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CNN Live Event/Special

America's Choice 2023; New CNN Poll: Trump Leads Biden 49 Percent To 45 Percent; Interview With GOP Presidential Candidate, Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC). Aired 7-8p ET

Aired November 07, 2023 - 19:00   ET



JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: But this is this has been Andy Beshear's gift. If you -- if you look at go back to the 2019 race, right, this is Andy Beshear in 2019. See all this blue? See all this blue out here? This is a Democrat governor in a very red state, running strong.

Now try to find it. When you look at the presidential race, Joe Biden only won two counties. Joe Biden won two counties in Kentucky. Andy Beshear, when he ran for governor, won a boatload, because of the brand, the family name.

The question is, Jake, can he come close to matching this?

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: All right, John King.

All voting -- all voting is about to end in Kentucky and in Virginia, Kentucky's Democratic Governor Andy Beshear is seeking reelection in and CNN is saying that it is too early to call. The polls closed at 7:00 p.m. and it is too early to call the governor's race in Kentucky.

We're also going to say that in Virginia, it is too early to call the general assembly. No surprise, the polls just closed. It is too early to call the general assembly. That is a ferocious battle going on right now.

Let's walk over to the panel and we'll talk with Abby and Dana and Kaitlan and Kasie about what's going on.

I have to say, the Glenn Youngkin interview was really interesting. One of the things that's so fascinating is he is trying to steer a path for the Republican Party that is a non-MAGA path.

He had a boot camp. He picked ten candidates in divisive primaries and conventions. He went ten for ten. He took them to this boot camp that he had the debate coach. He tried to encourage them to accept that Joe Biden won the 2020 election, which would be something that you would think he wouldn't have to get people to agree to.

And they're all very, very conservative. I'm not saying that they're moderates, but they are not MAGA candidates per se.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, and that's, of course, if you look at any of the ads that the Democrats are running, that is the template that all of these Republicans are MAGA candidates. What I and maybe I'm misreading this, I'd love to get everybody else's take.

What I thought was really interesting is despite the fact that Youngkin is leaning in and having the candidates lean into this notion of if you elect a Republican full legislature, we will pass a 15-week limit, not a ban, but a limit on abortion. When I asked him about how things are going, he talked all about the economy, not about abortion.

When I asked him about abortion, he talked about it, and then turned to the economy.

He's -- I don't know what that says about what he's seeing.

KASIE HUNT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: It's very clear that he is in the final days trying to look at this and say, oh, I got to change the subject. Like, we'll see how the results play out. But if you read how his body language is shaping up, it's going to be a rough night.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN HOST: He also described it as an issue that they can get to a compromise on, to move on and talk to other things. That's a really interesting way of framing it, almost as if it's like, let's just put -- put aside these controversial issues that are basically the third rail of politics and have been for some time. So that we can get to the stuff that I think we're on more solid footing on.

And I'm not sure that's really going to work because as we've been discussing, this is a front of mind issue for voters, for Democratic voters, certainly, but for a lot of more moderate voters, particularly women who actually are very open to republic policies. But on this issue, they have been coming out in state after state and they have been saying we do not want to go this far. I would be curious. I mean, I'm curious to see about a 15-week abortion ban with even with the exceptions that they've laid out, because a lot of voters have not really wanted the government to even go there, even if they personally believe that abortion should not happen.

BASH: It is an interesting test case because they're playing in the suburbs on that very issue.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, and I think part of the line is being blurred on when we talk to candidates about how many weeks of an abortion ban that they would support. I think right now, where voters seem to be and tonight will be really revealing to see where they are in 2023 is just hearing abortion ban period makes people think of the fact that in some states there are near-total bans on these abortions.

Virginia is one of the last southern states where there isn't a near- total ban. And I think part of the question has been was he wise to introduce this 15 week idea that he's been pushing is more moderate, calling it a limit? It's still a ban after 15 rebranding, even though they're changing the language on it. The question is how do voters respond to that? And was it wise for him

to go and to push this? Is it a successful route? I don't think it's totally clear.

TAPPER: The other thing is, whatever he wants, whatever Governor Youngkin wants to call it and whatever the candidates he's picked are now agreeing to, the Democrats get to say what they want to say, too. And for those of us who don't change the channel, when the commercials come on, that's all the Democrats are talking about in the state legislative races that all the Democratic ads are about abortion, 100 percent.

This Republican delegate can idiot this Republican state Senate candidate is going to ban abortion, period. Full stop. That's entirely what Democratic candidates, at least in northern Virginia, what they're running on.


PHILLIP: The problem is that if you are going to try to carve a non- MAGA path for the Republican Party, you have to give the base something. And that's, I think, why Youngkin has ended up in this place on abortion. They have to offer the base something on this issue that is a bedrock of modern day Republican politics. That's -- a 15- week abortion ban is actually not a very Trumpy thing, but it is central to the Republican base. And I think this is why this is a test.

If you take Trumpism, and election denialism out of the picture, can you do enough to motivate a Republican leaning voters to get them out to the polls and bring in more moderates? We'll find out. But that is what he is testing right now. But, you know, it's interesting.

BASH: You know, it's interesting you say it's MAGA. And I think this is a little bit of a Rorschach test because. Yes, if you are very, very conservative on the issue of abortion, you could say, okay, it's pretty good. It's at least there's a there's a ban or a limit, whatever you want to call it, starting at the second trimester.

What he's trying to do is appeal to suburban women or people who are looking at the abortion issue and saying, you know what? I don't think that there should be abortion allowed in an unlimited way. But they also don't think that there should be a total ban. They're trying to find the word he used was compromised. I don't know if it exists.

HUNT: The fall -- the fall of Roe versus Wade was an absolute political disaster for Republicans. It just was. It was an absolute political disaster. They have to figure out how to grapple with it.

Glenn Youngkin wants to have a national profile. All the ads he aired in Virginia, they were not about these individual candidates. They were about Glenn Youngkin, right? He fronted this. This was supposed to be the springboard for his whatever he's going to do next on the national stage, whether that's now or in however many years.

And it's really looking like it didn't work. And I mean, to Abby's point, he is caught between a Republican base that cares deeply about this issue and the realities of trying to win voters in the suburbs. I mean, this is why Democrats have been doing so well.

TAPPER: And it's not just the suburbs of Virginia, as we've seen. It's the voters in the suburbs in Kansas.

HUNT: Kansas City and in Columbus.

TAPPER: And Kentucky. We're going to see what happens in Ohio tonight, in Montana, to the truth of the matter is, is that there are a lot of Republicans throughout the country, including in red states that do not approve of Roe v. Wade being overturned.

HUNT: A smart Republican also mentioned to me that this is going to be on the ballot in Arizona in 2024, which is a critical swing state.

COLLINS: It'll be on the ballot in a lot of states if it's successful.

HUNT: Arizona being a very, very important swing state.

TAPPER: More votes ahead as we're on the brink of getting the first results on that. Abortion rights ballot measure in Ohio and we're moments away from revealing the results of CNN's exclusive new 2024 presidential poll. I know what it says. Don't you want to know?

It includes a new snapshot of Biden versus Trump one year before the potential rematch. That's after this break. You're going to have to stick around to find out. Stay with us.



ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: And we have a key race alert in the state of Kentucky. Polls are closed there. This race tightening just a bit as the results start to come in.

Obviously, Andy Beshear, the Democratic incumbent, is ahead right now 58.2 percent of the votes so far. Daniel Cameron, the GOP, the GOP challenger, current attorney general right now, at 41.8 percent. And as you can see, just over 20 percent of the votes are in already. So that is the key race alert there as those votes start to come in and counting just tightening a little bit in these past few moments. All polls, of course, now closed in the state of Kentucky.

And as we are watching that state, a crucial one tonight. We're getting our first look at the results from CNN's new 2024 presidential poll.

Our political director, David Chalian, is here with the very first of this.

And we're going to be going through this, David, through the night, because there is a lot of substance in this poll. Let's start with what you see as the biggest headline here. DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yeah, Erin, there is a lot in

this poll. And again, this is a poll. It's a snapshot in time. It's a year out, but it is instructive as it sets the stage.

Take a look at the horse race here between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. You see that Donald Trump has a narrow lead among registered voters, 49 percent to 45 percent. That's just outside the margin of error.

I want to show you some key groups that were critical to Joe Biden's election as president in 2020. And they are not at the level of support that he needs them to be.

Take a look here at independents. You see 45 percent Trump, 41 percent Biden. That was a Biden-plus 13 group in the 2020 election. These are registered voters. It's a poll comparing to actual voters in 2020, but instructive.

Take a look at Black voters, 73, Biden to 23 Trump in our poll. That's a 50 point lead, except Joe Biden three years ago won Black voters by 75 points in that election. Latino voters basically dead even here, 50. Biden, 46 percent Trump. That was a group Joe Biden won by 33 points.

And look at young voters. They are -- they are deadlocked, 47 percent Biden, 48 percent Trump. That was a very strong Biden group. He won them by roughly 24 points, just three years ago.

Some key attributes the key qualities of the candidates, the strong qualities here for Joe Biden.

Respect the rule of law, 51 percent of our poll respondents say that applies to Joe Biden. Only 35 percent say that that applies to Donald Trump.

Honest and trustworthy. You see that Joe Biden best Donald Trump by nine percentage points on that score.

Flip it to Donald Trump's strongest attributes, an effective world leader. He is 12 points ahead of Biden on that score, 48 percent to 36.

And has the necessary stamina and sharpness to serve as president only 25 percent of our poll respondents a quarter say that is true of Joe Biden. Double that 53 percent say that is true of Donald Trump.

And just in terms of motivation, Erin, we are seeing in our poll that Republican and Republican leaning independent voters, 71 percent of them extremely motivated to vote, 61 percent of Democrats and Democratic leaners say so. That's an enthusiasm advantage.

And finally, neither one of these candidates are popular with the American public.


Look at their favorable numbers. Joe Biden is at 36 percent favorable, 59 percent unfavorable. Donald Trump's at 38 percent favorable, 56 percent unfavorable.

And when we look at those who say an unfavorable opinion of both of them, Donald Trump is actually winning them in this poll by nine points. And he did win that group back in 2016 of what we call the double haters, those that didn't like Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. That was part of his path to the White House in 2016.

Here he is also winning with the so-called double haters, Erin.

BURNETT: The double haters, the double negative, turning out to be a positive for him.

All right. Thank you very much, David Chalian.

All right. And as I said, there's so much substance here.

Let's get straight to our panel to go through what David just shared.

So, Kate, obviously, you know the president well. You've spent a lot of time with him. This is obviously a grim poll for him on every front.

But I want to highlight one thing David Chalian just said. When you break it down by independents, Black voters, women and young voters, 18 to 34 right now, Trump is winning by one point call that a dead heat. Biden won it by 24 points last time around. That's a stunning slide.

KATE BEDINGFIELD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah, look, I mean, this is not a good poll for Joe Biden. The best thing in this poll for Joe Biden is the date on it, which is November 7th, 2023, and not 2024. It's not a great poll.

However, there are things here that I think give him a pathway, show a pathway for him. So, he obviously has a lot of work to do with some of the core components of the Biden coalition, including voters of color, including young voters. But we're seeing in results as they're coming in tonight, there is incredible enthusiasm and energy for the Democratic position on issues like abortion.

We know that there's enthusiasm on issues like climate. There are issues that speak to young voters where Biden and the Democrats have an opportunity to draw a really strong contrast.

So no question that he has his work laid out for him. No question the campaign knows that. I know from talking to folks on the campaign, they certainly don't have their head in the sand on this.

But I think given what we see here about people's faith in Biden as somebody who's honest and trustworthy, which gives you a credibility opening, people are open to hearing from you if they believe that you're truthful. And then on these issues that we're actually seeing play out in real time in elections where we know Biden and Democrats have, the more popular.

BURNETT: So can you hit your horse to an abortion issue or something. Van, okay, but drilling down here. Kate touching on some of these issues with young voters, independents, Black voters, Latino voters -- Latino voters, Biden's winning 50-46. He won it by 33 points last time around. Black voters, 73 to 23. Biden won by 75 last time, and won one point there to go a little bit deeper among Black men, Trump actually wins by three points in this poll, 49 to 46.


First of all, overall, the Biden-Harris coalition could be called the Humpty Dumpty coalition right now, just falling apart, just falling apart. The Latino vote on the ground, the youth vote on the ground, the Black vote on the ground. This is -- this is not good.

Now, there is a year to turn it around. The Black male, that's a stunner. Black women have been in the lead, but Black men haven't been that far behind.

I think you've got a constituency that is losing hope and looking for change. There is a lot of the things that Black men were voting for didn't happen yet. Nothing yet on voting rights, nothing yet on police reform, nothing yet on criminal justice reform. So, a lot of those issues that were important for Black male voters haven't been addressed yet, and the economic pain is real.

The last thing I'll say is a lot of Black male voters are non-college working folks. And some of the stuff that is non-college working, that's working for white working class guys can also work for Black working class guys. But you can't just expect for Black men to stand in long lines or Black women to stand in long lines, get nothing done on policy specifically to them, and then stay in this coalition.

BURNETT: Alyssa, there's also the reality of some of these points that David just went through respects the rule of law. Okay? Biden crushes Trump on that honest and trustworthy. He does better, but only by nine points.

Effective world leader, Trump significantly better than Biden.


BURNETT: Forty-eight percent think that Trump is an effective world leader, as opposed to Joe Biden's 36 percent. Now, I traveled with President Trump.

You know, to some degree, a president is victim of circumstance as Joe Biden is governing at a time Israel and Hamas are at war. Ukraine is at war. He's dealing with a world that feels like it's on fire.

But I -- my caution to the Biden folks is I think these numbers actually only risk going down for him. Progressives on the left are not where Joe Biden is with Israel. Now, granted, I'm much closer as a Republican voter to where Joe Biden's been on Israel, but most Republicans are not going to flip from Republican position on it.

So I think that that's what I'd be keeping my eye on. But at a time when whether it's China and Taiwan that Trump is seen as a more effective world leader is stunning. And it was a big part of the campaign message.

We are going to be democracy. We're going to be the party of democracy. We're going to rebuild the NATO coalition, and we're going to lead on the world stage.


And that's just not translating to voters.

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You don't think -- you don't think -- you don't think they pulled Kim Jong Un, do you?

Listen, I just want to say one thing about the thing that nobody's discussed here. I mean, Kate said the best thing about this poll is the date. I think the best thing probably is that Trump is terribly unpopular and therefore deeply vulnerable himself at the end of the day.

But the date that people are looking at is the date on the president. And that is reflected in this poll. And that's the hard part, because it's a hard thing. You can fight on issues. And I think Democrats have the high ground on issues and you're going to see it perhaps tonight in the results in these elections. We don't know yet, but it sure feels that way.

But how you deal with that and it becomes a strength issue. I mean, I'm stunned, honestly, by the effect of, you know, leader in the world, because Joe Biden has shown great leadership. He should be given strength points and they're not giving them to him.

DAVID URBAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah, real quickly, I was going to say, the one question here, the whole race comes down to this question, has a stamina and sharpness to serve effectively as president. That's the race. That's the race.

And, Kate, to your point, 25, one year from now, that's not getting any better. That's going to get worse. You can't fix that.

BEDINGFIELD: But part of what Trump is benefiting from here on all of this is sort of receding to the background, which is a crazy thing to say about Donald Trump. But it's true.

It's true when Donald Trump is front and center and he is making all sorts of bombastic, crazy statements every day, it will feel like more of a contrast. That's what that's what's not reflected in this poll.

BURNETT: Audie, quickly.

AUDIE CORNISH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think you have a point. Trump is just not on stage. So it's easy to have hazy memories about what he is actually --

URBAN: Stamina, stamina.


CORNISH: And I don't think stamina is going to improve either.

BURNETT: I'll stay with because as I said, we've gone through a little bit of this and there's a lot more to talk about and we are just minutes away from the end of voting in Ohio, crucial new test of voter sentiment on abortion. These issues that the group is talking about here, how it may play into 2024. Those results, plus a vote there also on legalizing marijuana, all ahead.



TAPPER: And we have another key race alert for you when it comes to the Kentucky governor's race. With 32 percent of the vote in, Democratic incumbent Governor Andy Beshear remains in first place. He is 61,384 votes ahead with. 56.3 percent of the vote over his Republican challenger, the attorney general of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Daniel Cameron, who has 43.7 percent of the vote. That's with about a third of the vote in right now.

We are also closing in on the first results from Ohio, where voting ends just minutes from now at 7:30 eastern. In one of the most closely watched contests tonight, voters in red leaning Ohio are deciding whether to amend the Ohio state constitution to establish in that Constitution a right to an abortion. A yes vote would make Ohio the seventh state where voters backed abortion rights since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year.

This is an important task of this issue for Democrats who are making abortion rights central to their message in 2024. Ohioans are also making a choice on whether to become the 24th state in the United States to legalize recreational marijuana use for adults. With just minutes to go before voting ends in Ohio, let's go over to John King, who has more on the vote in Kentucky.

So, John, Governor Beshear is maintaining his lead. I am wondering how much of this is just because of the early voting and how much of this is because of the vote that is coming in is coming from population centers that are generally Democratic?

KING: It's all the above in the sense that you do have votes coming in Jefferson County, by far, 17 percent of the population, the largest county, the most Democratic county, he's at 70 percent there. Only 22 percent of the vote.

And so, you know, let's see if Cameron can in -- come the early votes tend to be counted first. They have been for years disproportionately Democratic. We don't know if that's the case tonight, but they have been.

So you're looking at the two largest counties, Jefferson and now Fayette here, Lexington and the suburbs around it, and Andy Beshear in the votes counted so far is more than meeting his metrics. This is up to 84 percent of the estimated. So if he stays above 70 percent here, as this plays out that's a very strong Democratic turnout.

The number -- the number we got to look at the math, compare the math to turnout off year election. But it's a governor's race.

Here's your question, though. Right? So you see all the gray down here, that means we have no votes, right. So let's let me draw a line. We have a lot of gray over here.

Let's just come through this and do this all the way across the state. Nothing there, right? Many of these are small rural counties, so there's not a lot of math. But let's just go back in time to 2020. Let's go to the presidential race.

That's Trump country, right? That's Trump country. So we'll conservatives vote for Daniel Cameron, and will they turn out not in presidential numbers. That's not going to happen even in a governor's race. But can they can they get turnout in those counties?

So we don't know the answer to that question yet. So we have to wait to see, number one, how big are Cameron's margins by percentages? But number two, the math, because you need just like when Trump does in competitive states, this is not a competitive state presidentially, but in a competitive state. Republicans need to run it up in the rural areas, not just with their percentages, but with math to offset the big urban areas that are going overwhelmingly so far for Andy Beshear.

But again, only 22 percent here, Cameron, the state attorney general, one of the questions Andy Beshear is incredibly popular with the Democratic base, a big African-American base in Louisville and in the Lexington and the Frankfort area. Can Daniel Cameron, the Black attorney general, cut into that at all?

He's been on the statewide ballot before, so it's an interesting question when you have two people who have won statewide running against each other. But at the moment, the governor is more than meeting his metrics.

We talked earlier about the Cincinnati suburbs up here. This is more rural, more exurban. I mean, over here, Campbell County, you come to Kenton County here, Covington, if you've ever flown into Cincinnati, that's your airport is actually in Kentucky.

You drive across the bridge. Andy Beshear has talked a lot about that bridge, right? Yes he worked with Joe Biden on that bridge, but he also worked with Mitch McConnell on that bridge.

TAPPER: Right.

KING: He has talked a lot about this bridge right here, saying I get things done.


That's not -- that's not a Democratic bridge. It's not a Republican bridge. I get things done. So the question is, can he sell that brand in what is a tough climate?

David Chalian was just going through the poll about Joe Biden. If Joe Biden's numbers are that bad nationally, imagine what they are in the state of Kentucky, right?

And so, Jake, part of the challenge is can the popular incumbent Democrat governor sell his personal brand and overcome what in Kentucky would fairly be the Biden drag? We'll see.

TAPPER: All right, John King, thanks so much.

And we are just moment away from the end of voting in Ohio.

And we have a key race alert for you. It is too early to call on a constitutional right to abortion in the state of Ohio. Voters there going to the polls to decide whether or not to enshrine abortion rights in the Ohio state constitution.

Let us go to CNN's Jeff Zeleny right now. He's in Miami. That is the site of tomorrow's Republican presidential debate, the third.

Jeff, how closely are the Republican candidates for following tonight's results, especially on this contentious issue of abortion rights?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, the Republican candidates and in fact, leaders across the Republican Party are watching these results very carefully on abortion, particularly in Virginia and Ohio, even a Supreme Court race in Pennsylvania.

And here is why -- they are mindful of the landmines that abortion created for the Republican Party in the 2022 midterm elections. For decades, of course, abortion was a motivating factor, more on the Republican side. That changed dramatically after the Supreme Court decision in the Dobbs case.

So Democrats, of course, are holding this out as one of their top opportunities, they believe, to fire up their own voters. So the candidates are watching this very carefully and there are some differences between the Republican candidates, as we will hear at the debate tomorrow night here in Miami.

Nikki Haley, for example, the former South Carolina governor, the former U.N. ambassador, has struck more of a middle ground. That has really helped her earn some support in suburban areas with some suburban voters.

Even Donald Trump, the former president, has said privately to advisers that he believes abortion is a losing issue. So he does not stress that very much at all.

Of course, here in Florida, the governor, Ron DeSantis, he has signed a six-week ban.

But, Jake, this is why it matters at a 30,000-foot view as Republicans try and win control of the Senate, hold control of the House and win back the White House, abortion could be front and center as well. It could also be on the ballot in places like Arizona, here in Florida, even in Missouri.

So the outcome of the abortion measures tonight certainly will play a huge role in our politics for the next year -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Jeff Zeleny in Miami, Florida, thank you so much. Really appreciate it.

You know, the idea that Donald Trump is trying to avoid this when with the exception of Mitch McConnell, there is no one person more responsible for the overturning of Roe v. Wade more than Donald Trump is just remarkable. He is the one who appointed those three justices who were the key votes, who overturned Roe v. Wade.

PHILLIP: He created a list of judges based on --

TAPPER: He didn't create it.

PHILLIP: He didn't create it. He endorsed a list of judges based on largely their view on this issue. He picked from that list, as he promised, was able to appoint three Supreme Court justices.

But don't forget, Donald Trump, before he was running for president as a Republican, was actually a pro-choice Democrat on this issue. So I don't think that a lot of Republicans, if you know his history, are totally surprised by that.

He's also in some ways very politically astute about what works for him politically and he sees what we all saw in 2022, which is that this is not an issue that worked for Republicans. Even Republicans who were playing in these races who saw what was happening day to day, they thought that they were on good footing. And then election night came and it didn't turn out that way.

So Trump is seeing that and he's looking out for Trump and a lot of these Republicans on the right who supported him, the Susan B. Anthony List and others are frankly furious with him about how he's positioned himself. But the reason he's not backing off is because he's looking forward to 2024 and he doesn't think.

TAPPER: Let me just interrupt for one second, because if anyone on home who caught me peering over there, we have we have some votes coming in. We have 2 percent of the vote in from Ohio. And again, this is just a small fraction of the votes in.

But the constitutional right to abortion is taken an early lead with 78.8, well, now it's 75.8 percent saying yes, 24.2 percent saying no. That's a 59,819 vote lead.

Again, that's just 3 percent of the vote in. We have a lot of votes to count out of Ohio, but that is some raw numbers that we have.

BASH: Yeah. And in the other referenda that we've seen, it's been about 58, 59 percent in favor of abortion rights.


And that's one of the things that's really interesting about Ohio is to see if it's going to be the same. And remember, there was an earlier attempt to raise the threshold, to make it above 60 percent in order for this to go through, which failed. And that just gives you a sense of how the people in Ohio who are against this, who are anti- abortion, understand even in a red state, which effectively Ohio is, it's not totally it's pretty it's pretty red. Sherrod Brown doesn't want to hear that, but it's on the presidential level. It has been for several cycles.

And so, as you said, now it's 3 percent and it's very, very early. But not only will the total be interesting, but the final percentage.

COLLINS: I also think the way they're messaging it is so interesting to me. The amendment is about 200 words. It's very straightforward and it's really easy to read. It's not actually on the ballot. Instead, it's a summary by the Republican secretary of state who is pushing that, raising the threshold in August, which failed fabulously.

And so, we were talking to the Ohio governor earlier about this and if they think that it's just the amendment itself, the constitutional right to an abortion in Ohio's constitution is what voters should vote against, that language is not actually in the ballot. And instead, they've talked about late term abortions being allowed, even though, of course, the CDC says only fewer than 1 percent of people in the us get a late term abortion. They've talked about parental rights, even though the Republican attorney general in the state has said there's no mention of parental rights in this amendment.

So the messaging on this has been really confusing. And so I do think it'll be interesting to see what the takeaway is from voters and how close the margin is, regardless of which way they vote.

HUNT: I think the fundamental thing here, all of the language, the messaging is confusing. There's a lot of numbers thrown around 15 weeks, six weeks that the other thing, the fall of Dobbs just created this fundamental difference in reality, where Republicans are no longer galvanized by this issue the way they were because they won the fight.

So they've kind of laid down their arms a little bit. The voters, I mean, the groups have not, but they have a much harder time galvanizing voters to get out on this, the same way Democrats had trouble convincing people that, no, they really did actually have to work harder to protect Roe versus Wade. The Democrats now have all the cards on this.

And fear is an incredibly motivating force in politics as much as we don't want it to be. And Democrats are more afraid right now than Republicans are.

PHILLIP: And look, I think there is there is a difference. I keep talking to Republicans about their referendum on abortion. There's a difference for a lot of voters in what they personally believe and what they want to see in the law in their particular state. TAPPER: There was always a nudge, nudge, wink, wink that Republicans

would convey to voters like we're never going to really actually overturn Roe v. Wade.

People may not remember, but before the 2004 election, Laura Bush, the first lady, even kind of suggested it. I think it was on the "Today Show" that maybe she was even kind of pro-choice. I mean, there was always just this suggestion that Republicans weren't really ever going to do anything about it.

And guess what? The anti-abortion forces in the Republican Party, they heard that and they said, no, we're serious about this. And that's -- that's when Donald Trump signed off on that list that you were just talking about.

We're closely watching those early results from the abortion rights ballot measure in Ohio. And the first results from that Mississippi governor's race are just around the corner when polling places closed at the top of the hour.

Coming up next, Erin Burnett will press Senator Tim Scott about his uphill fight for the GOP presidential nomination against Donald Trump, amid questions about whether a Trump Biden rematch is all but inevitable.

Stay with us.



BURNETT: All right. We have a key race alert for you right now in the state of Kentucky. All polls are closed.

Andy Beshear, the incumbent Democratic governor, right now leading with 53.4 percent of the vote, 331,000 plus votes. Daniel Cameron, the Republican attorney general, trailing right now, 46.7. You see these results are dynamic and moving as we speak.

But right now, just in these past few minutes, we've gone up to 40 percent of the vote reporting there.

In the state of Ohio, two crucial measures on the ballot, the one here, abortion right now with just about 5 percent of the vote in. You can see 66.7 percent of voters in Ohio are supporting that constitutional right for abortion. Just a third of voters are voting no, very few votes in right now. But that is consistent with the exit polls, as we saw them on that issue earlier this evening.

As we stand by for more votes and more information coming in here, I want to bring in the U.S. senator and Republican presidential candidate, Tim Scott of South Carolina, and he joins us all from Miami tonight.

Senator, I very much appreciate your time. And I just want to start with some of the information that we're getting out of our latest poll here at CNN. Look, you've repeatedly said, Senator, that a main reason not to have Donald Trump as a Republican nominee is that he isn't electable.

Two weeks ago, you said, quote, I don't think he can win in a general election. The latest poll that we have here now, though, does show Trump narrowly leading Joe Biden in a head to head matchup. "The New York Times" poll, of course, over the weekend showed Trump leading Biden in five of the six most crucial battleground states.

Does all of this show to you that Trump is, in fact, electable at this time?

SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, what it says in that same poll is that a generic Republican, someone like myself, a unique, qualified, optimistic Republican does even better than the former president.

So what we know is if we want a red wave from the top of the ticket to the bottom of the ticket, we have to have a candidate who persuades independents to join us, and from a consistently conservative platform to change America into all that we can be. And that means we're focusing on restoring hope, creating opportunities, and protecting the America we all love.

BURNETT: All right. I want to drill down on a couple of points here in this night, of course, before a presidential debate that you will be on the stage for. But first, one more point from our CNN poll that just came out that stood out. It does show that 23 percent of Black voters choose Trump.


Now, that is nearly double his 2020 levels in some exit polls. Interestingly, in our poll, if you drill down, Senator -- and Van Jones was saying this stunned him. But if you drill down, men of color, Trump wins -- 49 percent to 46 percent in our latest poll.


BURNETT: Actually wins men of color, and I hear you say, wow.

I mean, how do you even respond to that? And what in your record makes you think you could do better than Trump?

SCOTT: Well, I've already done better than Trump in my own home state.

But here's the fact -- I was on the south side of Chicago just a few weeks ago. I had an opportunity to go to an inner city church and preach the gospel.

One of the things we see with African American voters are that they are sick and tired of being told by the Democrat Party to sit down, shut up and to vote blue. They want results. They want quality education for their kids. They want to make sure that there are entrepreneurs and jobs in the community.

On the south side of Chicago, we saw an opportunity for artists and contractors to be trained. We saw the opportune to improve the quality of education. That message resonates.

What we saw in 2016 to 2020 was a 50 percent increase in Black votes for Republicans. I believe that any Republican, any great opportunity party candidate will poll better and attract more minorities into our party because of the challenges that we see with Joe Biden and the dereliction of his duty and the optimistic, positive message that is resonating within the Black community, especially with Black men.

BURNETT: I want to ask you about Iowa because the governor there obviously has made a decision to endorse Governor DeSantis.

You say you're all in there. Kim Reynolds, of course, did endorse DeSantis. And at a stop today, she said, I welcomed candidates. They had their chance, referring obviously, to you and your other rivals.

A new "Des Moines Register" poll has you right now in fourth place in Iowa.

Do you still think you can win there?

SCOTT: Yes, absolutely, Erin. One of the things I've learned is that the more time I spend in Iowa, the better we do. We continue to do town halls. We'll be back there on Thursday. I'm excited to get back to the state.

I do believe that the road to the White House runs right through the evangelical base of Iowa voters who will be turning out in the caucus. I've got a couple of months to make my case, and we're going to use those months to make my case and become our nominee.

BURNETT: I want to ask you one more question here about some developments on the Israel front.

SCOTT: Sure.

BURNETT: And I know you've been very outspoken about that.

The White House today did say that that the President Biden does not believe that Israeli forces should be reoccupying Gaza after this year.

And that, of course, came in response to Prime Minister Netanyahu's comments in which he said specifically that Israel will have overall security responsibility in Gaza for -- the crucial word, Senator, is an indefinite period after the war. So, an indefinite period of security and occupation.

Do you support that or do you agree with the Biden White House that that is not appropriate?

SCOTT: Well, there's no question that what we should remember is why Prime Minister Netanyahu has talked about Gaza in this fashion, whatsoever. It's because Hamas created the greatest travesty of justice since the Holocaust against the Jewish people. Their objective is to wipe Jews off of the planet.

Giving Prime Minister Netanyahu and the state of Israel all the time they need to wipe Hamas off the map is our only objective at this point. Making sure that there's a shoulder to shoulder relationship, no daylight, so that Prime Minister Netanyahu can continue his objective and to do it successfully.

And the faster he accomplishes that objective, the more lives we actually will save.

BURNETT: Senator Tim Scott, thank you very much. I appreciate your time tonight. All of us do.

SCOTT: Thank you, Erin. God bless.

BURNETT: All right. And we are just minutes away from 8:00 Eastern. That is when polling places are scheduled to close in the state of Mississippi. And there we are awaiting the first results in a red state showdown between an incumbent Republican governor and a person who happens to be a second cousin of Elvis Presley. You won't want to miss that.



TAPPER: And we have a projection in Kentucky. CNN is projecting that the incumbent secretary of state, Michael Adams, will be reelected, defeating a Democrat, Buddy Wheatley. And CNN is projecting that in the attorney general race, Russell Coleman, the Republican, will defeat Democrat Pamela Stevenson. That is an open seat, the attorney general, because the incumbent attorney general is running for governor.

Let us all check also check out, of course, what is going on in the key race alert we have here for the governor's race in the state of Kentucky, the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Democratic incumbent Governor Andy Beshear, with 50 percent of the vote in remains ahead, 39,520 votes ahead, with 52.7 percent of the vote against the Republican attorney general, Daniel Cameron, who has 47.3 percent of the vote. That is 50 percent of the vote in.

Let us look at Ohio right now, where there is a referendum on whether or not there should be a constitutional right to an abortion in the state constitution.

With 13 percent of the vote in, yes is ahead by more than 175,000 votes, 67.7 percent for yes. No has 32.3 percent of the vote. So far, yes is in the lead. Yes, would of course, enshrined abortion rights with within in the Ohio constitution. But again, there is still 87 percent of the vote left to count.

We're standing by for results from more key races across the country that could preview the political trends in 2024. In deep red Mississippi, for example, the big question tonight, does conservative Democrat Brandon Presley, the second cousin of Elvis Presley, have a shot at defeating the Republican incumbent governor, Tate Reeves -- Tate Reeves, who has been caught up in a corruption scandal?


Presley has national party funding and name recognition because, of course, of his second cousin.

A new rule requiring candidates in that state to get a majority of the vote means this governor's contest could go to a runoff for the first time ever.

We are also watching a high profile mayor's race in the great city of Philadelphia. The Democrat, Cheryl Parker, is poised to become the city's first ever female mayor. The former city council member faces Republican David Oh.

History also could be made in Houston, Texas. Prominent Democratic Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee is aiming to be the first Black woman elected mayor of Houston. She and Democratic State Senator John Whitmire are leading a crowded field in the nonpartisan mayoral contest there.

A new wave of results are coming at the top of the hour, but until then, let's go back to John King.

John, this Kentucky race is fascinating because CNN was able to call the secretary of state and attorney general races for the Republicans pretty quickly. We are not able to do that with the governor's race.

KING: You're not able to do that. But you just said two Republicans have won statewide tonight. And yet the Democratic governor is leading by five points with about a little more than half of the vote estimated counted.

That tells you something, right there about the strength of the Andy Beshear brand and the strength of his campaign in a year, when you talked about the national poll and this is a very red state. If Joe Biden nationally, his numbers are as bad as they are nationally, you know how bad they are in Kentucky.

TAPPER: I can't even imagine.

KING: Right. And so and so here's Andy Beshear right now doing more than he has to do. Again, 53. We need to wait and we need to go through.

But in the big Democratic areas, he's running it up. He got 67 percent here four years ago. He's getting 69 percent at the moment, only a quarter of the vote. If he stays close to that, think about the math. It's the state's largest county. It's popped up, just popped up to 30. And he went up to 70 percent right there.

And so you come back in here right now, you just look the map is filling in. Joe Biden won two counties in this state, two counties in the state. Look at all those blue counties.

Andy Beshear right now is filling in the map, a ways to go. But a Democratic governor, a tough climate at the moment, looks like he's on a path to reelection. We'll count the rest.

TAPPER: All right. Let's go to Dianne Gallagher now, who has some breaking news out of Mississippi.

Dianne, what are you learning?

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Jake, a chancery court judge just extended the voting hours here in Hinds County, a very populous area in Mississippi by one hour, meaning that polls will instead close at 9:00 p.m. Eastern, 8:00 p.m. Central Time.

The judge in his order said that a number of precincts in Hinds County ran out of ballots during Election Day and are continuing to run out of ballots. And others may run out going forward.

I'm reading from this order that just came down, noting that it takes time to deliver more ballots to the precincts. And look, Jake, you can see, I mean, we have plenty of people who are waiting in line here.

They still have additional time to get out and vote and this is something that I was just speaking with a Democrat Party official here in Hinds County who told me they were very encouraged by turnout here. This is something that the Presley campaign was looking at as well.

Look, the Tate Reeves campaign, the incumbent governor, has said that they feel that they have run a race that is heavy on his accomplishments, as well as working to tie Presley to national Democrats.

But, look, they are encouraged. The Democrats here in Mississippi, by the turnout they are seeing so far. The precinct captain that we just spoke with at this location says she is seeing close to double what she saw in the past elections at this particular location. They're looking at high turnout.

And now here in Hinds County, an additional hour to get the vote out because of those ballots running out. The secretary of state did issue a statement noting that his office is not responsible for ballots. That is the county offices, but that they are in constant communication with local officials and relaying those complaints from the election protection line to them, noting that normally they have of Mississippi law charges counties to present just 60 percent of the active voter count and they will continue trying to get those ballots as these precincts run out here in Hinds County, Jake.

TAPPER: Fascinating. Dianne Gallagher, thank you so much.

Nothing, nothing can get out the vote more than the idea of possibility, I think.

KING: Look, you have a lot of attention because it's Elvis Presley, second cousin. But here's a Democrat conservative Democrat running in a very Republican state, 20 plus years since a Republican governor talking about health care, talking about taking the Medicare, Medicaid money from Washington to give health care to working people, health care, we know has in recent elections been a huge turnout.

Now we're talking about abortion a lot. But before the Dobbs decision, it was health care. There was helping Democrats turn out votes. Does it work in a place like this? We shall see.

But I just want to show you where she is. She's Jackson here. This is Hinds County. It is by far the number one. It's the largest, most populous county of the state.

It is about 8 percent of the population. And it is if you go back in history to the presidential race. Joe Biden did not do well in the state of Mississippi, but he did in Hinds County.