Return to Transcripts main page
CNN Live Event/Special
Exit Poll: 62 Percent OF Ohio Voters Want Abortion To Be Legal; Exit Poll; 45 Percent Of Ohio Women Voters "Angry" About Roe Overturned; K.Y. Dem Gov. Beshear Facing Challenge From GOP AG Cameron; Gov. Mike DeWine (R-OH), Is Interviewed About Ohio Voters Casting Ballots On Abortion Rights; Exit Polls Show Intensity Gap Among Ohio Voters; Minutes Away: Polls Close In Parts Of Kentucky. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired November 07, 2023 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington along with Kaitlan Collins. And this is America's choice Election Day in America. Any moment now we're expecting the very first exit polls in some of the key races we're closely watching. Right now, voters are deciding crucial contests and ballot measures across the country, including in Virginia, Mississippi, Kentucky and Ohio.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN HOST: Abortion rights is a big through line tonight in some of these key races, particularly in Ohio, where the issue is directly on the ballot, a constitutional amendment that would enshrine the rights to an abortion. There are also governor's races with high stakes that we are keeping a close eye on in Kentucky, also checking on Mississippi, both deep red states. In the state of Virginia, every legislator is up for reelection.
BLITZER: And it all comes just exactly 10 weeks before the first contest of this presidential primary season. We have team coverage. Eva McKend is joining us from Louisville, Kentucky. Kyung Lah is in Columbus, Ohio. And that's where we begin.
Kyung, you're there with Ohioans united for reproductive rights, the watch party that's going on. What are you anticipating tonight?
KYUNG LAH, CNN NATIONAL REPORTER: Well, as they look ahead to what tonight is going to look like, what we are hearing from this pro Issue 1 group is that they expect that the early returns will be favorable for them. The question will be, according to the spokesman as quote, "Where do we land?"
Here's what they are encouraged by. And I want to show you this video of a polling place that we've spent most of the day today. This is a Democratic stronghold, and it's images like this where turnout has been strong in those Democratic quarters. That the pro Issue 1 people, the groups that want this to pass to have the abortion rights enshrined in the Constitution, they feel very encouraged that turnout strong, that enthusiasm is high and that passions are high. When you talk to people about why they are coming out, they all, almost unilaterally who we've spoken with say that they are here because of Issue 1.
With two and a half hours left to vote, there are, both sides, the pro and anti-Issue 1 forces say that they are out knocking on doors that they believe it will be a race to the finish. And neither side, even though they are encouraged by the turnout, neither side is saying this is going to be a slam dunk. Wolf and Kaitlan, they believe that it will be very close throughout the evening.
BLITZER: We shall see. Kyung Lah reporting for us. Thank you very much.
COLLINS: And the polls will close in parts of Kentucky. And just under an hour the key race that we are watching, Democratic incumbent governor, Andy Beshear, going up against Republican candidate attorney general for the state, Daniel Cameron. Eva McKend is watching this closely from Louisville tonight.
Eva, obviously, we have seen, you know, what this race could mean. What people are looking into it, not just for the state, but also there are questions of what it could mean for Democrats nationally, looking to how Governor Beshear has run this race depending on how things go tonight for him.
EVA MCKEND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely, Kaitlan. Is because he's adopted this strategy that really centers this idea of team Kentucky. He has been over the pandemic, natural disasters, a number of tragedies in this state. And that allowed him to really stray away from partisanship and lead with this idea of Kentuckians first. And you know, when we were at the polls today speaking to voters, some of them said that that was something that really resonated with them because they are tired of the bitterness of our politics.
But listen, Attorney General Daniel Cameron, the Republican in this contest, he really presents a threat to Governor Beshear. What we have seen is that the Trump endorsement matters in a state like this one, Trump winning Kentucky in 2020 by nearly 30 points, and the attorney general has been able to campaign on that heavily, as well as really make this argument that he would be better suited to work with the Republican controlled state legislature here and that this state should have representation that reflects their conservative values, Kaitlan?.
COLLINS: Yes, it's a waste -- race we're going to be watching very closely to see. I mean, what those voters decide? Do they keep a Democratic governor in that deep red state? Eva McKend, we'll check back in with you. Thank you.
BLITZER: John King is here with me over at the magic wall. He's going to be here all night long. It'll be a long night. First of all, let's start off in Virginia. What are you looking for?
JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Is this like 2020 when Joe Biden won by 10 points? Is the turnout like that to voters especially in the swing areas in the suburbs? Is that how they're voting, Democratic, right? They're voting for the House of Delegates, they're voting for the state senate, legislative elections. So this is the county map. It's not the presidential race, but isn't electorate like that. Or is it more of an electorate like this when Glenn Youngkin just narrowly won election as governor.
Now, if you notice, I'm going to go through two areas here, around Richmond and up here in the D.C. suburbs, right? Let's go out here, let's go to Loudoun County. There are a couple including a very key state, Senate race out here in Loudoun County stretches into Fauquier County some House of Delegates races. Look at Youngkin, 44 to 55 seats. So you say wow, he got beat in the suburbs, but he only got beat there by 10 points, right, 11 points right there.
If you go to the presidential race in 2020 and look at that, Donald Trump got trounced. So, Glenn Youngkin think he has the formula to bring Republicans back, make them more competitive, maybe not when the suburbs, Wolf, but be more competitive. In places like Loudoun and in places like Henrico County down here just outside of Richmond, that's where the key legislative is, whether it's the House of Delegates or the State Senate, most of the key races are in the suburban area where Youngkin ran a lot stronger. You see there, that's a blowout, right? That's almost 30 points right there in the governor's race.
If you come here back to 2021, excuse me, you come here you see Youngkin still getting beat but by not by a bigger margin. You can win on the margins, Republican performance in the suburbs. Can Glenn Youngkin sell the suburbs on a 15 week abortion restriction abortion ban? Call it what you will, that's what he's campaigning on. He's trying to recreate the abortion debate, it will be decided in the suburbs.
BLITZER: Let's go to Ohio right now. Because there's a pair of very big ballot initiatives that people are looking at, including a constitutional amendment on the issue of abortion.
KING: And again, the same issue the suburbs. So here's a blank map. The votes will come in later tonight, right? So a couple areas to watch. Not just Cleveland in the suburbs, but look how I stretch this out up to Lake County.
Come over here Toledo in the suburbs, Columbus in the suburbs, Cincinnati in the suburbs. Now why do I do that? I want to come back to the 2020 presidential map, right? This is a red state. This is a state Donald Trump won quite comfortably.
See, Cleveland up here but look up here, not just Cleveland in the suburbs around it. Again, the abortion issue, if you look at Kansas, a red state, if you look at Michigan, a blue to a purple state. When they had initiatives after the Dobbs decision, it was suburban voters, including a lot of Republicans said no, the Supreme Court went too far in abortion. Do the voters in a place like Lake County go that far? Let me take this off and bring this out.
This is a county, look, Donald Trump lopsided, right? It's the suburbs, more affluent suburbs outside of Cleveland. What does this look like tonight on the abortion question? Again, the urban areas, the abortion rights forces need big turnout and Democratic strongholds, but they also need to make inroads in more traditional Republican areas. Suburbs, more exurban areas out here. That's what we'll be looking for.
BLITZER: In Kentucky right now, let's take a look at Kentucky, the Governor Andy Beshear. He's got a tough race. What do you see?
KING: So, again, sound like a broken record, but close elections in America are decided in the suburbs. And if you look here, and you look out here, right? Let's go back, so this is Daniel Cameron running. Let's look here, right? You go back to the presidential race here in 2020, you see, that's Donald Trump country, right?
Even the Cincinnati suburbs, right? This is a big red state. Donald Trump won by such a lopsided margin. But here and here. Now look at Governor Beshear win in 2019.
You go back to this -- you go back to this race here. You see this? Look at this, Andy Beshear won the suburbs south of Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky, the Cincinnati suburbs Andy Beshear won, out here, he won. Again, look at the blue in this map when Andy Beshear ran four years ago, look how different it is when Donald Trump went, Andy Beshear, a more moderate Democrat is competitive, more competitive in the suburbs than other Democrats, certainly more competitive than Joe Biden was, Wolf. And that is the question tonight.
Is this a presidential electorate? Can he go back? Can he -- can Andy Beshear recreate his 2019 map, which was favorable to him? Or does it look more like a presidential map? If it looks more like a presidential map, then you will see Mr. Cameron as the next governor of Kentucky. Wolf.
BLITZER: John King at the magic wall. It's going to be a long night for you. We'll stay in very close touch.
Meanwhile, the very first exit polls are just coming into CNN right now. CNN's Political Director David Chalian is joining us right now. He has brand new numbers for us. So, so far, what are they telling us, David?
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yes, these are preliminary exit polls, Wolf, out of Ohio. And just remember, this is a survey of voters who voted today, as well as voters who voted before Election Day, whether they voted early in person or by mail. All the voters are represented here. And in these early numbers, look at this, we asked should abortion be legal in all or most cases are illegal in all or most cases. And if you add up the 29 percent that say legal in all cases and the 33 percent of Ohio voters who say it should be legal in most cases, you see you are well over a majority of Ohio voters today say that abortion should be legal in all or most cases.
We also asked about feelings about the Supreme Court overturning Roe v Wade. Look here, 18 percent of Ohio voters today say they're enthusiastic about the overturn, 17 percent satisfied, 21 percent dissatisfied 39 percent of voters in Ohio today, Wolf, say they're angry about Roe v Wade being overturned. You see where the passion is on this issue. And that's among all voters looking at it among female voters in Ohio today. And that anger number goes up to 45 percent of female voters in this Ohio election today are angry about the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
We also asked, who do you trust to handle more, which party do you trust to handle the issue of abortion? Forty-nine percent say the Democratic Party, 42 percent say the Republican Party. These numbers look like the kind of numbers that the pro-abortion rights movement, those looking to get Issue 1 passed in Ohio and enshrine abortion rights into the Constitution, these are the numbers they've been looking for, and believe they're more likely on course for that than not. But these are early numbers, and we'll see when the votes get counted when they come in.
BLITZER: We certainly will. These are the first exit polls, there's going to be several more. David Chalian, thank you very, very much.
COLLINS: And David makes a good point, Wolf, obviously, you know, these are early numbers, we'll wait to see what the numbers actually look like once the polls do close. But Margaret, when you look at this, and that third number that David showed there, feelings about SCOTUS, about the Supreme Court overturning Roe versus Wade, this was asked to female voters, and the number for the percentage that feels angry is still at 45 percent. It was at 48 percent in 2022. Clearly, that number has not changed much.
MARGARET HOOVER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: And then if you have the dissatisfied, you get 65 percent, right? This is the majority like a strong majority of people. By the way, if you also add all of the cases, and all of the people who believe abortion should be legal, at least in some cases, it's 85 percent of the exit polling results. So, not only has opinion not changed, it has Romaine -- it has remained robust in the column of women having the ability to choose their health care whether to have an abortion or not. That is, you know -- the messaging is just so clear.
And the reflection as a Republican is that Republicans have not figured out how or why they are getting beat on this issue. They just haven't figured it out. So, I look forward to seeing just exactly how that shows up in the polls.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, they haven't been able to move the needle from 2022. And, you know, the question we always ask him politics is, will this issue, will people feel as strongly about it a year from now as they did a year ago or will it fade? And looking at our numbers in 2022, you know, in -- people were angry 39 percent now, but 37 percent in 2022. Same thing. So, it has not faded.
And you're right, Republicans haven't figured out how to get their arms around this and turn this case around for them. But maybe they can't. I don't know.
JONAH GOLDBERG, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. Look, I think if these numbers are accurate, I'm pretty skeptical, but early exit polls.
COLLINS: Yes. It should be. It's an early --
BORGER: Yes, exactly.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They have an (inaudible) right now.
BORGER: Yes, yes.
GOLDBERG: I have reflexive burn reactions through, because I've been so scarred by that. But if these are actually reflective of where the actual final electorate is on this --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
GOLDBERG: -- this is a huge win for the pro-abortion rights crowd. I don't think there's any way you can interpret that otherwise. At the same time, I am -- first of all, again, I'm skeptical about all that. I do think that the thing that the Republicans are struggling with is that they did not have a post Roe plan --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
GOLDBERG: -- at all. And for most of our political lives, abortion was a better issue for Republicans for turning out voters and a better issue for Democrats for raising money, that now appears to have flipped and Republicans do not have a plan on the ground for how to deal with it.
COLLINS: Even though they worked for decades to get what happened, achieve to get that.
GOLDBERG: It's often very shocking when the dog catches the car.
KAREN FINNEY, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Car. OK. Yes. But during --
GOLDBERG: What does this do?
FINNEY: -- the course of that time, having been involved with the reproductive rights movement, we were working very hard to understand the people that we call in the mushy middle, right, to move from. When I started at near all Fortress America as a board member, six in 10 Americans supported Roe v. Wade, it's now eight in 10 Americans. And as we've seen, that number is deepening. But I'll tell you the number on here that I find fascinating is the who would you trust more, that 49 percent, 42 percent.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
FINNEY: Because guess what? That's also the case in Virginia that -- the voters trust Democrats over Republicans on this issue. So, when this issue is front and center, it looks like Democrats as what could win.
BORGER: Why isn't that margin larger? Why isn't that margin larger, though, given -- FINNEY: It's an early --
BORGER: -- for the rest of this --
COLLINS: And for those who are seeing, it's 49 percent Democratic Party, 42 percent for the Republican Party, when the question is asked, who do you --
COLLINS: -- trust more to handle abortion?
JOHN AVLON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Look, as a card carrying centrist, I over subject to the phrase, the mushy middle, it's demeaning.
FINNEY: Yes. OK.
AVLON: But particularly on abortion --
AVLON: -- I want to make a strong case here, the actually -- the old Clintonian formation, which was formulation, which was safe, legal and rare, between a woman, her doctor, her family and her God turns out to have been right in terms of a super majority of American support. This is one of many issues in which we should not have maximalist opinions driving the decision. And what I think most Americans understood was this was kind of rammed through the Supreme Court. All of a sudden, folks we had been saying for a long time, it was states rights. All of a sudden, Congress started pushing a national abortion ban contradicting that argument.
And people were saying, well, you took away a freedom that I -- that had been plays for 50 years, it's a complex personal issue. But this is some trying to find a middle ground in preserving a right that had been taken away. And whether Republicans have any future of this issue, I guess that's what Nikki Haley and Glenn Youngkin are trying to carve out. But there's no question, if these polls are right, Republicans remain on the back foot. This will be the seventh election in which they have been repudiated on this issue since Roe.
BLITZER: And it's an important point, if these polls, Gloria, are right, it's a continuation of what we've seen ever since Roe v. Wade.
BORGER: Right. Look, I mean, it's exactly the same almost if -- these are early, but the evidence is here, that people feel very strongly about this. And, you know, maybe the reason the Republicans have been able to find a way to get around it is that people are angry about it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
BORGER: And it's not just women, it's women and men. And they, you know, they are the dog that caught the bus, right? Because there was no plan B unless you were listening to Mike Pence, you know, who said you have to outlawed federally, et cetera. That's not going to fly. So, what are Republicans do now, Donald Trump, we've heard him try and make like a real estate deal.
Like, OK, well, maybe 15 weeks would be OK. But you know, this is an emotional issue, and you can't treat it like any other issue. So --
COLLINS: Yes, a lot of them are not sticking out clear positions on this.
BORGER: No, they're not.
HOOVER: There's a multiplicity of -- I mean, what Republicans said always was that what's happening now, federalism, is actually what the solution should be. Just let it go back to the states, let Ohio codify their constitution like Kansas, Kansas law. It just turns out that the party was just too fractured and too many fragments of it had much more extreme views and those are ascendance.
BLITZER: Let me just remind, everyone, these are the early exit poles --
BLITZER: -- not the final numbers by any means. They will be coming up fairly soon. We'll see what those final numbers are. So what might today's elections tell us about 2024? We'll be back with our panel in just a moment.
BLITZER: Back to our special coverage of Election Day in America. Tonight, state and local races will not only determined which political party will have control in the coming years, but it will also serve as tea leaves for 2024. President Biden and Donald Trump likely watching these contests very, very closely tonight.
And let's talk a little bit, Gloria, if Democrats have a big night tonight, I assumed that this issue of abortion rights will presumably help them looking ahead.
BORGER: Oh, yes. Yes. I think this issue of abortion rights is the wind at their back and it could be in a in a bunch of races. I think the question that's interesting to me is could somebody like Governor Beshear and Kentucky, who is a popular Democrat in a state where Joe Biden is unpopular, can he win? Can he manage to win and override those sort of negative coattails, right?
And that is something that the Whitehouse will be looking at also, because, you know, if you're popular, does it matter if the president is unpopular? That's something they've got to really be considering.
COLLINS: I don't even know if he has mentioned President Biden's name at all --
BORGER: Probably not.
COLLINS: -- while he's been campaigning. It's not like they've appeared together. I mean, he has definitely tried to focus on just Kentucky and not at all focusing in trying to bring the President in the Democratic national politics.
HOOVER: In fact major super PAC outside independent expenditure group. So spent loads of money on attack ads against Beshear tying him to Biden in favor of Daniel Cameron. That's just how much of a weight he has around a snack.
AVLON: Beshear already defied political gravity once, right? I mean, he beat a Republican who was an unpopular incumbent governor in the middle of Trump's term. He comes -- you know, his father had previously been governor, so there's a certain brand name that makes him more of a local brand rather than a national political brand. But I'd say this race is one of the most fascinating ones to watch, because both these candidates are extraordinarily talented, whoever wins, I think will be a national figure. Because for Beshear, if he wins reelection in Kentucky, a state that Donald Trump won twice by, you know, more than 20 points, he will show that there's a red state Democratic connects with rural voters.
That's a very big deal. If Daniel Cameron wins, he will not only be the first black Republican governor in Kentucky's history, but the first black Republican governor since Reconstruction. And that will be a national of national resonance as well.
GOLDBERG: Yes, I agree it's going to be really interesting. Kentucky's also just what political scientists call weird.
COLLINS: Technical term.
GOLDBERG: I don't like to bring up all the jargon, but you know, Kentucky wasn't really a southern state, it's kind of demographically a Midwestern state, but Kentuckians consider themselves southern.
AVLON: Kind of border state.
GOLDBERG: It's a strange place. It's Appalachian, which again --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
GOLDBERG: -- is kind of strange. And the --
GOLDBERG: And it's the one state where you have a McConnell machine and a Trump machine coexisting --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Together.
GOLDBERG: -- in a very weird way.
AVLON: Bluegrass and bourbon. GOLDBERG: And so you got this guy running on Kentucky first not mentioning Joe Biden. If Beshear wins, I don't know that Biden gets to say, oh, this speaks well of my chances in 2024.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
GOLDBERG: I just think it's just this weird thing going on over there. That was interesting. But it's not like Biden's going to have any chances of winning Kentucky --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.
GOLDBERG: -- or any state, you know, like it.
BORGER: No, but it shows that someone can win without him. Right?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right, right.
BORGER: And that's important for them to know since he's not exactly popular right now.
GOLDBERG: He did great substitute for Biden's running mate.
FINNEY: I think we should give Beshear a little bit of credit.
FINNEY: He has 60 percent popularity.
FINNEY: He's also running on a very strong record. I mean, he has, from what I understand, stayed very close to the electorate, visits rural Kentucky very frequently and often and has really -- people feel like he's really delivered. So, the, you know, pathway in a red state is also you have to stay connected to your voters. They've got to see you out and about and know that you are working for them and keep your race focused on those issues.
COLLINS: But my question is also when you look at a state like Virginia where every legislator is up for reelection as we know because of how they changed the redistricting and pit some people in the same party against one another. When you look at how that has been brought and how Youngkin has instructed people to talk about abortion politics, that 15 week limit that he that he is seeking, how does that factor into if that is successful, if that does work for Republicans, what people look at compared to how Governor Youngkin has helped run that and how a former President Trump plays a role in 2024?
GOLDBERG: Yes, I mean, Virginia is really interesting because both parties have put real resources behind finding candidates who are more moderate --
GOLDBERG: -- more sort of in the middle electable. The Democrats put up a bunch of guys who have law enforcement or military background. Youngkin tried to find a whole bunch of mini knees who can sort of not scare suburban voters in Northern Virginia. And I mean, for the passionate centrist here, the future kind of lies in those kind of --
GOLDBERG: -- moving the goalposts closer towards the center of American politics. And so it'll be interesting to read. I don't know that you can read -- the tea leaves are going to be all that interesting for 2024. You're going to have some House delegates. We're going to get elected with 20,000, 30,000 people voting and that's just not necessarily --
HOOVER: But what it does say about 2024, Jonah, and I think for the Republican side is if Youngkin takes the House and the Senate, this is seen as a massive victory for him.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
HOOVER: And that is a win for Republicans who are looking for somebody other than Donald Trump.
HOOVER: Even if he doesn't get it, right? Even if he, you know, he's missed these filing deadlines, I think there is still a dream out there, particularly in the donor class --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
HOOVER: -- on the Republican side, that Youngkin, John said these things.
GOLDBERG: They're lighting bode (ph) of candles nightly.
HOOVER: They are.
HOOVER: And regardless of how realistic that is, what it does is reflect that there really is still a significant portion of the Republican Party that hopes for something other than Donald Trump --
GOLDBERG: For sure.
HOOVER: -- for the nomination. And so this will give steam -- this will put wind in those sails.
BORGER: But you know, it's interesting because Donald Trump has been talking a little bit about what Youngkin have been talking about, right? A compromise of 15 weeks. Now, he's not talking about it in the same way that Youngkin is. But if I were looking at that, and I were Donald Trump, I'd be saying, oh, yes, well, maybe that's a good idea. Yes, maybe I'll do that.
BORGER: And if I'd be looking at that and I were Joe Biden, I'd say, well, you know, yes, that was smart of Youngkin to do that. He'd be a tough competitor --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sure.
BORGER: -- for me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sure.
FINNEY: Thankfully, the Republican rules will make it hard for Youngkin as I understand --
BORGER: Yes, yes.
FINNEY: -- to get in the race.
FINNEY: Although there is a lot of hoping and praying. Look, I think the -- but you know, to your point, Youngkin has put a lot of his personal credibility on the line in this race. Many of the ads he ran were actually not about the candidates, they were about him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.
FINNEY: So he really tied those candidates to him and his agenda. So, just as it could play very well for him, the flip side is we could see his decline afterwards if they lose.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
BLITZER: Let me ask you, what does it say to you that we didn't see the incumbent president out there on the campaign trail for some of these Democratic candidates?
AVLON: It says those Democratic candidates didn't want the incumbent --
AVLON: -- president on the campaign trail. I will say that we --
BLITZER: We didn't saw Trump out there on the campaign trail much either.
AVLON: No, but you know, to win primaries, of course, you know, Republicans (inaudible). We -- he's tied up record.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
AVLON: We saw that, though, remember, even in Obama's first term, you know, a lot of Democratic candidates not wanting to be seen with him in 2009, 2010, 2011. And so, look, I do think all politics is local. Yes, I'll invoke Tip O'Neill. But if you look, statistically, the Virginia State House races do seem to be predictive. And the argument Youngkin's making has been interesting.
He's been saying, look, elect Republicans so I can have people in the statehouse who will work with me, not against me. In a way it's an argument for functional government.
COLLINS: All right, that's two Tip O'Neill reference.
COLLINS: It will mark that down on our white board. We'll keep counting them all night long as we wait for these polls to close. The big question right now is still will a right to an abortion become a part of the Constitution in Ohio. The Republican governor of that state is urging voters not to vote for that measure. He is here live next to explain why he thinks it goes too far.
COLLINS: Ohio is now the seventh state where voters have had the chance to weigh in directly on the issue of abortion rights after the Supreme Court overturned Roe versus Wade. And all of the six previous states both red and blue, voters have chosen to protect a woman's right to get an abortion. I'm joined now by the governor of Ohio Republican Mike DeWine. Governor, thank you for being here. This issue on the ballot tonight is called Issue One it's about abortion rights. Do you believe it's going to pass or is it going to fail?
GOV. MIKE DEWINE (R-OH): Well, I really don't know. I saw what your exit questions were and I watched you. So well I prefer to wait until we see what at what actually comes in. What I do know is that Issue One just goes much, much too far. It allows abortion at any point in the pregnancy. And that's, you know, if you break down where people are the majority of people in Ohio if you ask them, do you believe abortion should be able to occur late, late into the term? Most of them are going to say no. So, this goes much, much further than were, I think most Ohioans are. It also threatens --
COLLINS: But governor --
DEWINE: Sure. Go ahead.
COLLINS: It also threatens what? DEWINE: I said if it threatens the parental consent law in Ohio. Ultimately this will be decided by a court. But parental consent law it threatens which basically requires a parent to be involved if a minor is making this very, very important decision.
COLLINS: Well, let me start with your first point because you're saying it goes too far that it would allow these late term abortions, of course as you know as well as I do, only about 1 percent of abortions in the U.S. according to the CDC happen after 21 weeks but the language that's actually in this amendment it's pretty short and straightforward. It says abortion may be prohibited after fetal viability, which as you know, is generally determined to be around 23 to 24 weeks. So it does say you can prohibit it.
DEWINE: Oh, look, we've talked to constitutional scholars. There's an exception to that which you have to also know, if you're looking at the exception says, for the health of the mother, health of the mother has been defined extremely broadly by the United States Supreme Court, in the abortion case. And so the exception really takes over everything. And so it would allow an abortion, right up until the time of birth.
And look, we have experienced with this in Ohio, we have a guy by the name of Martin Haskell who developed this partial birth abortion, he's the one who developed it, basically deliver the baby, kill the baby, deliver parts of the way, kill the baby and then deliver the rest of the baby. We outlawed that in Ohio. We outlawed it nationally for any case involving interstate commerce. But that would certainly be overturned, or very likely be overturned. This constitutional amendment was passed.
COLLINS: You're talking about the health of the mother being broadly determined? I mean, that's a determination that's made by a doctor who they have a duty to follow medical science, did they not?
DEWINE: It's made by the person at the Planned Parenthood clinic whose performs abortion after abortion every single day.
COLLINS: But just a doctor.
DEWINE: So that person is making that decision. Just let me finish, that person is making that decision. And they're the person who -- then there's no under this, this there's absolutely no appeal. You look at the language in this constitutional amendment. The state may not interfere directly, indirectly. And it goes on and on. And then it has this huge exception for the health of the mother.
And look at the Supreme Court decision. That was handed down with a defined health of the mother. They define it as -- it could be a question of poverty, it could be a question of I have too many children. It could be any number of different things. That's what the United States Supreme Court said. And so in all likelihood, that's what we will end up with in Ohio. COLLINS: But Governor, this amendment is short, it's only about 200 words. It doesn't say anything about finances. And it also doesn't say anything about parental consent, something you just said would be threatened. But Republican attorney general in north state said nothing about parental consent is mentioned in this amendment. I mean, you can read it, it's quite short.
DEWINE: Well, there's no doubt there's nothing mentioned about parental consent. I just explained it. If you go back, if you look at the language in the amendment, it talks about an individual. Look, these are very smart, ACLU lawyers who wrote this. They knew exactly what they were doing. If they want to say, only an adult and not a child, they would have used the word woman they didn't. They use the word, an individual.
So it's clear what they were trying to do. This is a right for an individual. And it's clear, it's very clear that a court very well could art -- could come to the conclusion that a child, you know, has that individual right, and that would -- this is a constitutional amendment. This is not just a law. This is a constitutional amendment, that constitutional amendment, will trump any law that we have on the books if they're in direct conflict with each other?
COLLINS: But Governor, I got to push back on what you said about the finances being considered when a doctor is considering the health of a mother who is considering having an abortion here. Can you name one instance, where that has ever happened?
DEWINE: Look, all I know is what the United States Supreme Court said. And if you told me you you've read the same decision. And you know, it's an extremely broad. Look, even people who are pro-choice on this issue --
COLLINS: But has this ever been happened -- has that ever happened were someone got an abortion because they were citing their finances, governor.
DEWINE: You will not let me finish. Look, the Supreme Court, the United States has defined this extremely broadly. And so it's very, very clear that even people who are pro-choice, who are in favor of Issue One, many of them will admit, yes, this will allow an abortion at anytime.
COLLINS: Governor, my last question, if this amendment does what you say it does, if it goes too far, and you don't believe that voters should vote for it, why not just have the language of the amendment actually on the ballot because it's not actually on there. Instead, it's a summary from your Republican secretary of state when the amendment is quite brief and straightforward about what it does do.
DEWINE: Look, everybody's had an opportunity to look at this. The thousands of these, hundreds of thousands of these copies have been made of this. People have had a chance to look at it. It's not a question of the language. It's a question of understanding with legal experts how this is going to be likely interpreted by courts in the in the future. [17:40:02]
COLLINS: Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, we'll see what the voters decide tonight. Thank you for your time tonight.
DEWINE: Thank you.
BLITZER: Now we're going to get reaction to that and much more with our panel. And we're also waiting for some new exit polls as our election day coverage continues.
BLITZER: Right now we're getting new exit polls in from Ohio. Let's go to CNN's political director David Chalian. He has these brand new numbers. David, so what are we hearing about who's fired up? Who fired up the voters more in Ohio?
CHALIAN: Yes, it's a good question. We'll remember these are preliminary exit poll numbers. They could shift over the night as we get more information. And it's a survey of voters who voted both today in person as well as those who voted before Election Day, either by mail or at an early voting site. But we wanted to look at the different coalition. So look first, we asked folks, this is among the folks who voted yes on Issue One, the pro-abortion rights supporters in Ohio today.
Sixty three percent of those that voted yes are angry about the overturning of Roe v. Wade. And 48 percent you see hear of those who say that abortion should be legal in all cases. That's the plurality position there. Now contrast that, Wolf, with those who voted, no, these are the anti-abortion rights folks, the pro-life supporters who voted no on the issue today in Ohio. Thirty-nine percent feel enthusiastic about the overturning of Roe, Wolf, but that does not compare to that 63 percent who felt angry on the other side.
And in terms of whether or not abortion should be illegal in most cases, you see, 56 percent of those who voted no on this issue today in Ohio, say that abortion should be illegal in most cases. It's just 24 percent who say that it should be illegal in all cases. So you see that the passion, the anger, the energy, that's on the side of the people voting yes today, the pro-abortion rights voters in Ohio, Wolf.
BLITZER: Interesting numbers indeed. David Chalian, thank you very much.
COLLINS: And Karen just to -- I want to make sure it's clear for everyone because this is confusing given we covered an issue one in Ohio not that long ago.
COLLINS: The vote no on that was to raise the threshold of what it would require to add something to Ohio's constitution. FINNEY: Correct.
COLLINS: Voting in the affirmative here is a vote for yes, for abortion rights. A vote no is a vote against adding and enshrining abortion rights into the constitution.
COLLINS: What stands out to you from these numbers?
FINNEY: I think what stands out to me is something we've been talking about tonight, which is the passion and the anger and the frustration is still very hot and people have not. And early on after Roe v. Wade was struck down, I think people thought, well, women will just, you know, they'll be OK. They'll be worried about their pocketbooks. Instead, again, it's about taking away a fundamental right, and particularly with younger voters who see this as an issue of freedom and bodily autonomy. I'll be interested to see the breakdown of who turned out in terms of the demographics because again, young voters have been very motivated on this issue.
COLLINS: Yes. And these are just early numbers, we'll continue to monitor them. The first polls are about to close in just a few moments, some of the final predictions from our great political minds. That's next.
BLITZER: The first polls are closing in just a matter of a few minutes. Let's get back to our panel. And I want to ask everyone, Gloria, starting with you. What's the big thing you're looking forward to seeing tonight?
BORGER: Well, obviously the one thing we're all looking for is how potent an issue of abortion still is after Dobbs. We've spent a lot of time talking about that. But I'm also going to look to see how strong the power of incumbency is. When you look in the state of Kentucky, Andy Beshear, popular Democrat in a ruby red state, can he survive? Can Glenn Youngkin do, even though he's not on the ballot, can he do what he wants to do, which is take credit for turning the legislature Republican?
BORGER: You know, I think that's sort of an interesting side issue to all of this, which is how much of an advantage to incumbents have and that goes also in the state of Mississippi, where there's apparently a race and Tate Reeves has some problems, but he's the incumbent. So we'll see.
BLITZER: What's the big thing you're watching for?
AVLON: I mean, look, Tate Reeves got more than a few problems. But what I'm looking for is to see whether or not these two Democratic governors in the Deep South, one incumbent one challenger, Brandon Presley can pull it off. Because that is a really interesting sign about how our politics are actually more interesting and complex than we -- they seem to be when we do everything from a red state versus blue state predetermined lens. So that's something to look at.
The other thing is that these elections are about more than just about abortion. My wife, corrected me, that's fair enough. But --
COLLINS: -- having a spouse at the table.
AVLON: It's true. But, you know, if abortion -- if this exit polls are indicative what's happening in Ohio, it's going to be, you know, the third or fourth deep red state that has rejected attempts to clamp down on abortion rights. And I wonder if that given that Donald Trump created this Supreme Court that delivered that, if that's bad news for him, going forward, not a strength, but a profound weakness, given his sort of trying attempts to sort of make things more --
HOOVER: You did two things, you're supposed to do one thing.
AVLON: You're right. Fair enough.
HOOVER: So I'm doing them fast. First, I want to look at, I'm actually very curious to see how Glenn Youngkin does if he's able to deliver this one and then how that impacts the Republican field and the Republican nomination. The second thing I'm looking for is something none of us have talked about and it's so unsexy, but it's so important for 2024. I'm looking at how quickly and efficiently and how much integrity these elections and the process of counting these ballots has. If there are crickets, from all of these states that have administered fair elections with a high degree of confidence, we have had a merciful recess from the MAGA crowd that wants to instill doubt in our ability to administer free and fair elections.
COLLINS: Karen and Jonah, I wonder what you made? I mean you just heard the Ohio governor's closing message on a major issue in his state, one of the biggest issues that people are watching tonight. I wonder what you made of that?
GOLDBERG: Yes. So I actually agree with DeWine and I think you're all wrong in your rejection of his argument. I think immediately if this thing passes, it's going to go to courts, they're going to challenge every single restriction on abortion in the state and it's going to be a court challenge for a very long time. People need to remember, look, I mean I think the abortion is that again, I'm so skeptical of these exit polls, so skeptical, but if they are right, that's going to pass and but you got to remember, you know, Ohio is a state that Trump won by what, eight. And DeWine won by 25.
This idea that all of the wind is on the back on liberals because of this one singular abortion issue I think belies the fact that our politics are a lot more complicated than they may seem.
COLLINS: So you're skeptical that it is powerful before us continuing in every way. GOLDBERG: No. I think it's a really powerful force. I don't think we're going to learn how Joe Biden is going to beat Donald Trump from these elections. I think this stuff is going to be forgotten in 10 days, Donald Trump is going to start sit, you know, talking in court, like an escape monkey from a cocaine study. And we'll all forget about all of this stuff.
FINNEY: So I'm going to look I'm looking at the demographics of what the breakdown of the turnout is, and all of these places, what are black voters doing? What are Latino voters doing? What are suburban white women doing? I think that's going to -- and what are young voters doing? That, well, if there's a level of enthusiasm, that's going to tell us a lot about whether or not what we have to do to keep them turning back out in 2024. How about that? That was less than a minute. One thing John, one.
GOLDBERG: The date of collection in this race is going to be really important, but that's just not visible.
BLITZER: We're all going to be watching this very closely. Kaitlan, my pleasure being with you, thank you very much.
COLLINS: Of course, Wolf, always good to be by your side.
BLITZER: And that's it for us tonight. Keep it right here for continuing live coverage throughout the night as the results come in. America's choice, election night in America with Jake Tapper and Erin Burnett begins in just a moment.