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U.S. Midterms Just Hours Away; Trump's Approval Rating Plummets; Racist Ad Taken Out by Media Networks; North Korea Wants U.S. Sanctions to be Removed; Iran's Economy Hurt by Latest U.S. Sanctions. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired November 6, 2018 - 03:00   ET


[03:00:00] ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN HOST: I'm Rosemary Church.

U.S. President Donald Trump is not on the ballot in Tuesday's midterm elections. But the first two years of his presidency are. And voters are turning out in record numbers. The president wrapped up a three- state campaign swing Monday focusing on his hardline anti-immigration message. A source tells CNN he hated an ad released last week touting his economic success, though he bragged about how his party creates jobs.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: But the key is you have to go out to vote. Because in a sense I am on the ticket.

The contrast in this election could not be more clear. Democrats produce mobs. Republicans produce jobs.


CHURCH: A new CNN poll shows only 39 percent of Americans approve of the job President Trump is doing, a rating that hat low could mean significant losses in the House. Presidents Obama and Clinton both had 46 percent approval ratings during midterm elections and suffered greatly. President Trump has focused mainly on keeping Republicans in control of the Senate, and he's selling himself as part of the deal.


TRUMP: A vote for Marsha is really a vote for me.

A vote for Morrisey is a vote for me.

I want you to vote. Pretend I'm on the ballot.

They would be voting for me if I was on the ticket but I'm not on the ticket.

I'm not on the ticket. But I am on the ticket.

A vote for David is a vote for me.


And a vote for Steve is a vote for me.

Because this is also a referendum about me.

In a certain way I'm on the ballot.

In a sense I am on the ticket.

And a vote for Cindy is a vote for me.

And I try and tell my people that's the same thing as me. In a sense. That's the same thing. Think of it as the same thing as me.


CHURCH: Well, our latest CNN polling shows 70 percent of voters say their votes in congressional races are meant to send a message to the president. Twenty eight percent of respondents say that's a message of support. Forty-two percent say they're voting in opposition to the president.

More than 30 million people have already cast ballots in early voting or by mail. That is a big jump over previous midterms. It's too early to tell what that means for Democrats who were hoping to retake at least one chamber of commerce.

CNN's Kaitlan Collins reports.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Concern that the Republican majority in the House is already lost and desperate to save GOP control of the Senate, President Trump is making the midterm elections a fight to the finish.


TRUMP: Who is going to vote on Tuesday?



COLLINS: As Trump visits three red states he won comfortably in 2016, starting with Ohio, then Indiana and Missouri, sources tell CNN White House aides have braced him for a loss in the house. The president sounding less confident in recent days.


TRUMP: The difference is I can't campaign for all of those House members. There are so many of them.


COLLINS: In a conference call on the eve of the election Trump told supporters his accomplishments are on the line. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: It's all fragile.


COLLINS: Even though he claims the midterms aren't a referendum on him, Trump urging his p supporters to get out and vote.


TRUMP: In a certain way I am on the ballot. Whether we consider it or not, the press is very much considering it a referendum on me and us and our movement.


COLLINS: His final message has been light on the economy.


TRUMP: Those were phenomenal numbers.


COLLINS: And heavy on immigration.


TRUMP: That's an invasion.


COLLINS: As he continues to paint a dark picture of a caravan of migrants still 600 miles away from the U.S.-Mexico border.


TRUMP: By the way, you think we're letting that caravan come into this country, you can forget it.


COLLINS: That rhetoric coming as NBC, Fox News, and Facebook have all decided to stop running a controversial ad, paid for by the Trump campaign and widely criticized as racist because it ties an illegal immigrant convicted of murdering police officers to the caravan.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dangerous illegal criminals like cop killer Luis Bracamontes don't care about our laws.


COLLINS: Trump denied knowing about the ad being pulled but added. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: A lot of things are offensive. Your questions are offensive a lot of times.


COLLINS: The president is ramping up his attacks on Democrats in the final days.


TRUMP: The Democrat agenda is a socialist nightmare for our country.


COLLINS: As he goes head to head with former President Barack Obama, who is throwing jabs of his own.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They promised they were going to take on corruption in Washington. Instead they've racked up enough indictments to field a football team.


COLLINS: He didn't mention Trump by name. But he didn't have to.


[03:04:59] OBAMA: Unlike some people, I don't just make stuff up when I'm talking. I've got facts to back me up.


COLLINS: With voters set to deliver their verdict on his first two years in office, Trump leaving them with this.


TRUMP: There's only one way to end this lawless assault on our dignity, our sovereignty, and on our borders. And that's by voting tomorrow Republican.


COLLINS: Now, during his series of campaign stops today the president was asked about the prospect of Democrats taking back the House and going after his tax returns which as a candidate and as president he has refused to release.

He said, and I'm quoting him now, "I don't care. They can do whatever they want and I can do whatever I want." That's the situation that White House officials are becoming increasingly concerned about happening, Democrats taking back the House and launching a series of investigations that are going to hang over his remaining years as president.

Kaitlan Collins, CNN, traveling with the president in Ohio.

CHURCH: And many election watchers are keeping a close eye on Florida with extremely close Senate and governor's races. Spending on political ads in the sunshine state is nearly double that of any other state this election cycle. Topping out at nearly $137 million. That's according to media analysis group CMAG.

CNN's Ryan Nobles has our report.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Battleground Florida. Two high- profile races with historic implications. Polls show a Democratic edge in both races, but still up for grabs. The Democrat nominee for governor, Andrew Gillum, the current Mayor of Tallahassee, has the opportunity to become Florida's first African-American governor and the first Democrat since the late '90s.


MAYOR ANDREW GILLUM, (D) TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA: We gave voters something to actually get out there and support. Not just by tearing people down and dividing us and dividing us based on superficial differences.


NOBLES: His opponent Ron DeSantis is hoping to keep the GOP gubernatorial winning streak alive. Pumping his support from President Trump and hammering Gillum over an FBI investigation into Tallahassee City government.


REP. RON DESANTIS, (R) FLORIDA: He's getting his pockets lined. He's getting illegal gifts that he shouldn't have had.


NOBLES: The stakes are just as high in the race for U.S. Senate. The current governor, Rick Scott, offers the chance to flip the seat into Republican hands. He spent millions on ads tagging the Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson as out of touch.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Forty years later a lot of things change, but Bill Nelson is still in Washington.


NOBLES: Nelson has countered by arguing Scott has used the governor's mansion to pad his financial portfolio ahead of the interests of Floridians.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. BILL NELSON, (D) FLORIDA: Newspapers of this state have said

that he is a walking conflict of interest.


NOBLES: More money has been spent on Florida than in any state in America. Nearly $137 million and over 175,000 TV spots just on the federal races tracked by Cantor Media CMAG. Florida voters have been inundated with a barrage of negative ads. Ads that accused of Gillum of being corrupt.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is Andrew Gillum caught up in corruption?


NOBLES: And hammer DeSantis for opposing a requirement for insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He'd let insurance companies denied them coverage.


NOBLES: The candidates have now retreated to their base and the polarizing national figures who support them. DeSantis and Scott campaigning twice with President Trump.


TRUMP: He runs one of the worst, one of the biggest problem cities anywhere in the country. He's not doing the job. You don't want to have him running Florida.


NOBLES: And Gillum and Nelson welcoming President Obama to a big rally in Democratic vote-rich south Florida.


OBAMA: Let me tell you a sign, Republicans can't hear you boo but they can hear you vote.



CHURCH: And thanks to our Ryan Nobles for that report. Well, joining us now from Paris, Amy Greene is a political science researcher, a professor at Sciences Po and the author of "America After Obama." Good to have you with us.


CHURCH: So, what do you make of the more than 31 million votes already cast in this midterm election, and how do you think this will all turn out in the end?

GREENE: It's a record, a record advance turnout for a midterm year. The numbers are rivaling a presidential election year. They're close to but not quite going to surpass or equal the numbers of the 2016 election.

So, what you essentially see is massive enthusiasm and voter mobilization on both sides. Typically, the mail-in ballots in advance tend to favor Republicans, and then the in-person early votes tend to favor Democrats. And then on election day, you know, the results shake out and you know, and then the definitive results are obviously granted after people actually go out to vote.

[03:09:58] So you know, it's too early to say who that favors, although one interesting race to think about is Texas where more people have voted in advance for these midterms than did in the past midterms election overall.

So, you know, from coast to coast you have a massive voter turnout, which would indicate a huge enthusiasm surge both on the left and the right, which can only be heartening in the end for the vitality of American democracy.

CHURCH: Right. And of course, we've learned that President Trump was not happy with the first TV ad that his campaign prepared last week, focusing on a positive message about the economy. Instead he wanted an anti-immigration ad designed to fire up his base. Will that work for the president or backfire, do you think?

GREENE: Well, I mean, the president only has one message, and clearly that message is not running on a strong economy. It is running on, you know, racially driven hatred and you know, really angering the base that he knows will be loyal to him. He knows that the independents are moving out of his grasp than obviously further to the left of that beyond his grasp.

He also knows that the Republican Party has essentially laid down at his feet and accepted his brand of, you know, hateful discourse. And so really the coast is clear for the president to pursue that message.

I think one of the early responses to your question, though, Rosemary, is will it backfire is the simple unprecedented diversity of candidates on the other side. I mean, you have races in Kentucky and Georgia which are so close and which have presented candidates who are either first-time runners for office, people who have served their country, candidates' issue from all types of diversity whether it's LGBT minorities.

And so essentially what you have in the face of Donald Trump is a new crop of engaged citizens that say, you know, we will no longer simply serve the Democratic Party, we want to become the Democratic Party, we want to become the leaders of tomorrow. So, whether or not the Democrats accomplish this blue wave tomorrow I

think one of the longer-term responses is that this is a repudiation of Trump politics because of this massive civic engagement of interesting diverse young candidates who are saying no, stop Trumpism.

CHURCH: Right. And even though President Trump isn't on the ballot he has said himself that the midterms, a report card for his presidency. Is this, a referendum on his presidency or in some instances is it just more local than that?

GREENE: Of course, there are local issues which mean that, you know, the Republican candidate in any number of places will pull ahead of the Democratic candidate. I mean, we won't have a massive Democratic monolithic government starting on Wednesday.

So, of course, the local always matters. Although interestingly we saw an article, I think yesterday in the Atlantic which showed that voters are actually more in touch with national issues in this election than they are with the local.

You know, every midterm year ends up being to some extent a referendum on the sitting president. Whether or not we like to accept it, whether or not the president at the time, you know, is content with that, it tends to be a referendum.

And Trump, as you know, as a particularly polarizing president representing a real anomaly in many ways to the presidential tradition in the United States, I don't think you can call this anything but a referendum election on Trump. And of course, there are local issues that are of great importance. But I think Trump incarnates something very singular and that his voters will go out to, you know, to approve or to rebuke that.

CHURCH: Yes. And they will do that in just a few hours from now, which is just incredible. We'll have all the results later on CNN. Amy Greene, thank you so much for your analysis. We do appreciate it.

GREENE: Thank you, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Well, coming up here on CNN Newsroom, why North Korea might restart its nuclear program if a key demand is not met. What an inside source is saying.

Plus, President Trump says they are the strongest U.S. sanctions ever imposed. Iran says it's not impressed. A live report from Tehran coming up next.


CHURCH: A source with knowledge of North Korea's position tells CNN that Pyongyang could restart its nuclear activities if the U.S. doesn't show a new willingness to ease sanctions.

This as U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his North Korean counterpart are set to meet again in New York for another round of talks on ending North Korea's nuclear program. The source also says the ongoing discussions are crucial for North Korea to achieve its economic goals but that it needs a breakthrough for the talks to go further.

Well, that reporting comes from our Will Ripley, who happens to join us now live from Hong Kong. Good to see you again, Will. So, North Korea threatening to restart its nuclear program unless it sees a willingness from the U.S. to ease sanctions. Who has the leverage here?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think both sides trying to secure some leverage ahead of these crucial talks on Thursday in New York, Rosemary.

My source painting this out potentially as the North Koreans coming in to make a final plea to the United States to budge on this issue of economic sanctions because the North Koreans through their state media and in private discussions have reiterated that they don't feel an environment with the United States putting economic pressure on them in terms of sanctions is conducive to the North Koreans feeling comfortable enough to give up their nuclear weapons. The nuclear weapons that they feel protect their government and their

leader Kim Jong-un.

That is the fundamental disagreement that has really created this months-long stalemate since the summit in Singapore on June 12th when everything looked so promising but a lot of analysts and Korea watchers were concerned that both sides could walk away thinking that they'd agreed to something very different than the other.

The U.S. thought the denuclearization would happen much more quickly. The North Koreans thought the easing of sanctions and a peace treaty ending the Korean War would happen first.

Well, neither side is getting what they want right now and the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo he is not budging when he was asked about this latest North Korean threat that they may restart their nuclear activities if Thursday's talks don't yield a breakthrough. Listen.


MIKE POMPEO, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE: I'm not worried about rhetoric. We've seen this as we go through negotiations. Stray voltage happens to be all around us. We're very focused. We know with whom we're negotiating. We know what their positions are. And President Trump's made his position very clear. No economic relief until we have achieved our ultimate objective.


RIPLEY: But if both sides keep digging in their heels, it is not very difficult to imagine, Rosemary, a return to the extraordinarily tense situation that we had just about a year ago when many felt that the U.S. and North Korea were closer to a military conflict they had been in a number of decades. Even though things have been very friendly, particularly between

President Trump and the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, it may not stay that way for long if they can't get this issue resolved and move forward with the denuclearization process.

CHURCH: Right. So, they're at a critical juncture here. What are the likely next steps for both the U.S. and North Korea? What are the options here going forward?

RIPLEY: I think we need to listen very carefully, Rosemary, to what both sides say coming out of the meeting, if they say as they have in previous meetings well, we've made progress, we're going to keep talking but really have nothing substantive to announce that is certainly not a great sign.

[03:20:03] However, if they announce perhaps that they've agreed on a date or location for the second summit between President Trump and Kim Jong-un, that certainly is encouraging because it means that the U.S. and North Korea have felt that enough progress has been made for their two leaders to sit down face to face at some point.

There's also been speculation that Kim Jong-un might send his sister, Kim Yo-jong to the United States at some point. She would certainly have as a member of Kim Jong-un's family and one of his most trusted advisers, she would have a bit more flexibility in terms of negotiations.

But the North Koreans aren't going to send any member of the Kim family anywhere unless they feel that significant progress is going to be made. And that's why these discussions in New York are just so important and we have to watch very closely.

CHURCH: Absolutely. And we will do that. Our Will Ripley with that live report from Hong Kong, where it is 4.20 in the afternoon. Thanks again.

Well, Iran says it won't bow to another round of U.S. sanctions. This as the U.S. officially brings back penalties lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal. It's also hitting hundreds of new targets with sanctions.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says the move hurts everyday Iranians. He's also vowing to keep selling his country's oil. The sanctions have been met with protests and Iran's military is staging a show of force. State media say these annual air defense drills will be held through Tuesday.

And for more on Iran's reaction CNN's Fred Pleitgen joins me live from Tehran. Good to see you again, Fred. So, Iran's president vowing to defy the sanctions and continue selling oil. What might be the ramifications of just such a move?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think it could have big international ramifications, Rosemary. On the one hand I think that you'll see more confrontation between the United States and Iran. But you also might see some problems between the U.S. and other countries that want to continue to do business with Iran, not just in the oil sector but also in other sectors as well.

Now, you see the flurry of Iranian politicians come out since the U.S. has announced its new moves for those new sanctions and all of them obviously ripping into the United States. Aside from President Hassan Rouhani you also had the Foreign Minister Javad Zarif come out and essentially blast the sanctions and say that some of them quite frankly were useless.

He said of these 700 entities that were being sanctioned by the United States some of them don't even exist anymore as economic companies. He said among others there were ships on that list that had already sank and so therefore he believes that at least some of these sanctions have no bite. But of course, regular Iranians believe that they will have a bite.

One of the things that they're clinging to, Rosemary, is that list of countries that are going to receive a waiver because that list includes some of the biggest importers of Iranian oil. China, India, South Korea and Japan.

If you look especially at the Chinese, they've been very critical of the U.S.'s new decision to levy these sanctions against the oil and gas sector. They say these are legitimate business ties between China and Iran. And they say that these ties should not be infringed upon by the United States. Of course, that's something that the Iranians really want to hear.

They've been coming out. Hassan Rouhani and other politicians as well, in saying they believe that on this issue the U.S. is the one who is isolated because there are so many countries and entities that are critical of the U.S.'s decision, not just countries like Russia, China and India but also for instance, the Americans' European partner who also say that they are very critical of these measures and feel that they should not be put in place because of course Iran has been complying with the nuclear deal.

So, the Iranians sort of feel that in the international arena right now they have a bit of the upper hand, but of course, they also know that these sanctions are most likely going to have a pretty big bite and could take a big chunk out of their state finances in the not too distant future, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Yes. And just considering all of this and some of these changes here, what's the likely impact on everyday Iranians?

PLEITGEN: Yes. Well, I mean, look, the Iranian economy, the Iranian state finances to a great deal depends on oil revenue. That oil revenue has been ramped up considerably. It was actually one of the most successful things of the nuclear agreement.

We were talking about it the many visits that we've had here in the past, how international companies were a bit slow to invest in Iran. None of that was true for the oil and gas sectors. Companies were coming in, companies were investing. Iran was exporting oil, really increasing its exports by a great deal. So, when those exports and if those exports sidelined significantly,

they already have and they probably will a great deal more. Iran's state finances are going to be in even more trouble than they already are. We've been talking about it. The economy here is already -- I wouldn't say a freefall but certainly in a lot of trouble.

The currency is in a freefall. That's been declining a great deal over the past weeks and months. And of course, that also means the Iranian government will not have the same kind of money to, for instance, pay for subsidies for everyday goods for people. And that's already something that has been hitting ordinary Iranians and something where they say that's going to hit them even harder in the not too distant future when those oil exports decrease even more, Rosemary.

[03:24:58] CHURCH: Many thanks to our Fred Pleitgen bringing us that live report from Tehran where it's coming up to midday there. Thanks so much.

Well, President Trump says these are the strongest U.S. sanctions ever imposed on Iran, but he also says he wants to go slowly. That's because the U.S. wants to avoid a spike in oil prices.

For more on what the sanctions don't cover here's CNN's John Defterios.

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: This was a classic approach by the U.S. president. Talk really tough against Iran but in the end provide some wiggle room when it comes to oil.

Overall, these sanctions are rigid. Nine hundred entities covered by the sweeping measures. But the U.S. midterm elections altered Trump's priorities. His choices, trying to shut down Iran's oil exports to zero, or giving leeway to ease prices at the gas pump for his voter base.

When oil hit $86 a barrel in early October the calls from the White House via Twitter grew louder. He wanted more crude from OPEC and players from Saudi Arabia obliged. At the same time Iran's oil exports are falling but clearly not to zero.


IMAN NASSERI, MIDDLE EAST MANAGING DIRECTOR, FGE: We draw an expected path of Iran's exports falling to less than a million barrels per day by first quarter next year and around 700,000 to 800,000 barrels a day by middle of next year. So far it has come along that path.


DEFTERIOS: Along with the snapback sanctions the U.S. announced oil import waivers for countries. From Europe, it was Italy and Greece. Both who maintain energy ties with Tehran. China, India, ad Turkey, all three were against U.S. sanctions and other Asian importers. Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. The exemptions give them time to find alternative supplies. But oil strategists say getting Iran to zero oil exports even next year is very unlikely. John Defterios, CNN Business, Abu Dhabi.

CHURCH: A spokesperson for Theresa May says the British prime minister believes a deal for the U.K. to leave the European Union is 95 percent complete. The announcement followed a meeting between Mrs. May and Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz who says he's ready to help facilitate an agreement as soon as possible.

Mrs. May's spokesperson added that the P.M. is confident a solution to the Northern Ireland border issue, a major sticking point in the negotiations, will be found.

Well, police in London have arrested five men over a crude video of Grenfell Tower burning in effigy. The video, shared widely on social media, shows a group of people placing a cardboard model of Grenfell Tower onto a bonfire as people mimic the screams of the victims.

Seventy-two people were killed when a devastating fire destroyed the west London high-rise in June of last year.

All right. Time for a short break. When we come back, President Trump delivers his closing argument to U.S. voters ahead of the midterms.


TRUMP: If we don't do so well tomorrow, they will put me on the ticket. If we do great tomorrow, they will say he had nothing to do with it, he was not on the ticket.



ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN NEWSROOM HOST: Welcome back, everyone. I'm Rosemary Church. I want to update you now on the main stories we've been following this hour. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his North Korean counterpart will meet in New York Thursday for another round of talks on ending Pyongyang's nuclear program. A source with knowledge of North Korea's position tells CNN that Pyongyang could restart nuclear activities if the U.S. doesn't show a new willingness to ease sanctions.

A spokesperson for Theresa May says the British Prime Minister believes a deal for the U.K. to leave the European Union is 95 percent complete. The announcement followed a meeting between Mrs. May and Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz, who says he is ready to help facilitate an agreement as soon as possible.

Iran's President is vowing to keep selling oil despite more U.S. sanctions. The Trump administration followed through on its pledge to restore sanctions on Monday. It officially brought back penalties lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal.

We are just hours away from the first polls opening in the U.S. in a midterm election seen as a referendum on President Donald Trump. CNN's latest polling shows Democrats with a double-digit lead on a generic ballot. They're hoping to regain control of at least one chamber of Congress.

President Trump has been traveling almost nonstop over the past few weeks, rallying his base for Republican candidates. CNN's Jeff Zeleny has more on his strategy.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: President Trump wrapped up his final campaign rally here in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, spending more than 40 campaign rallies really in the last few months and the entirety of this year trying to make sure Republicans hold the House of Representatives and the Senate. Now, there's no question President Trump is not on the ballot in Tuesday's election, but it is a referendum on his popularity and a referendum on his policies.

We have not seen a U.S. President become so involved in a midterm election in recent history, but President Trump clearly knew that he had to motivate his supporters. It's why he closed out his campaign here in Missouri. We're in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. The hometown of Rush Limbaugh. Rush Limbaugh introduced the President on stage. And he tried to rally all Trump supporters for why they should indeed come out and support Republican candidates.

Now, it's an open question if Republicans can hold the House of Representatives. The White House largely believes that it's out of their reach that Democrats will win by a narrow majority, but of course surprises happen and can happen. So it's one of the reasons the President campaigning until the very last minute. The Senate a very different question. The White House does believe that Republicans will control the Senate by a narrow majority, but it's one of the reasons the President campaigning until the last minute here in Missouri.

Now, he is flying back to Washington with nothing on his campaign schedule on Tuesday. We'll of course be watching results. We will know in 24 hours or so if the political order in Washington is reshaped or if it will remain a status quo. Jeff Zeleny, CNN, Cape Girardeau, Missouri.


CHURCH: We are seeing a growing number of young millennial voters who plan to turn out for this year's U.S. Midterm elections. The Harvard Kennedy School's Institute of Politics surveyed 18 to 29-year-olds. It found 40 percent indicated they are likely to cast ballots Tuesday. Experts say the high level of interest is unusual for a midterm election as Presidential elections tend to garner more attention.

According to the poll, 54 percent of young Democrats say they are likely to vote Tuesday. 43 percent of young Republicans surveyed are also likely voters. And 24 percent of young independents say they are likely to cast ballots in the coming hours.

So let's talk more about this with Jen Winston and Kei Kawashima Ginsberg. Jen is a writer, speaker and founder of at girl power supply on Instagram and Kei is the Director of the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement also known as circle, at Tufts University. Great to have you both with us.


CHURCH: So Jen, let's start with you. You tweeted about using Tinder as a vehicle to get people out to vote and got more than 8,000 retweets.

[03:35:05] And this is what you said. I paid $9.99 for Tinder plus which seemed dumb until I realized I could change my location and campaign in swing states. Then you showed this exchange where the guy says, why are you so far away from me? And you reply "absence makes the heart grow fonder." Anyway, are you voting for Stacey Abrams? Obviously in Georgia there. So how effective was your campaign or has your campaign been so far on Tinder?

WINSTON: That is a great question. I guess we will see tomorrow on Election Day. Or I guess we'll see today, but pretty much everyone I messaged said they were voting which to me seems like a success. I am a Democrat. Here I am campaigning for Stacey Abrams. And one of the biggest issues that Democrats have faced and faced in 2016 was voter turnout. So in my mind's getting out the vote effort are often end up being just campaigning for the Democrat. I didn't match with any Republican. So I don't know if that was self-selecting or like how that exactly happened, but yes.

CHURCH: But overall most of the people, most of the guys said yes, I'm going to register and vote.

WINSTON: Most said that they were already planning on voting. Some said they'd already voted, which was awesome. It was kind of just like a very uplifting experience, which -- and then it sort of took off. I had always in the past used Tinder plus like when I went traveling, and I loved that feature where you could change your location before you went somewhere. And kind of figure out -- I used to use it to get restaurant recommendations. So this was sort of a new use for it and yes.

CHURCH: All right. And Kei, why do you think it is that we're seeing more millennials taking an interest in politics and younger generations and trying to get others in their generation to get out and vote? What triggered this, do you think?

KEI KAWASHIMA GINSBERG, DIRECTOR OF THE CENTER FOR INFORMATION AND RESEARCH ON CIVIC LEARNING AND ENGAGEMENT, CIRCLE: I think there are so many reasons. And just seeing politics on Tinder is just a sign that there is a cultural shift. So I think one of the biggest factor is that culturally it's become cool to talk about politics and be politically engaged.

CHURCH: And Jen, I need to ask you this, because as you mentioned, you regularly change your location on Tinder so you can chat with men in swing districts in Georgia, Arizona, Nevada and Indiana. What did these men say when they realized you weren't interested in dating at all, but rather getting them out to vote? WINSTON: I think the ones that were politically inclined were

actually particularly disappointed because we had something in common, we both wanted to get out the vote. One of the coolest things that happened actually once I put this tweet out there was someone who saw it, a guy in London saw it and started canvassing in North Dakota. He changed his location to North Dakota and matched with another person who had also I think seen it and was canvassing from New York in North Dakota. So it was two canvassers meeting, which is actually very romantic if you think about it.

CHURCH: It is. And Kei, how critical is the youth vote right now and how much of an impact do you expect these younger voters will likely have on these midterm elections particularly?

KAWASHIMA GINSBERG: Yes. So young people have the big potential to really impact the outcome of the races, particularly when it's close, because the young people do lean Democratic these days and especially this midterm election. Those who are saying they're extremely likely to vote are extremely more likely to vote for a Democrat. It's almost 2-1 margin. So, it's a pretty big gap for young people. And young people we surveyed, that is nationally representative sample of 18 to 24-year-olds, said they're likely to vote. And that number really exceeded expectations from past years. So 34 percent said that. And that compares very favorably to mid-20s to maybe low 20s that they say so in surveys at this time of the year.

CHURCH: And Jen, how has Tinder responded to you using it for campaign purposes rather than dating? I had read that one woman was actually thrown off Tinder for doing the same thing you did.

WINSTON: I actually just checked, and I'm still on Tinder and I'm still single, but yes, they haven't reached out to me. I actually thought this was kind of a great ad campaign for this feature, but I think -- I mean, I think it does go far beyond Tinder. What this was really about for me was talking about politics in places that weren't used to talking about them. And since the 2016 election pretty much every day that I've gone on we've gone to politics after about one drink. So, it almost seems very natural to just have that be the first thing you talk about before you get off the app. So yes.

[03:40:14] CHURCH: And Kei, you get the final word. We've all been told in the past to stay far away from talking about politics in any social settings, it's too dangerous. So are we witnessing some sort of cultural shift here that is making the topic of politics much more acceptable and what's caused that shift, do you think?

KAWASHIMA GINSBERG: You know, I think it is sexy now to talk about politics, and it is really all about the friends talking to each other about politics as a matter of everyday conversation. Just like Jane said, you have a drink and you talk about politics. Now it's OK to mention you're a Democrat or you like that candidate and you don't sound like an absolute nerd now. So I think it's a big factor in that, but also social media companies and brands have also promoted non-partisan voter engagement and political engagement in a big way.

So this kind of cultural influencers like celebrities and brands and social media companies pushing political engagement, and we as voters and consumers demanding that we have space to talk about that safely.

CHURCH: It's fascinating. We will know in just a few hours the impact that these younger voters will have on the outcome. Jen Winston and Kei Kawashima Ginsberg, thank you both of you. I appreciate it.


WINSTON: You're welcome.

CHURCH: And coming up here on "CNN Newsroom," more than a million Muslims and other minorities are allegedly being detained in China. We will explain what human rights activists want the U.N. to do about it. That is next.


CHURCH: Well, government officials in Cameroon say armed gunmen have kidnapped 79 children from a boarding school in the country's northwest region. Officials say police and specialized military units are searching for the students, who were abducted from a school in Bamenda. Authorities say the hostages have most likely been split into smaller groups and all efforts are now being made to bring them back to safety.

Well, for more on this CNN's David McKenzie joins me live from Johannesburg. So David, what more information have you got on all of this?

[03:45:02] DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, there's a shocking alleged incident happened early Monday morning in the northwest province of Cameroon. Now, according to a government source a gunman came to that Presbyterian boarding school in the early hours of the morning and managed to overpower the security and take away both boys and girls according to a government official.

And almost 80 young people, girls and boys, we don't know exactly their ages, were taken away according to that official. Now as you say, it's believed they might have been split up. The rapid intervention battalion of the Cameroonian military, a U.S.-supported group is searching right now according to that official. It's obviously a shocking development if the numbers add up in this region, which has seen a cycle of violence for more than nearly two years in the northwest and the southwest. Rosemary?

CHURCH: And David, will these events possibly overshadow the inauguration of the President today, who's been in power since the 1980s?

MCKENZIE: Well, that is right. The 85-year-old leader of Cameroon is in the country today. He will be inaugurated on the seventh term, this should, yes, overshadow that pomp and circumstance in the capital. As I said, there's been this violence in the north and southwest English-speaking areas of Cameroon.

It all started in 2016 when teachers and lawyers protested the use of French and French law in that region and self-determination. It has expanded from on the street protests and boycotts to a separatist movement in both parts of those Anglo-phone regions, but this would mark a major escalation of that conflict.

The separatists, though no one has claimed responsibility of this kidnapping, have said that schools should be closed and boycotted to punish the overall government from its policies at the same time the government and the military have been accused of heavy-handedness at best and atrocities at worst by local human rights groups and amnesty international and others.

This is a serious situation in Cameroon that has been largely underreported on the world stage. This case of kidnapping of allegedly 79 children certainly will be a wake-up call for those who depend on Cameroon as a key partner in that region.

CHURCH: All right. Many thanks to our David McKenzie joining us there from Johannesburg with the latest.

Well, the U.N. Human Rights Council is meeting Tuesday and activists want it to press China on alleged abuses including the suspected detention of 1 million Uighurs in Xinjian province. Human rights watch claims the Uighurs are being arbitrarily taken to political reeducation centers and hundreds have been killed in clashes with members of the Han Chinese ethnic majority.

China rejects the charges. It says the centers provide vocational skills and training and were established to combat the root causes of terrorism. Students are also taught what constitutes inciting ethnic hatred. That is according to Chinese law. Well, Ivan Watson joins me now from Hong Kong for more on this. So Ivan, what have you learned about this?

IVAN WATSON, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: China's in the hot seat right now for what is kind of a ritual that takes place every four and a half years. The United Nations conducts these universal periodic reviews in all 193 member states in the U.N. are subject to them. Since 2013, which is the last time that China faced this, there have been a number of changes as the Chinese leader Xi Jinping has cemented his control over the country we have seen a crackdown, for example, reports of hundreds of human rights activists and their defense attorneys arrested in 2015.

We've been getting reports of what appears to be mass detention, you had mentioned, of Muslim Uighurs from Xinjian in the west of the country in what appeared to be newly constructed and quite enormous detention centers. The ex-patriate Uighur world Congress alleges that up to a million Uighurs have been detained in these so-called reeducation centers. And we at CNN have interviewed some Uighurs who have alleged that up to 24 members of their extended family have disappeared into these so-called reeducation centers.

Well, China has rejected the allegation, the accusation that there are such things as reeducation centers.

[03:50:00] Instead a representative to this to this U.N. panel has described them as vocational and educational and employment training centers. With a view to assisting in rehabilitation of people. So there's a back and forth and conflicting narratives here. The fact of the matter is after 2013, the last review, China insisted it had taken steps to improve the rights of defense attorneys, for example.

It was reviewing thing such as its quote, reeducation through the labor system and alleged arguing that it wasn't disproportionately targeting ethnic minorities such as in Tibet or in Xinjian with the Uighurs. Those allegations likely to be challenged here in Geneva as its representative, a vice secretary from the foreign affairs ministry, leads the Chinese delegation there.

China has always insisted that it does follow rule of law and human rights and on paper it often does. The problem is the practice on the ground in China. There are trials, for example, that are supposed to be open to the public where CNN crews have been forcefully prevented from even approaching the entrance of courthouses by security forces on the ground.

So there's always a disconnect in China between the treaties it has signed and the laws it says that it follows and the practice on the ground there. Rosemary.

CHURCH: Ivan Watson, many thanks to you for that live report. We appreciate it.

Well, only a few hours to go before polls here in the United States start to open, but in some areas weather could play a role in Election Day plans and we will have an update for you on the other side of the break. Stay with us.


CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well, people who expect to vote in the U.S. Midterms today could be in for some very unwelcome weather in parts and there are concerns that storms could affect turnout in some places. Let's turn to our meteorologist, Pedram Javaheri joins us from the International Weather Center with the details. So, Pedram, of course weather is going to have an impact. How bad could this be?

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, Rosemary, it could have a meaningful impact when it comes to the severe weather we have in the forecast here and also the wet weather as well. Widespread coverage across United States whether it be the northwest or some snow across the higher elevations into the upper Midwest northern plains, snowfall in the forecast and then severe weather from the southeast stretching all the way toward the most populated corner of the U.S. in and around the northeast, put this all together it's certainly not a good recipe.

In fact, analysis has been done on this over the past few years looking at elections and looking at inclement weather on election day and believe it or not, there is a meaningful impact with all of this where as much as just 2 1/2 centimeters of snow on the ground reduces voter turnout by about .5 percent while about 25 millimeters of rainfall could reduce voter turnout by about a percent. This historically has been observed. Also they've observed that Democrats are more likely to stay back and not turn up at the polls when weather is inclement.

So certainly the data we have access to that shows a couple decades' worth of data does show a pattern here where even 1 percent, of course of several million people is a large number that could make a significant difference. So, here's the perspective as far as severe weather is concerned. Notice areas from the southeast going all the way toward areas of northeast there. We do have the severe weather threat especially around the Delmarva region of the northeast where the wet weather is expected right now into the morning hours as we begin to see some of the polls, polling centers open up between 6:00 and 7:00 a.m.

[03:55:13] That is when we can see the wet weather into parts of Pennsylvania, Virginia, Michigan and New York State. And then working your way toward the afternoon and evening hours. The I-95 corridor which essentially covers the major metro cities of the northeast. New York, Washington, Philadelphia, also in Boston. These are areas that will see some gusty winds, some wet weather as well before the system begins to move out and really mild temperatures considering the time of year we're talking about, of course. The middle teens in some areas, almost 20 degrees in New York City. Again, Rosemary, this kind a -- really speaks to the significance of the instability of the atmosphere when it comes to having warm weather this time of year and the strong thunderstorms to go with it as well.

CHURCH: Pedram, thanks for all of that. Great coverage. We appreciate it. And don't forget to join us later Tuesday night right here on CNN for extensive coverage of the U.S. Midterm elections and all of the results. It starts at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time, 6:00 a.m. in Hong Kong, and goes until all of the results are in.

Now, just before we go, here's a twist on a corny joke. Why did the salmon cross the road? The same reason the chickens did apparently. They wanted to get to the other side. More than a dozen salmon were seen propelling themselves across a flooded road in Washington State. A woman and her father videotaped this scene while driving this weekend. The dad works at a fish hatchery on the same road. Thank you so much for your company. I'm Rosemary Church. The news continues next with Christine Romans and Dave Briggs on "Early Start." Have a great day.