing is very really, but there's also an anti-incumbent sentiment out there.
But you have to also keep in mind how good Mitch McConnell is at winning elections, even though he is not particularly popular in his state, not particularly liked in his state. He is usually actually such a negative attacker as a candidate.
I believe it is something like four out of his last five opponents never ran for office again. They were so damaged. Now, he had a different challenge with this because Alison Lundergan Grimes is a likable young woman. It posed some challenges. But he has been effective at tying her to Obama, who is very, very unpopular in Kentucky.
BORGER: She wouldn't say if she voted for Obama. Remember that? Yes.
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Kentucky is also an unusual state.
And it's not unique, but it does have a strong progressive tradition, as well as its conservative tradition. There is a Democratic governor there, for example, who really was very aggressive about putting Obamacare into place, had more success than almost any other governor in the country. It has pushed education reform. Both left and right, it pushed
education reform there in various ways. There are additional elements at play into this. One has to be in Kentucky to -- it's a little bit like North Carolina. You can find both traditions in the state.
BORGER: But I think you see from looking at these exit polls that people in this state, just like all over the country, are unhappy with Washington. They're unhappy with the president.
And I think Mitch McConnell made -- just tied her directly to President Obama and did that very well. And then she had some unforced errors herself.
COOPER: If Mitch McConnell wins, is this a message to work with President Obama? To compromise? Or is it a message to be obstructionists?
BORGER: I don't think we know yet.
GERGEN: I think that's -- there are two or three big questions that hang over this election. And one of them is, how do both parties frame it after it is over? How do they frame the next two years? What are their commitments? What do they decide the dynamic is?
A lot depends on how this comes out tonight. And we will know a lot.
COOPER: You're being optimist that it's going to come out tonight, by the way.
GERGEN: That's probably right. It could be a very long --
BORGER: But we heard Joe Biden yesterday in his prebuttal say, we want to compromise.
COOPER: I like that word.
Our first chance to make a projection in Kentucky is coming up soon, as we count down to the top of the next hour. We're looking ahead also to possible roadblocks for Republicans. In Kansas, a veteran senator is threatened. We will tell you why his opponent could be the decider in the battle for Senate control.
We will be right back.
BLITZER: Check this out. This is the live picture coming in from our ballot cam in Manchester, New Hampshire. People are getting ready to vote, are still voting over there, obviously a critically important race. New Hampshire one of 13 states with key Senate battles under way.
These states will be crucial in deciding whether Republicans take back control of the United States Senate.
Let's look at some of the -- at the three key races, early races that could create major roadblocks for the Republicans. The Senate matchups in Georgia, Louisiana and Kansas, they are competitive.
Anderson, they make take some unusual turns.
COOPER: No doubt about that, Wolf.
I want to talk about that with the best political team on television. We have correspondents spread across the entire country tonight, the key races.
Kyra Phillips is in Georgia. She is at the headquarters of the Republican Senate candidate David Perdue.
Kyra, what are you hearing about the possibility of runoff?
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, well, let me tell you, if you talk to the communications director for David Perdue, she says, no way, there's not going to be a runoff.
She believes they can take it 50 plus one and it will not get to that point. But I got tell you, this race, there is a slim lead in the final stretch. And according to David Perdue's communications director, he has been working the phones today, making personal call to voters to get out and vote. He's been thanking people personally for already voting for him.
Within the past two weeks, within 10 days, actually, he's hit 65 cities in Georgia, Anderson. Now, as you know, Michelle Nunn has been very competitive, hammering him on outsourcing. And that's where we really saw a change-up in this race.
Republicans thought they could win this easily and now it is in play. We're talking, of course, about the control of the Senate here.
Governor, former Governor Mike Huckabee from Arkansas said if he doesn't get this Senate seat, not just bad for Georgia, but America. And with an unemployment rate of 8 percent, nearly 8 percent, jobs is everything and it is changing the face of this race. We will see what happens -- Anderson.
COOPER: Right. Kyra Phillips, thanks very much.
Obviously, the other state where a runoff is very possible and very likely is Louisiana.
Ed Lavandera is covering the Republican Senate challenger, Bill Cassidy.
What are you hearing today?
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Anderson.
Everyone here at the Cassidy campaign in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, bracing for a possible runoff that will be needed a month from now in early December. Let me explain to you why. There is actually a third candidate, a Republican candidate, a man by the name of Rob Maness. He has garnered the support of the Tea Party and Sarah Palin and has really taken away some of the votes from Bill Cassidy.
According to the latest CNN polls in the state, Mary Landrieu, who is the three-term incumbent senator from the state of Louisiana, who is in a very close fight here, obviously, no one here -- doesn't think they will break that 50 percent mark here tonight. So that is what people will be watching very closely. You have to get 50 percent plus one vote to avoid the runoff.
At this point, all of the polling and a lot of the conversation I have had with several Republican folks around here in Baton Rouge think that this will be headed to a runoff in about a month -- Anderson.
COOPER: All right, most likely. Ed Lavandera, thanks very much for that.
We want to go to Kansas. A fascinating race in Kansas. Jim Sciutto is at the headquarters of the independent Senate candidate, Greg Orman.
Jim, a tough day for Greg Orman. You had Vice President Biden indicating that perhaps Greg Orman would caucus with Democrats if he in fact he is elected to the Senate. Orman's campaign very quick response to that.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: You're right. Quick to respond, quick, Anderson, to dismiss it, saying in a statement to CNN that Greg has never in fact spoken to the vice president before, and then returning to a consistent message from the Orman campaign throughout saying that he is not going to Washington to represent Democrats or Republicans, but the people of Kansas.
And that message, frankly, has had some resonance here with voters in Kansas, like many Americans, CNN polling showing six in 10 Americans dissatisfied with Congress, even angry with Congress, that dysfunction feeding his campaign.
On the other side, Senator Pat Roberts being fed by that other big number we're seeing in CNN polling. That's six in 10 Americans dissatisfied or angry with President Obama and it's Senator Pat Roberts' argument that Greg Orman is in fact a closet Democrat, and those comments from Vice President Biden today not helping that argument. But I'll tell you one more thing here, Anderson. Being in Kansas,
this is normally a redder-than-red state. Now you have really a remarkable race here. An independent taking this 34-year Capitol Hill veteran Roberts to the wire here and a sense from voters here that they know that their voice is being heard tonight. They're making a difference and that turnout, both sides hoping the turnout will help push them over the wire -- Anderson.
COOPER: Two races we will be watching throughout this very long night, indeed. Jim Sciutto, thanks for that.
Let's go back to Wolf looking at some of the scenarios that could play out over the next several hours -- Wolf.
BLITZER: I want to go to Tom Foreman, Anderson. Tom Foreman is in our virtual Senate studio right now taking a close look.
This could be exciting, could be wild indeed, what we're about to see, Tom.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It really could, Wolf, because of these wild cards you're talking about.
We just mentioned Louisiana down there. That could push us into a runoff which could make it impossible to know who is really in charge of this chamber for a while. Same thing with Georgia. Add in what Jim Sciutto was talking about, Kansas, the Sunflower State. There of course you do have the incumbent, Pat Roberts, in the fight for his life against an independent when you look at Greg Orman.
And Orman indeed has not been willing to say whether he would caucus with, vote with the Republicans over here or jump across the aisle and vote with the Democrats over there. Another independent to keep in mind, Angus King from Maine. He is not even up for election right now and he has voted with the Democrats in the past, but he has suggested that if this dust settles after all of this, and he feels it is better for Maine, he could jump over to the Republican side, all of which could make it very hard even when the voting is done tonight, Wolf, to know which party is in charge of this chamber.
BLITZER: It's amazing. Tom, this could also come down to a 50/50 tie, 100 members in the U.S. Senate. Explain to our viewers what that would mean.
FOREMAN: In one sentence, it means the Democrats win.
Republicans have to have 51 to control this chamber. Democrats only need 50 because of that man, Joe Biden. Remember, by law, if you have an evenly divide Senate, the vice president can cast the deciding vote. That means he could help push legislation the White House wants. He could help push issues the Democrats care about and frankly he could put himself in a very powerful position heading into the 2016 presidential race -- Wolf.
BLITZER: As you know, the Republicans, they're almost certainly going to be holing on to the House, maybe even gaining some seats in the House of Representatives. Why do many so many political analysts call that such a very, very sure or safe bet?
FOREMAN: Let's travel across the Rotunda here to the U.S. House of Representatives and look at the math, because that's what favors the Republicans so heavily.
Let's go up high here and take a look at it. They have 234 seats in red, the Democrats only 201. That's a steep climb under any circumstances to gain back that and get the advantage. But we have also looked at the details of these races. And if you look at all of the polling out there, you look at the past voting trends and you look at the demographics, who shows up for midterm elections, all of that suggests, while it is not impossible for the Democrats to retake this chamber, it is really mathematically improbable -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Tom. We will be staying in very close touch with you throughout the night.
I want to take a look at some raw votes coming in from the state of Kentucky. Right now, once again, very, very early. Only 1 percent of the vote is in. Mitch McConnell, the minority leader in the Senate, has 60 percent, 38 percent, Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Democrat, up by almost 3,000 votes. But it is very, very early.
John, you're taking a very close look at this Kentucky race because it is so, so important.
KING: Only 1 percent of the vote in. So, let's be careful and let's be cautious, but it is the beginning of the raw votes. We're still waiting for the entire state to be closed, 60 percent to 38 percent. So an early lead for Mitch McConnell.
Guess what? We knew that was going to happen. That's one of the things to calm down. You get the smaller rural counties. They're reporting quickly. He is going to be ahead. That's no surprise. It is interesting to watch -- just go back to his last race. Remember this red down in here. In his last race, his Democratic candidate did do well in these counties right down here.
This was a big competition in the coal counties of Eastern Kentucky, so let's see what happens. Again, even in these counties, just a small smattering of the votes in. So, this by no means that it is red no means it's going to stay red as we get through the night.
But if you're at McConnell headquarters and you're looking at the very, very early results, you're happy watching this fill in. But you're not going to get very happy and no one at the Grimes headquarters will get overly concerned just yet until we start to get the results here.
The largest county in the state is Jefferson County. That's where Louisville is. This is a Democratic stronghold. It's absolutely critical that Alison Grimes gets a big margin here. The African- American vote is critical there. There's been some issues there, because she has not said whether she voted for President Obama last time. African-American politicians get it. They say it is a strategy. But
on the street -- I was there. Some rank and file, average joes say they didn't like that all that much. And then another big place to look is down here in Fayette County. Joe Johns was talking about this earlier. It's about 7 percent of the population, again, a huge Democratic center. She has to get big votes there.
BLITZER: You know what, John? Hold on for a moment, because Joe Johns is getting some other votes, some more votes coming in from Lexington.
What are you seeing over there, Joe?
BLITZER: Hold on one second. We're having trouble connecting with Joe Johns. We will reconnect with him. He is going to be getting some more votes even before we get the official votes. He is going to be getting those votes in from Lexington.
But this is -- we can't overemphasize how important Kentucky is tonight.
KING: And these two cities. Joe is in Lexington. Louisville is the other one. Let me just show you. I want to go back in time.
Mitch McConnell again normally has close races. He won 53 percent statewide. Last time, Mitch McConnell did fairly well in Fayette County. I was in Fayette County about a week ago, three or four days ago, actually.
What the Democrats there were saying is they would do better than this tonight. They promised they would do better than this.
BLITZER: All right, hold on. I think we have reconnected with Joe.
Joe, go ahead. Tell us the numbers you're getting, Joe. Can you hear me OK?
JOHNS: OK. OK.
Yes, Wolf, I can hear you well now.
Don Blevins, tell us about the absentee results here in Fayette County, the Lexington area of Kentucky
BLEVINS: I know that most of the nation is interested in our Senate race.
So Alison Lundergan Grimes leads the race at this point with 1,815 votes to Mitch McConnell's 1,622. That's a 52 to 46 percent --
JOHNS: Normally, when you get absentee ballots in, do you see more Republicans, more Democrats or does it just depend?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Historically we tend to see more Republicans turn out for absentee votes. This election it appears like Democrats have turned out some. JOHNS: All right. Thanks so much, Don Blevitz (ph). And we will be
looking for the first results as they walk in the door right here.
Wolf, back to you.
BLITZER: All right. I don't know what that means, John, but she's got a slight little lead over there with these absentee ballots that are just coming in.
KING: A slight lead there with those absentee ballots. I pulled way out from the state. Let me come back in. I need to move this out of the way a little bit. Yes, a slight lead. I want to tell you this. In Fayette County when I was there, again this is right here. We don't have any official votes according to the system yet. So that's the value of having reporters on the ground. You get the ballots. So a slight lead right there. We've got about 200 votes, the absentee ballots.
When I was here just the other day, local Democrats said that they -- at the end of the night, they think her margin has to be above 17,000 votes in this county. They said if she is under 17,000 margin just in this county, they don't think they can win statewide. That's how hard they've worked this.
Remember, the Obama campaign, the team that worked in Terry McAuliffe's campaign, the Virginia governor's race, the data team, they're working this. They do this micro targeting. They identify their voters. And they have a pretty good sense from the model of how many people they need to turn out statewide and in this county. And this I was told by those Democrats, watch that number at the end of the night. If Alison Grimes is above 17,000, the margin with Mitch McConnell, they think she has a shot to win. If she's below it, they think she does not.
And I just want to take this back and show you, as the map fills in, nothing to write home about yet. But if you're watching it at home, if you go along with the Magic Wall, this is McConnell's winning. As he always tells people in the state, the smaller the town, the better I do. You pull out to a place like this, this is what he needs to do with these small towns. This is a tiny percent, a couple more thousand people will vote here. But until we get the cities, we're just counting early. But if you're at McConnell headquarters, you're looking at that; you're thinking so far so good, but you're not cracking open the bourbon yet.
BLITZER: Yes. Alison Grimes, she really didn't want the president of the United States to come into Kentucky. She didn't even say she voted for the president of the United States. That Obama factor is something we're going to be looking at throughout the night.
I want to go to Anderson right now.
KING: This is it right here.
BLITZER: Anderson, you've got some more on what's going on over there? COOPER: I like as soon as you say bourbon, you toss it to me. I
would not mind a little bourbon. I want to talk to our political contributors, Van Jones, Alex Castellanos, Stephanie Cutter, and Newt Gingrich. Want to talk about whether or not this election is a referendum for President Obama.
But Alex, while John and Wolf were talking, you said that you think Grimes actually started too early.
CASTELLANOS: She's an outsider in a year when everyone hates Washington. Mitch McConnell is the leader of Washington, the place everyone hates. You would have thought that a fresh face would do -- you know, blow him off the board.
COOPER: Although it is a Republican state.
CASTELLANOS: Although it's a Republican state. But still, what happened? She got out there so early in this campaign. The campaign has been so long and nasty that the outsider lost her freshness. The old saying is you roll around in the mud with a pig, you get mud on yourself, and the pig likes it.
COOPER: You know that every election cycle, you have some animal analogy.
CASTELLANOS: Well, Wolf said it was the year of the animal.
COOPER: Rabbits last year.
CASTELLANOS: You know, she -- Karl Rove's group, Crossroads, went into that state early and kind of flushed her out a little bit. That's earlier than she should have.
COOPER: OK. I just want to quickly go to Joe Johns in Lexington. Joe, what are you hearing?
Joe Johns in Lexington, you're on the air. What are you hearing, Joe?
And we'll come back to Joe, because we've got to figure that out.
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: The first question you asked is, is this a referendum on Obama? And yes and no. The Republicans want it to be. National media wants it to be. But if it's really just the referendum on Obama, then why are we in a fist fight in Kansas? Why are we in a fist fight in Georgia? Why haven't they swept North Carolina?
It's a double referendum. On the ground -- you talk to people on the ground. They are saying -- listen, we saw what happens when the Tea Party takes over in Kansas, and we don't like it. We saw what happened when the Tea Party takes over in North Carolina. They went after voting rights. They went after women's rights. They fired teachers.
COOPER: So what do you say, they double referendum? JONES: It's a referendum on Tea Party governance at the local level. National conversation is all about Obama. You get down on the ground, people are talking about what these Republican governors and legislators did to them. And that's why you've got a fight. And in Kansas in particular, you have a fight, because they did not like what they saw when the Tea Party took over; and nobody is talking about that.
COOPER: Do you agree with that?
NEWT GINGRICH, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: I think there are some states you need local things. But overall, you're not getting all these states simultaneously moving in this direction just by accident. The fact is, in any off-year election, the president is inevitably a polarizing force. And inevitably, the country has to make a decision about the president.
COOPER: And as you know, President Obama gave an interview today on the radio saying -- essentially blaming the math on this, saying this is probably the worst possible group of states for Democrats since Dwight Eisenhower. And a lot of states being contested, they just tend to vote Republican. Stephanie, your thought?
STEPHANIE CUTTER, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, that's true. Of those Senate races that are up, the president lost 79 percent of them in 2012. And that means something. These are deeply red states. This is not Democratic territory.
You know, as Newt said, sitting presidents tend to lose on the sixth year of their presidency a whole number of seats, both in the Senate and the House. That, combined with the Senate math that we're dealing with, makes it very difficult. But I think it's remarkable that we're talking about competitive races in these deep red states. And there's a reason for that.
COOPER: More talk on this subject in a moment. We could make our first projections very soon. Just minutes from now, the polls close in Kentucky, the race we've been following the last couple minutes, very closely. Can a rising political star help Democrats beat the odds and bring down the Senate's top GOP leader? Stay right here for up-to-the-minute results in the battle for control of the Senate. Be right back.
BLITZER: It's "Election Night in America." Welcome back to the CNN Election Center. We've got some more votes coming in from the important state of Kentucky right now. Two percent of the vote is in. Mitch McConnell maintaining his advantage over Alison Grimes, the Democratic challenger: 60 percent for Mitch McConnell, 38 percent for Alison Grimes. It's now changed a little bit. Two percent of the vote is a small number of votes in, but it's still an impressive majority right there, 58 percent versus 40 percent.
John King is taking a closer look at Kentucky. We're getting -- we're beginning, even though it's only 2 percent, we're beginning to get a little indication from some key areas of that state.
KING: Beginning. If you're the first state to close your polls, you're the first that shows some colors on our brand-new Magic Wall. So that's good. We'll get to the math in a minute.
But let's look at the mood of the Kentucky electorate, because as the folks were talking about earlier, this has been a nasty race.
Forty-five percent of those voting today in Kentucky have a favorable opinion of their Democratic candidate, Alison Grimes. More than half, 52 percent, have an unfavorable opinion. So you might think, well, there's a clue. McConnell's doing pretty well, right? Well, not exactly. Exactly the same: 45 percent have a favorable view of Mitch McConnell; 52 percent have an unfavorable view of Mitch McConnell. So somebody who they view unfavorably is going to win an election tonight in Kentucky.
Now, we don't know how this breaks down, but this has been a huge fight. Mitch McConnell would be the majority leader if Republicans take control of the Senate and he wins. Alison Grimes has been saying no, send a Democrat to Washington. Mitch McConnell she calls Dr. Gridlock. Eighty-eight percent, nearly nine in ten of the voters today, said control of the United States Senate was important to their vote. Once all the polls close, we can show you how this breaks down, how they votes. But that's a fascinating number there, Wolf.
Let's just come over and look at the map as it fills in. Again, we are very early on here, and I'll bet you -- I'll be you whatever you want to bet Mitch McConnell's not going to win, if he wins, by 20 points. This will be a close race, regardless of who wins in the end.
Two percent of the votes coming in so far. Again, if you're the McConnell campaign, this is not definite; this is not final. This is just 1 or 2 percent of the vote in a small county. But if this area of the state fills in red and stays red, Mitch McConnell will win the election. She needs to do some damage down here in coal country in eastern Kentucky. This has been a major fight. They're small counties, but they matter. Because Mitch McConnell is going to win out here.
I'll go back in time to show you his 2000 race to show you what I mean. 2008 race, excuse me. Mitch McConnell is going to run it up across here in the center part of the state. What Alison Grimes has to do -- and we're beginning to see some of these votes come in -- she has to run it up here. This is Fayette County, about 7 percent of the state population. She probably needs to do a little better than that percentage-wise, but the early number, just the first votes coming in -- Joe Johns just brought us these. These are the absentee votes, 52- 47. She needs to stretch that out there.
The next key place for her is over here in Louisville, a big county. Nearly -- a little more than 17 percent of the state population. She needs to be 55 percent or above there. Plus in math. Not just the percentages; run up the map.
The president was the deciding -- the defining issue in this race. I just want to show you why Mitch McConnell campaigned so aggressively on the theme "a vote for Alison Grimes is a vote for Barack Obama." That's what he said, over and over and over again. Because look at this. This is the 2012 race. One, two, three, four; 122 counties in the state of Kentucky; 122. The president in his reelection campaign carried four.
So, that Mitch McConnell is in a close race, even, is why Democrats are saying he's unpopular, too. This is -- yes, the major issue was the disapproval of the president, but McConnell had a very stiff head wind of anger, dissatisfaction with the Republican leadership in Congress, of which he is one of them.
BLITZER: In 2012 the president was reelected. But in Kentucky, not so much. It didn't look like he had a close race, 61 percent over there for Mitt Romney. Explains why she, Alison Grimes, running away from the president during this election cycle.
Stand by. Once again tonight, you can keep tabs of -- on the control of the U.S. Senate in a very, very cool way and only here on CNN. It's back. We're talking about the Empire State Building. This year in honor of election day, the top of the building will resemble an American flag. Now take a close look at the top, the mast. It will be following CNN's official Senate count. As we make predictions, those red and blue columns will rise throughout the night: blue for the Democrats, obviously; red for the Republicans.
Check this out. If the Democrats maintain their majority in the United States Senate, the building will flash in blue. If the Republicans take control, it will flash bright red. New Yorkers will be able to look up and see the results throughout the night. The rest of the nation can see it only here on CNN.
Anderson, you're a New Yorker. How cool is that?
COOPER: That's not one of those virtual reality things?
COOPER: That's actual reality?
BLITZER: That's the real thing.
COOPER: Wow, that's cool. I want to know how we arranged that. But I guess that's a longer story.
A lot to talk about. Why tonight matters, how important and actually what might change in Washington. We'll talk about that with Jake Tapper, David Gergen, Gloria Berger. David, before we get to that, though, you took issue with something that President Obama said today in an interview, essentially blaming the map for the challenges face -- the Democrats are facing.
DAVID GERGEN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I was surprised that some of my Democratic friends about supporting the president, saying, look, it's bad -- is it a bad area for that? Yes. But every president goes through this. I think it would be just
really wrong and very, very discouraging if the message that President Obama takes out of this tonight, has nothing to do with his governance, has nothing to do with his performance, his key (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Rather, it's just bad geography.
COOPER: So what message do you think he should take?
GERGEN: I think he needs to take what realistic presidents do, and they sort of say, "I've got some problems here. I need to see if I can get a new dynamic with the Republicans. They control the Senate. Let's test them out again on immigration. Let's test them on tax reform, let's test them on trade and see if we can make some deals.
That's what they did with Newt Gingrich here. You remember that well with Bill Clinton. They tested things out; they got big things done.
But the other thing is, you know, he's got to look at his team. He's got to think about --
COOPER: We're hearing a lot of stories. Right there, Jake.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Two points. One is you can make that argument about some of the states. Certainly, Alaska is not a friendly satellite Democrats. Certainly, some of the other states, Montana, West Virginia, South Dakota, not friendly to Democrats, generally speaking.
But look at a state like Iowa.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Right.
TAPPER: Or a state like New Hampshire, or a state like Colorado. These are states --
BORGER: Or Arkansas.
TAPPER: These are states that President Obama won twice. And they are competitive races, and it's very unlikely the Democrats are going to win all three of them. So, that's one.
The second point is, a lot of these Democrats or a lot of these states went Democratic when President Obama was very popular. So, you can't really have it both ways. I mean, it's the same math that existed in 2008. Mark Pryor in Arkansas, he didn't even really have an opponent. President Obama was a big help at the top of the ticket but Mark Pryor was very successful in his own right.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: And it was interesting, we heard earlier today from Josh Earnest, White House spokesperson, saying, essentially -- you know, it's the map. You can't read too much into this. But at the same token, he said, but these midterms are incredibly important. I mean, you sort of can't have it both ways.
BORGER: Right, you can't just blame the map. And yes, the midterms are -- COOPER: What would change in Washington?
BORGER: Well, we don't know yet. That's the answer.
If the Republicans controlled the entire Congress, it's a whole new world order.
COOPER: What does it actually mean?
BORGER: Well, we have to see by how much they control the Senate and what they decide to do, and what the president decides.
COOPER: What message they take away from it?
BORGER: As David was saying, I was talking to a senior administration official the other day who said, we are not going to sign their bad bills. Done. Fine. So, you'll see some vetoing of things from the president --
COOPER: But Ted Cruz' president is investigate the president, challenge the president on Obamacare.
COOPER: Do you think that's what most of Republicans will see?
BORGER: Well, they have to decide whether they want to govern, Anderson, because they're looking towards 2016, and if they can't get some stuff done, they have to go to the voters and say, well, you know, we were controlling the Congress and by the way we got nothing back.
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALSYT: I think one of the things about, what's not in this campaign. This is not a Republican Party run that looks like it's owned by the Tea Parties. The Tea Party is an important part of the Republican Party, but they found candidates this year that transcend the Tea Party.
COOPER: Mitch McConnell takes a challenge on his right earlier in the primary --
GERGEN: Exactly. But look at a place like Colorado where Republican Gardner got the endorsement of "The Denver Post", that rarely happened. He got the endorsement because they thought he could work across the aisle. Look at Charlie Baker, running as Republican in Massachusetts, he probably can take that race tonight, take it away from the Democrats. He has run as somebody who is, I'm here to get things done. Not just to push an ideological position.
TAPPER: And there's a lot of Republicans in town are convinced that this is going to be something of a sugar high. They're going to have a good night tonight. They're going to pick up a lot of seats. It was a good map, it was good candidates.
But in 2016, the demographics are going to be a lot tougher, and a lot of these guys are not going to be reelected.
COOPER: All right. A lot to talk about.
Ahead, one of the few chances for Democrats to make gains in the Senate. The polls close in Georgia at the top of the hour. The question is, will the daughter of a legendary U.S. senator follow in her father's footsteps?
Stand by for first projections on this election night in America. Be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER: (INAUDIBLE) is now saying that we will pick up a net of 50 seats in the House.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), CALIFORNIA: Today, we have made history.
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), OHIO: It's clear tonight who the winners really are, and that is the American people.
SEN. HARRY REID (D), NEVADA: Let's come together. We know what the issues are, let's solve them.
BOEHNER: We will never let you down. God bless you. And God bless our country.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: We're about to learn the first winners and losers of this important mid-term election.
COOPER: We're heading into the kickoff round of poll closing so buckle up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: Just moments from now, the first chance for Democrats to make gains in the Senate on a night when they are in danger of losing their majority.
ALISON LUNDERGAN GRIMES (D), KENTUCKY SENATE CANDIDATE: Mitch McConnell, he is out of touch, he is out of ideas, he will be out of time.
ANNOUNCER: In Kentucky, a rising star is fighting to take down the Senate's top Republican.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), KENTUCKY: She's the new face for the status quo.
ANNOUNCER: And in Georgia, a daughter of a Senate icon is looking to win back her dad's old seat, in a race against the political novice.
DAVID PERDUE (R), GEORGIA SENATE CANDIDATE: I will prosecute the failed record to Barack Obama.
MICHELLE NUNN (D), GEORGIA SENATE CANDIDATE: Georgians are sick and tired of being sick and tired.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN's coverage of election night in America, the fight for Congress, the battles for governor and the issues Americans care about most.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Republicans in Congress love to say no.
MCCONNELL: Nothing I would like better than for him to have a bad night on November 4th, what do you think about that?
ANNOUNCER: The polls are closing in six states and anything is possible until the last vote.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Live from Washington, it's election night in America. We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer in the CNN Election Center.
We are counting down to the battle of control of the U.S. Senate. All night long we're watching key races in 13 states and those states will decide whether the Republicans take back the Senate or the power stays with the Democrats. Polling places are about to close in Kentucky and Georgia. Two states where Republicans are on the defensive.
Here is what we are looking for right now. In Kentucky, will Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes bring down the Senate's top Republican? Mitch McConnell hopes to survive and be promoted to majority leader if his party wins Senate control.
In Georgia, a win for Democrat Michelle Nunn would be an early setback for Republicans, unless David Purdue keeps the seat in GOP hands.
Republicans need a net gain of six seats to win a majority of 51 and take back the Senate. It will be tougher to reach that goal if they lose in Georgia or Kentucky.
We'll get results very, very soon, when the polls close in Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, South Carolina, Vermont and Virginia.
As we count down to the top of the hour, let's bring in Anderson Cooper -- Anderson.
COOPER: Yes, Wolf, we've got more correspondents, more journalists in the fields than anyone else following all of the key races throughout the night. They are covering the candidates and taking us behind the scenes as the votes are tallied. As we said, polls close in Kentucky in just a few minutes. CNN's
Brianna Keilar is there. She's at Senator Mitch McConnell's headquarters.
They're very optimistic tonight?
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: They are very optimistic. That is exactly the word they used, Anderson. I'm told by an aide who has been up in the suite with Mitch McConnell, we are told he just wrapped a staff with the Kentucky staff and D.C. staff here in Louisville with him.
He is watching the returns come in from -- or he's watching from the suite with his wife and with his top advisors and Kentucky is interesting because it split between two time zones and some of the polls have already closed. Right now, McConnell is watching some of the eastern counties, the bluer counties, hoping that if he doesn't do too poorly, that's a sign of a very good night for him.
COOPER: All right. Brianna Keilar, thanks very much.
Also, polls set to close in Georgia very shortly. We are counting down the results in the Georgia Senate race. The possibility, a very strong possibility of a runoff.
Our Martin Savidge is at the headquarters of Democrat Michelle Nunn -- Martin.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's going to be an exciting night for them, especially, because Michelle Nunn right now, she took a break in the afternoon from the campaigning and decided to go home. She lives very nearby. She's with her children and with her husband. She's having a bite to eat we're being told.
Spoke to her earlier. She's extremely confident not only that she'll do well but that they will win out right. It's important to note that in Georgia, it's one of the states they need 50 percent plus one vote in order to actually win. They are feeling very confident that they will get that tonight.
It should also be pointed out that there was a last-minute push on the radio and you saw some significant political figures, Andrew Young among them, also John Lewis the congressman, and significant political figures, but also big in the African-American community. That is where she hopes to draw a lot of the votes that she'll get tonight that she hopes to put her over the top, Anderson.
COOPER: And, of course, there's a very real possibility of a runoff there. We'll follow that closely. Martin Savidge, thanks very much.
I want to turn things over now to our Jake Tapper, who's with me here in the Election Center -- Jake.
TAPPER: Anderson, thanks so much.
Our ballot cam reporters are in position to give viewers up to the minute election results before anyone else. They're also looking out for problems with the vote count.
Let's go to Kentucky and Georgia, where all polling places are closing just moments from now.
First to Joe Johns. He's in Lexington, Kentucky.
Joe, what can you tell us?
JOE JOHNS, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, looking at what we've got right here, you can see a large crowd of people coming -- a large crowd of people coming into the Lexington, Kentucky precincts. They have the votes in these boxes.
The most important thing here is this -- it is just a computer card. But we're told right now by the county folks is that about 35 precincts have been counted so far and so far, Alison Grimes is ahead, 58 percent to 40 percent. Nonetheless, this is Alison Grimes' home town and there are a lot of those that have not been counted yet.
Back to you.
TAPPER: All right. Joe Johns in Kentucky.
Now, let's go to Georgia and Nick Valencia -- Nick.
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Jake. This is the first step in the ballot-counting process. Behind me, you see these poll workers were here getting ready for the process to happen. All 156 precincts around Gwinnett County will show up here, with these electronic cars, those cars will then go to the election center, where they'll start to get tabulated.
Joe Sorensen, the Gwinnet County spokesman, says we'll start to see the first precincts show up here around 8:00 p.m. And once that happens, let me bring you over there. This is the Georgia board election results and virtually, Jake, in real time, we'll start to see the results show up and with the close Senate race between Michelle Nunn, the Democrat, and David Purdue, the Republican, expected to be down to the wire, we are looking at a very exciting night here in Georgia -- Jake.
TAPPER: All right. Nick, thank you so much.
And as we get the results, we're getting an early read from voters of what is exactly is on there -- what exactly is on your minds.
Let's go to John King. He's got the magic wall -- John.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Jake, let's take a quick look at the mood both in Kentucky and Georgia as we wait for the polls to close.
The president was a big issue in Kentucky, 63 percent of the voters today in that Senate race saying they disapprove how the president is handling his job. Now, you would think that is a big benefit for Mitch McConnell. He said his opponent is too close to the president. But 54 percent are dissatisfied with the Republican leaders in Congress and their incumbent senator, well, he just happens to be one.
So, Kentucky divided, the president is the issue, but so is Mitch McConnell's leadership. The Kentucky electorate is a bit older than it was the last time Mitch McConnell run. That was in 2008. The electorate a bit older, that tends to favor Republicans, older voters, and it's a bit whiter. That tends to favor as well. A slightly smaller nonwhite population than when McConnell ran back in 2008.
Now, let's skip over quickly to the state of Georgia. Are you satisfied? Do you think the government is doing too little or too much, 55 percent in Georgia today, a conservative state, even when they vote for Democrats say the government is doing too much, 55 percent disapprove of how the president is handling his job.
So, that's the mood of the electorate. And when we look at the map, the votes coming in Kentucky are the only votes we have so far as we pull that up and take a look, up to 5 percent in the state of Kentucky, Mitch McConnell with an early lead.
Again, it's quite early on. The thing the McConnell campaign will be most happy about is this area down here. This is normally Democratic areas. You'll see a lot of blue in statewide elections. Mitch McConnell lost a lot of these counties six years ago. It's early but if those hold up, Wolf, Mitch McConnell will be having a solid night in the state of Kentucky.
BLITZER: And we're getting ready for the first polls to be about to close in key states the that the Democrats desperately want. That would be Georgia and Kentucky. Stand by.