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CNN Live Event/Special

Most Polls Closed In Michigan; Awaiting First Results; One-On- One With GOP Presidential Hopeful Nikki Haley; First Results Coming In From Michigan Polling Sites. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired February 27, 2024 - 20:00   ET



ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: is doing search pricing too, right?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: Yes. They have certainly tried it a little bit. Now, (inaudible) these are ultimately successful. But I think what this says is something about the fast food industry at large, right? I'm used to going through a drive-thru, right, with my mom, maybe when I was a kid to Burger King or McDonald's.


ENTEN: Perhaps you might go up and you may order in person, but what we see is more and more of McDonald's sales are digital. Look at the rise in the digital sales as a percentage of overall sales. It was just 20 percent, 2021, now it's upwards of 40 percent. My goodness gracious.

BURNETT: That is incredible, wow. No more fish filet in the drive- thru.

ENTEN: No more.

BURNETT: It was my Wednesday afternoon on early pickup.

All right. Harry, thanks so much and thanks to all of you. Special election coverage starts now.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: This is a big night in Michigan as voters in that critical swing state cast ballots in the 2024 presidential race. Most polling places are closing right now in Democratic and Republican primaries that are testing support for the likely nominees of both parties.

I'm Anderson Cooper. This is a Special Edition of AC 360.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: And I'm Jake Tapper. We are standing by for the very first results from Michigan now that voting has ended across most of the state. We're going to get our first chance to project winners once the last polling place is closed less than an hour from now.

In the Democratic primary, President Biden might be facing his most serious challenge yet this election year. Not from his long shot opponents, Congressman Dean Phillips. No. From progressives who are opposed to the President's response to the Israel-Hamas war. This group of progressives, they are pushing for a permanent ceasefire and they want Biden to cut U.S. military aid to Israel. And they are urging Michigan Democrats to cast a protest vote, to vote for uncommitted in the primary instead of voting for President Biden.

The war in Gaza is an issue that hits hard in Michigan, which has one of the largest Arab American populations in the United States. And we're going to be watching to see the size of this uncommitted vote to gauge dissent within the President's party as he heads toward his widely anticipated rematch with Donald Trump.

Now, President Biden narrowly beat Trump in Michigan four years ago. The state should prove to be decisive once again in November. In the Republican primary, Trump is aiming for yet another big win over his rival, Nikki Haley, just a few days after trouncing her in her home state of South Carolina, Trump is counting on Michigan and its 55 Republican delegates to propel him even closer to clenching the GOP nomination.

As we await the first results tonight, our correspondents are standing by. They're covering the candidates. They're at key polling places throughout Michigan. First to Jeff Zeleny, who's covering the Democrats tonight and he's at an event in Dearborn, Michigan for supporters of that protest vote for uncommitted.

TAPPER: Jeff, what are you hearing from the Biden camp about the test of the President this evening?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORREPONDENT: Well, Jake, one of the central questions hanging over this entire 2024 campaign is whether the President is able to make this election a stark choice between his candidacy and former president Donald Trump, or if it becomes a referendum on the policies of the Biden administration.

And in this Michigan primary tonight, there is going to be a critical test of that. Going to give us a few key data points about what voters are thinking about his policies, of course, his handling of Israel's war in Gaza. We are here in Dearborn, Michigan, of course.

This is a - at the heart of the Arab American and Muslim American community. They have been key supporters of the President. They certainly were in 2020. Not anymore, Jake. We've been here talking to voters. We were a few weeks ago as well when the President was in town. The anger is clear. The disappointment is clear. They want a change.

So this is a protest vote, voting uncommitted. But the question is how many people actually turn out to vote uncommitted.

Now, that may not be our best guide tonight because this, of course, is a non-competitive election. President Biden is not facing a challenger per se, just his policies are being challenged. But talking with Democratic officials, of course, one of the President's biggest challenges is keeping his coalition together. Of course, that's Arab American, Muslim American voters, but it's also young voters, progressive voters, black voters, Latino voters. Of course, Michigan was ground zero for that. Joe Biden sort of pulled all of those factions of the Democratic Party together four years ago. Now that coalition is fraying.

But Jake, I had an instructive conversation with a pastor here in Detroit earlier today. He said the biggest worry for the White House, the biggest worry for the Biden campaign is apathetic voters. He said apathetic voters don't go out and vote uncommitted. They simply stay home, and that, he believes, is the biggest worry for President Biden. Jake?

TAPPER: All right. Jeff Zeleny, interesting stuff.

CNN's Kristen Holmes is at West Palm Beach, Florida, covering the Trump campaign. And Kristen, what is the former president, Donald Trump, looking for when votes come in from Michigan?


KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Donald Trump is expected to handily win this primary against Nikki Haley, but instead his team is looking for clues to inform a potential general election rematch with President Joe Biden. As you noted, Jake, Donald Trump won Michigan in 2016 and then lost to Biden in 2020. And in a recent poll in Fox News of Michigan voters, they looked at a hypothetical rematch between the two, and Trump had 47 percent of support over Biden's 45. Now that is well within the margin of error, but gives you an idea of how close this race could potentially be.

Now, many of Trump's allies believe that Michigan is the key to the pathway back to the White House. And here's what they're looking for tonight, they are looking at first, moderate Republican voters. So far in this primary season, they have leaned away from the former president.

The other thing that they are looking for is an area that Donald Trump has underperformed in, in several of these contests, which is suburban voters. This is going to be critical in Michigan in the fall. Now, one of the hopes of these advisors is that with all of these resounding early wins in Nevada, in Iowa, in New Hampshire, that some of those voters, some of those moderates, some of those suburban voters are going to shift towards Donald Trump.

TAPPER: All right. Kristen Holmes, thanks so much.

Dianne Gallagher is at a polling place in Ann Arbor, Michigan, home to the University of Michigan fighting Wolverines. Dianne, what's happening where you are?

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Jake. And we have just shut down this polling center right here. I have with me precinct chairperson, Jenny Rogers (ph), who is going to read to me the results from her particular precinct, number 437. And Jenny, what is this - what does this summary say as it's coming out?

JENNY ROGERS, PRECINCT CHAIRPERSON: Okay. So on the Republican Party ballot, we have 73 votes cast for Nikki Haley, 23 votes for Donald Trump, and one uncommitted. And on the Democratic ballot, we've got 195 votes for Joe Biden, one vote for Dean Phillips, four votes for Marianne Williamson, 66 uncommitted, and one write-in and that's it ...

GALLAGHER: And that's ...

ROGERS: ... a total of 364 votes cast today.

GALLAGHER: All right. That is precinct 437 here in Ann Arbor. And, of course, look, Jake, you mentioned, of course, home to the University of Michigan. This is a blue area in more than one way, though. Look, President Joe Biden beat Donald Trump with about 72 percent of the vote in 2020. So the expectation was to have a greater number, of course, of those Democratic ballots.

But what many here in Michigan had been looking at was that uncommitted number because that Listen to Michigan program, that campaign, had been focusing on Ann Arbor specifically because of the progressive vote and the young vote here. Again, this is just a snapshot of this area, one precinct of many in the Ann Arbor area, Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Dianne Gallagher, thanks so much.

And it's the turn of the hour, so we have a key race alert for you. Let's bring you some of the numbers as they come in. On the Republican side, in the Republican primary in Michigan with 1 percent of the vote in, Donald Trump is in the lead with 54.4 percent of the vote. He has 10,950 votes, roughly 3,000 votes ahead of Nikki Haley, who has 39.8 percent of the vote. She has 8,011 votes. Obviously, it is very early. We only have 1 percent of the vote in, but those are actual votes, not polls.

And now we have some Democratic numbers to look at. And the Democratic primary in the state of Michigan with 117 delegates at stake, President Joe Biden, the incumbent, with 4 percent of the vote in, has 88.3 percent of the vote. Uncommitted is coming in second. That's at 7.2 percent. And Dean Phillips, the congressman from Minnesota, is at 2.1 percent. President Joe Biden has 31,753 votes, and that is roughly 30,000 votes ahead of uncommitted, which is a number we're going to be watching all night.

John King, I see he's starting there with Haley and Trump. But the truth of the matter is, for both Democrats and Republicans, one of the things we're going to be looking at tonight is the size of the number two vote to see how much of a protest that is of the person in the first place.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. As we think we are moving on to the general election, as we see Donald Trump 5-0 in Republican contests, expected to make it 6-0 tonight, then on to Super Tuesday next week, the challenge for both campaigns is to start thinking about November.

If you're Joe Biden and you're worried about young voters, and Muslim voters, and Arab American voters and the other people of Middle Eastern descent, 300,000 plus in Michigan alone, if you're worried about the people who voted for you last time, that means you're on your heels and Joe Biden doesn't need that.

So this number tonight will tell us something, how much we'll see by the end of the night, about how weak is President Biden in his own base.


Because we know Trump, we've seen it, he's 5-0. He's strong in his. The numbers speak for themselves of the past several weeks we've been here. So the question is, it doesn't mean he can't fix it by November, but it's deep. I was out in Michigan several weeks ago and you see it on the college campuses, Ann Arbor.

So if you look, let's just even look at what we have so far. Let's just start with actual votes. Oakland County, this is where Omar was. This is the suburb west of Macomb County. This used to be a reliably Republican suburb, but in recent years, what has happened? College educated voters, suburban voters have gone Democratic. This has become blue. And Biden here, the question is to watch that, right? Biden needs these votes. There'll be some Nikki Haley votes here in Oakland County, suburban people who don't like Donald Trump. So we'll see that. Biden needs them.

If he's worried about these voters, when he should be targeting Nikki Haley voters to win in November, that's a problem. So that's one place.

TAPPER: You want to go to Omar? He's there right now.

KING: Then you come out - well, Omar's there right now and so we've got - so far in Oakland County, all the votes we have are from Oakland County. Everything we have comes straight from Oakland County.

TAPPER: Let's pop in with Omar right now who's at a voting site in Waterford Township, Michigan.

Omar, what's happening there? Your polling place just closed. Do you have any numbers for us? Do you have any votes?

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Waterford Township here in Oakland County just closed a few minutes ago and they transmitted their numbers up to the county, giving you a preliminary look at District 9, Precinct 9 here in Waterford and Oakland County, 230 total votes came in, 44 of them were for Democrats, 185 for Republicans.

On the Democratic side of things, Biden got 29, Dean Phillips won uncommitted, 13. And then on the Republican side, 159 for Trump, Nikki Haley, 21, and Ron DeSantis, who of course we know announced the suspension of his campaign, got five votes.

We have two districts here. So that is for District 9.

On the Precinct 6 side of things, which is the one that was tallying votes over there, you can see them finalizing just a little bit of what they've got, but they too have transmitted their votes to the county. They had a lot more on the Republican side. Trump, 202 votes, Nikki Haley, 28 votes, uncommitted, three, again, preliminary numbers that they've told us here. And then the Democratic side, it was a lot fewer, 13 for Joe Biden, two for Dean Phillips, and five for uncommitted. Again, preliminarily is what they told us here.

It kind of falls into - in line with what we heard as far as a wide range of opinions from voters here today. We heard from very strong Biden supporters who felt the most important issues to them were the economy and feeling like they needed to have someone they could trust in the White House, but of course, strong Trump supporters and some who just couldn't vote for Joe Biden this time around.

TAPPER: So Omar, in that first precinct, what were the numbers for Biden and uncommitted again, just for that first precinct?

JIMENEZ: The numbers, so this would be for district nine that we were just talking about. The numbers for Biden were 29 votes and uncommitted was 13.

TAPPER: Very interesting.

JIMENEZ: Here in Waterford, (inaudible) ...

TAPPER: Okay. Omar, thanks so much. What do you make of that? I mean, 13 uncommitted, 29 for Biden, that's a lot of uncommitted. It's a small sample, but still.

KING: If that continues, that's the question. So there's your first sample. And the one thing for all the wonder of the magic wall, one thing I cannot do tapping here is know whether those votes Omar just read out, they're all from this county, whether they're already - they've already been reported by the county and the state. That part, I can't tell, touching precinct by precinct, it doesn't exist. But they are consistent with what you're seeing in the math here. And the question is, in other precincts, obviously he's doing better than what Omar just said in the county so far. But the question is where's that number.

You're right, how significant is it. Because look, there's a history of voted uncommitted in the Michigan Democratic primary, so we want to be careful not to overstate it. At the same time, having been there and our reporters on the ground there, Jeff Zeleny is in the heart of this in Dearborn, just West of Detroit. If Joe Biden is still fighting for his base, it makes it harder to beat Donald Trump.

In Michigan, look at 2016, Trump beat Hillary Clinton. In Michigan, broke the blue wall, won Wisconsin, went on to the White House. Joe Biden flipped the script, right? Won Michigan, won Wisconsin, won your home state of Pennsylvania, the Commonwealth (inaudible) this is the fight, the blue - the old blue wall, which has now become the Midwestern battlegrounds in a presidential election. If you come out to this and go back to look at it, let me come out, that's the primaries, but let me come here and look at it. This is the fight, right? This is it. It's here, here, and here, and here and possibly here, but these three

states tend to go. And Joe Biden's victory in Michigan in 2020 was his most comfortable of these three, 154,000 votes. The question is, if you have most of the 200,000 Muslim Americans who live in Michigan mad at you, and you have a lot of the young students who were key to the Democratic victory in 2020 and the Democratic wins in Michigan in 2022 mad at you, then you're dealing with that. You're dealing with a base problem when you need to be reaching out to get the other guys' votes, especially Haley votes.

And we'll see, the biggest takeaway I got from listening to Omar right there is that so far, in the Republican primary tonight in Oakland County, which is, again, a suburban county just north of Detroit.


It's 30 percent. If that holds up, what does she say about 30 percent? It proves - it does prove there's a third to 40 percent, somewhere from 30 percent to up to 45 percent of the party that doesn't want Donald Trump that keeps voting for Nikki Haley. It's not enough to beat him. It's not enough to get delegates. The people who care most about that number are the Biden campaign. Those are potential voters. Are you going to get them all, no. Most Republicans will come home, but if you can get some, same thing.

Joe Biden has a problem with the Muslim Americans. He has a problem with the Arab Americans. He has problems with liberals who are mad about the war. He has problems with young voters who are mad about the war. Donald Trump has a problem there. The question is, who can pick the other guy's pocket.

TAPPER: Interesting. And one thing we should note, as we watch the uncommitted votes come in, as you noted, Michigan has a tradition of thousands of people voting uncommitted. And in fact, in the last election, in the Democratic primary, in 2020, about 20,000 people voted uncommitted. About 28,000 voted uncommitted in the Republican primary. And you keep going back every four years, and it's about 20,000 people in each party vote uncommitted.

So I kind of look at that, and maybe, you tell me what you think about this, I kind of look at that as the floor ...

KING: Right.

TAPPER: ... for the uncommitted movement this evening, 20,000 is like - that's kind of like what happens every election. They get 30, they get 40, they get 50,000, well, now we're talking, that's a real protest.

KING: Right. So if you look at roughly 20,000, and I think that's - history says that's a fair number, one of the dynamics sometimes in those uncommitted votes is a certain candidate decides not to contest the state. Back in 2008, the uncommitted vote was way higher, because both Barack Obama and John Edwards didn't play in Michigan, and their voters voted uncommitted to sort of say, I want to go out and vote for my guy, but I can't vote for my guy. So it was much higher then. So the question this time, though, is there's nobody like that.

There's not another Democratic candidate who said, oh, I'm going to skip Michigan, because Biden's strong there. So that, I think, is a true protest vote, as opposed to years past where there were different reasons for it. Or it's - maybe - let's not overstate that it's all about Israel-Gaza. Uncommitted is going to tell us people who had a chance to vote for an incumbent Democratic president or vote for his long-shot challenger, and they chose to vote uncommitted.

So it tells you, number one, they're unhappy. They're looking for something else than that. And then the question is, and our reporters on the ground will help us, how much of it is Israel-Gaza, how much of it is repairable and how much of it may be irreparable. There are at the front page of the Arab American News, six, eight weeks back, was abandon Biden. And when you talk to them out there, and you say, but that might help Trump win, some say, I'll think about that closer to November. Others say, I don't care, that this is a matter of principle, that I'm going to vote against Biden on a matter of principle, and if Trump wins, so be it.

That's the challenge for the President. That's why his National Security advisor was - his deputy National Security advisor was out there last week. That's why Ro Khanna, the Democratic House member, was out there last week trying to help him. That's why the campaign team was out there. This is a full-court press, and congressman - Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, who you know is from right down here in Detroit area, she has been - they'll call it a five-alarm fire. She's been pulling every fire alarm she can find and saying, you better get out there, you're in trouble.

TAPPER: And one of the things that the people behind the uncommitted movement are trying to do tonight is send the message, look, it doesn't really matter what happens during the primary. Joe Biden's going to win the Democratic primary, but we're here, and Donald Trump only won Michigan by 10,000 votes in 2016. You need us.

Let me go to Dianne Gallagher, who's at a voting location right now.

And Dianne, you're in Ann Arbor, what are people telling you about this uncommitted vote?

GALLAGHER: The exact conversation that you and John were just having. I spoke with several uncommitted voters here in Ann Arbor who gave various reasons for this vote. Now, I do want to get into some numbers that I just received. Of course, these are unofficial, but they have been transmitted from the city of Ann Arbor, Ward 5, Precinct 48.

As far as the Democratic Party goes, President Joe Biden, 41 votes, Dean Phillips, four, Marianne Williamson, four and uncommitted received 39. Just a two-vote difference between Joe Biden and uncommitted.

Now, on the Republican side, we have six votes for Nikki Haley, 15 for Donald Trump, and three for uncommitted, a total of 112 votes at this precinct. But look, I did, I spoke with many uncommitted voters here in Ann

Arbor, several of them telling me they are not a part of the Arab American community, but that this resonates with them, and this is their opportunity, they said, to have that protest, to let the President, who they did plan to vote for, they said, in November, hear what they have to say about this particular issue.

KING: So it's interesting, this is the math she just said on the Biden uncommitted, I left Dean Phillips and Marianne Williamson out, 41, 39, that's almost a tie, right? So that's one precinct. This is - she's in - she's here in Washtenaw County is where Ann Arbor is. So county- wide, Biden's doing much better, but still, 25 percent.

A 25 percent - this is a college, this is - the main voting bloc here is Ann Arbor, the college town.


So you have students who could vote there, then you have the entire - you have the infrastructure of University of Michigan, it's a giant place, right? Again, when we were on the campus, it's about two months back now, but we were on the campus, we were there and they had a banner pulled out, and they had a printout from the - literally from Hamas, and they were writing the names on the banners. And there were students there - many of them were Arab Americans, but there were many other students stopping by to help them. And we spoke to the head of the college Democrats who said they were trying to have a meeting to plan about the election, and all the energy was about Israel-Gaza.

Now, the question is, as time passes, and as the President's tone has shifted, as the President's policy has shifted, he now says he maybe could have a ceasefire by early next week. Can the President repair the damage? That is the question, because the damage, you see it right there, you just heard it from Dianne, you see it in this one precinct, the damage is real. The damage is real, the question is, you have eight months, can you repair it?

TAPPER: All right. Let's walk over to the panel right now, is that what we're doing? Let me toss it to Dana. Dana Bash over to you.

DANA BASH, CNN HOST: Thank you. And as we continue that conversation, one of the main reasons we are so focused on Michigan tonight isn't because - and we can just repeat this, isn't because we are not sure who's going to win the Democratic primary and who's going to win the Republican primary. It's what does this tell us about November.

And looking back in history, just go back to 2016, there was a very, very intense primary in Michigan between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was going to win that primary. Bernie Sanders eked it out.

And if you fast forward to the fall of 2016, Hillary Clinton ended up losing Michigan. And so that's one of many examples throughout recent history of places like Michigan. And Michigan itself being a harbinger for problems that a candidate has in a primary that bear out in the general election. Is that one of the things that you're looking at and looking for here,

David Chalian?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Definitely one of the things to look for in any primary contest, I think, is what - and it's not a one-for-one situation, we should note that. But what general election vulnerabilities are exposed by the coalition of folks that come out and vote the way they do inside the context of your primary. Because we all know politics is a game of addition, right? You need a unified base of support from your own partisans to be in the ballgame for a general election.

And so looking for cracks in the Biden coalition in these Democratic vote tallies tonight is what we're looking for. I mean, I'll just note, with 7 percent of the estimated vote in now, the uncommitted vote is already at 11,607 raw votes. So they've already crossed the ridiculously low expectation setting that they had set for 10,000, but we've only got 7 percent of the estimated vote in. So they're at 11,000 now. That raw vote number is going to grow throughout this evening, perhaps substantially.

So we'll see how much of a protest statement is made here, but it doesn't mean - and this is important for us to remember all day long - that every single one of those uncommitted votes is a Donald Trump vote in the fall or a stay-at-home no-Joe Biden vote. Perhaps the vast majority of these folks who are participating in a ...

BASH: Trying to change policy.

CHALIAN: ... Democratic primary are making a statement tonight to try to change policy, but are going to be in this contest between Trump and Biden in the fall and very well may be with Biden, but it does give the Biden campaign their to-do list in Michigan.

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is really the enthusiasm gap, which is probably the biggest challenge that Biden faces heading into November, getting the base energized, which is clearly a large protest vote, we'll make it very clear, but the amount of work that they have to do here, which will be interesting too, is just the challenges that each candidate has within their own party.

For Biden, it is clearly the base. It's younger voters, minority voters, and here, Muslim voters, Arab American voters. Trump, the right-of-center voters, the suburban voters, those are the people that have been voting for Nikki Haley. How much vulnerability do we see from him in tonight's results?

So, as David said, like, this is - we know the outcome here, the impact, what it means for November is what we're going to have to scrutinize here.

JONAH GOLDBERG, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. I mean, to a certain extent, we're doing vibe punditry, right? Because we know how it's going to end, we know Biden's going to win it, we know Trump's going to win it, and so instead, it's trying to feel where the conversation is going to be for Joe Biden and Donald Trump in the days ahead. I mean, one of the things, which is I think there's a point that David

made when we were on TV 14,000 years ago this morning, is one of the things I'm looking for is what is Nikki Haley's number when she's not been campaigning in Michigan, right? That shows you the more organic- based kind of number. But also, we were just talking about Ann Arbor, and that's a town I'm sure that went for Bernie Sanders in 2020, so it's heavy with college students and it's early to figure out the vibes quite yet.


TAPPER: Although I believe that Michigan and Michigan State are on spring break right now. I've been reliably informed from a Michigander.

We're counting down to our first chance to make projections in the Michigan primaries, and we're awaiting more results from polling places that have just closed.

Up next, we're going to talk with Nikki Haley as she's now warning Republicans that nominating Donald Trump will be suicide for the country. There's much more ahead on this primary night in Michigan. Stay with us.



TAPPER: And we have another key race alert for you with actual votes coming in, in the Michigan Democratic priority - primary, rather. Incumbent President Joe Biden is in the lead with 78.7 percent. He has 67,346 votes. That is 53,553 votes ahead of uncommitted, but that's still a pretty big number for uncommitted, 16.1 percent of the vote, 13,793 votes. If that trend continues, that's going to be pretty big. Dean Phillips pulling up the rear at 2.6 percent of the vote.

On the Republican side, Donald Trump, no surprise in the lead with 63.7 percent of the vote. That's 60,879 votes.


That's 60,879 votes, almost 30,000 votes ahead of Nikki Haley who has 32.4 percent of the vote. That's with 7 percent of the estimated vote in.

John King, we're seeing increasing numbers of votes, actual votes coming in. It's exciting. Where are they coming in from?

KING: Where they're coming in from is interesting and where we don't have none yet in some ways is more interesting. Let's see. Let's focus on the Democratic race because you're right. We said, you know, 20,000 votes seems to be the normal vote, traditional vote for uncommitted.

With about 8 percent of the estimated vote, you're already up to almost 14,000. So that tells you that number is going to go up. Here's what's telling me it's going to go up even more. We have nothing. I'm going to start where we have no votes. That's backwards, right?

Normally on an election night, you go where you have votes. This is Wayne County. This is where Detroit is, the campus of Wayne State, among the places we visited where there was a lot of anti-Biden sentiment. Not big picture, but because of Israel Hamas.

Dearborn, right out here in the Detroit suburbs, Interstate 94, just to the west of Detroit, that's where Jeff Zeleny is, that's where you have your largest population of Muslim American, Arab American and some -- many Christians as well, Christian Palestinians, people who trace their family heritage back to the Middle East, who are mad at Biden.

Some say abandon Biden, some just say protest Biden, that number is going to tell us a lot. When we see Wayne County, it's also the largest population center in the state of Michigan, so, we're going to get the most votes from here. It's the Democratic base. This is it. So critical for the president.

What else are we seeing? So you just pop around a few other places. This is Oakland County. As I mentioned, critical to winning the state of Michigan, win Wayne County. Then you go out into the suburbs. You have Oakland here, Macomb here, 13 percent.

You have 13.5 percent, 14 percent if you round that up. Again, you know, let's not -- let's be careful. He's getting 80 percent of the vote. He's the president of the United States, he's getting 80 percent of the vote. So if you're home and you're a Biden fan, you're saying, why aren't you focusing on that? And we should focus on that.

That's 80 percent of the vote. But that's nobody. That's an "I'm mad at you" vote. And in a state that can be so hotly contested, Hillary Clinton loses it. She's not president. Joe Biden wins it. He is president. In a state that matters so much, the "I'm mad at you" vote matters. And so we come back out and look where else are we getting it.

Kalamazoo again, the urban areas that are important. This -- you know, Joe Biden won this by 18 points in 2020. So again, in a place you want to run up the numbers come November. This is a place you want to run up the numbers to offset Donald Trump's rural strength. So you have, you know, some people you need to talk to.

That's what that tells you. That's a good number, but in a Democratic primary, you know, Dean Phillips is getting nothing here. That's -- so that's not a "I'm looking for an alternative". There's an alternative right there. That's an "I'm mad at you" vote for the most part, or "you don't like Phillips."

And so, one more quick point, we'll switch to the Republicans. Jonah was just talking about this, and I think this is the fascinating debate as we go forward. At the moment, only 7 percent of the vote. Let's be patient with the results. But Nikki Haley is not winning any counties. Donald Trump's getting 64 percent of the vote. So the governor can clearly make the argument about a third of Republicans here. We'll see what that number ends up. But a third here, 40 percent of my home state of South Carolina, 43 percent in New Hampshire don't want Donald Trump.

She's right. The math supports that. However, that's winning and that's getting the delegates 55 delegates at stake tonight. 16 of them are supposed to be awarded based on the primary results. But we're going to have two Republican conventions.

If you want to go to a place where the Republican Party, the Trump effect, election denial, that has completely destroyed what used to be a strong, functioning Republican party, go to the state of Michigan. They have two Republican parties. They're fighting in court over which one's the real one.

They will -- both of them will award delegates. Donald Trump will probably get all of them and then they'll fight it out in court.

TAPPER: It is interesting though to consider the fact that tonight we really are interested in who is not voting for the person that's going to win.

KING: Right.

TAPPER: Right. Who is not voting for Donald Trump? Who is not voting for Joe Biden on the -- on non-committed because that exposes weaknesses for both men. Very interesting.

Now we're going to hear from Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley who just -- who's going to talk to Dana Bash. She's obviously trying to overcome Donald Trump's dominant position in this race.

BASH: Joining me now is Governor Nikki Haley. Thank you so much for being on. I want to look at what's happening in Michigan tonight. Set expectations if you would. What are you hoping for when results are in in Michigan?

NIKKI HALEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, obviously, our goal is to be as competitive as possible. That's what this has always been. But look at what's happened in Michigan. You look back in 2012, Michigan was such a bright spot. I was there.

They were, you know, they had just passed right to work. They were winning seats up and down the ticket. It was just a great time for Michigan. But ever since Donald Trump became president, they've lost the governor's mansion, they've lost the statehouse, they've lost the state Senate.

The same thing has happened in Minnesota. Now, you know, I was in Colorado earlier today. They haven't had a Republican get over 45 percent statewide since Donald Trump was president in 2016. It is a pattern we continue to see.

You're seeing the same thing whether you look at all the early states. Donald Trump didn't get 40 percent of any of the Republican primary vote. It is a problem. Is -- he's not bringing people into the party, he's pushing people out of the party.


Colorado today has 10 percent less Republicans than they had before when Donald Trump --

BASH: Yes.

HALEY: -- was president. And so this is just a pattern we continue to see.

BASH: Governor, I hear you sharpening even more your criticism against Donald Trump, but what about you? How do you want to do tonight?

HALEY: You know what, we want to -- obviously, we want to do well. I mean that's the focus of this and all the Super Tuesday states is let's just keep going and running through the tape as much as we can. I mean, I was, you know, in Minnesota this morning, I was in Colorado this afternoon, I'm now in Utah, I mean that's the goal is to try and hit as many Super Tuesday states as we can.

But look, Donald Trump campaigned in Michigan for eight years. I campaigned for two days. So our goal has been to try and reach as many people as we can, but we know he's got the advantage in that. But more than that, what we're trying to tell everyone, whether it's in Michigan, whether it's the Super Tuesday states coming forward, is look at what has happened.

First, you've got Donald Trump. He can't win a general election. Look at the Marquette poll. It showed recently he's margin of error. I defeat Joe Biden by 18 points. But more than that, look at what's happened to the Republican Party. The Republican Party is now not just changing based on tone. It's changing based on policy.

BASH: Like what?

HALEY: No longer is there any talk about fiscal responsibility. That used to be a pillar for the Republican Party, yet you've got Donald Trump who put us 8 trillion in debt, more than any other president. You've got Republicans now who opened up earmarks and pet projects again in Congress, passing through 7,000 of them last year.

Donald Trump's not talking anything about shrinking government, stopping spending, cutting out the waste, none of that. And then he's changed the whole idea of peace through strength. We used to always talk about the strength of our alliances. Now you've got Donald Trump basically saying he's going to tell Putin to go and invade our allies, who stood with us after 9/11. It's all a shift.

BASH: And Governor, given what you just said, which is all a factually accurate about where the party is and isn't, or where Donald Trump is, I should say. Given the fact that he has won so handily the first four major contests, isn't it possible that the party has moved, and the party is about Donald Trump, and not what you're describing, which might be the party of yesterday?

HALEY: It is very possible. And, you know, that's what we're doing, is where -- if 70 percent of Americans say they don't want Donald Trump or Joe Biden, we are giving them an option. What I am saying to my Republican Party family is we are in a ship with a hole in it.

And we can either go down with the ship and watch the country go socialist left, or we can see that we need to take the life raft and move in a new direction. That's what this is about. It is very telling when now the RNC is not about winning races up and down the ticket.

The RNC is now about Donald Trump. They made that very clear. So now that's become as legal slush fund. Do we not see what's happening here? And this is the issue, Dana, of all of this. The reason I fight is for my kids and your kids. Because look at what our kids have been through. They've gone through COVID.

They look at the fact that there's $34 trillion in debt. They don't know what that means for them. They don't know how they're going to get a job. They don't know how they're going to make ends meet. They don't know if they'll ever be able to afford a home, and they're worried about war breaking out.

And then we wonder why there's so much stress, anxiety, and depression. It's because our country is in a tent of anger and hatred and division. There's nothing normal about the chaos that Joe Biden and Donald Trump have given us. And our kids deserve to know normal.

Can you imagine a country where a family could sit down for dinner and not have a political fight? Can you imagine someone being able to go to work and say what they think without worrying about being demoted? Can we imagine a country where we could strongly disagree, but not hate each other?

That's where I'm trying to go. And that's what I'm saying to the Republican Party. And to the American public, is this is a ship that is sinking.

BASH: What does it say about your party --

HALEY: We have got to get off the ship and start going forward.

BASH: What does it say about your party that with respect, they're not buying what you're selling given the results that we've seen so far?

HALEY: We've only seen a handful of states vote. I mean, look, I've said this before, as much as the media wants to jump ahead, we're taking this one state, one day at a time. That's what this is about. You know, if I got out when you all were talking about it earlier, New Hampshire, South Carolina, whenever, it would be the longest general election race in presidential history.


Still, if I got out today, it'd be the longest general election race in history. America is blessed to be a democracy. Let people vote. Now in the next week, we're going to watch 20 states and territories vote. Let's let that happen.

BASH: Governor --

HALEY: We are blessed to live in a country where hope still reigns, and we need to look for that hope. We need to look for that America. We want our kids to have, and we need to fight for it.

BASH: And Governor --

HALEY: And I'm going to fight for it every step of the way.

BASH: Before I let you go on that note, you're committing that you are going to be in this race through Super Tuesday.

HALEY: I mean, we are in all the Super Tuesday states now. That's what this is all about is making sure that we hit every state and letting them know --

BASH: So yes.

HALEY: Look, there is a voice out there for you. There is a way out. Yes, we are fighting through. Yes.

BASH: Yes, unequivocally, you're in through Super Tuesday?

HALEY: Absolutely. We have a country to save. Absolutely.

BASH: OK. Governor Nikki Haley, thank you so much for joining us this evening.

HALEY: Thanks so much.

BASH: And we are awaiting more results in both parties' presidential primaries in Michigan and we're getting closer to our first chance to make projections once the last polling place is closed as our coverage continues after a quick break.


TAPPER: And we got another key race alert for you right now with more actual votes coming in in the Michigan Republican primary. With 8 percent of the estimated vote in, Donald Trump still in the lead with 63.7 percent of the vote, 70,964 votes.


He's almost 35,000 votes ahead of Nikki Haley, who has 32.3 percent of the vote or a total right now of 36,014 votes. That's with 8 percent of the estimated vote in. Now on the Democratic side. Incumbent President Joe Biden is in the lead with 78.4 percent of the vote, 75,967 votes. That's a little bit more than 60,000 votes, again, ahead of uncommitted.

Uncommitted, many of these we believe to be protest votes because of Biden's support for Israel during the Israel-Hamas war. Uncommitted has 16. 4 percent of the vote. That's almost 16,000 votes. Congressman Dean Phillips has 2.6 percent of the vote. It's 2,521 votes. That's with 10 percent of the estimated vote in. If that trend continues, that's going to be a pretty sizable uncommitted vote, theoretically.

Let's go now to CNN's Kylie Atwood in Salt Lake City, Utah. Nikki Haley is campaigning there for next week's Super Tuesday contest, one week from today. Kylie, what is Haley looking for in the results out of Michigan this evening?

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, listen, you heard it there in that interview with Dana that Nikki Haley is not being super specific in terms of what she would like to see in Michigan. She said, of course, the campaign would like to do well. They would like to see a competitive result, but not defining what that would mean.

And I think Nikki Haley's campaign has said it time and time again that they are sticking with it through Super Tuesday. So really, we're focused on what this week looks like for her and what she will be able to do in terms of getting voters on her side in those Super Tuesday states ahead of that critical date for her a week from today.

But one interesting thing, Jake, that I've been told by a campaign official, is that the Haley campaign isn't only looking at the results tonight on the Republican side in the Michigan primary. They're also looking at the results on the Democratic side because they believe that if there is a high number of uncommitted voters, that that could demonstrate a potential weakness for Biden with certain voting blocks.

Now, I spoke with one campaign official who said, obviously, they don't expect that those voters who are voting uncommitted are fertile ground for Nikki Haley. They oppose Biden because of his position on the Israel-Hamas war. Haley's position on that isn't all that different, so it wouldn't attract those voters.

But it's interesting because they're trying to look at Biden's weaknesses right now as they are talking about Haley being a better overall contender in the general election against Biden as she has been trying to go after Trump and his electability, saying that if he were the actual candidate on the Democratic -- on the Republican side, it would be like suicide for the party saying that earlier today. Jake?

TAPPER: All right, Kylie Atwood covering the Nikki Haley campaign in Salt Lake City, Utah. Anderson?

COOPER: Jake, thanks so much.

Back to the team here in New York. David Axelrod, how big a deal is it for the Biden campaign, this uncommitted vote?

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, listen, Michigan is going to be very, very close. It's going to be a marginal race. And so it matters if people are expressing themselves in ways that might suggest they're going to walk away. I'd caution, however drawing too much of a point on this because we're eight months away from this election, and it's one thing to register your discontent with the president in a primary.

It's another thing in a race against Donald Trump. And, you know, Governor Whitmer was on with Dana on Sunday and she pointed out that Donald Trump's relationship with the Arab American community, with the Muslim community is pretty checkered, and that people are going to have to think about that choice.

She said a vote for uncommitted today is a vote for Donald Trump. Obviously, there are a fair number of people who wanted to make that vote. And I would also stress, we saw the Ann Arbor vote. This is an issue not just with the Arab American community, but it's a mission -- it's an issue with younger voters, which is a problem nationally for Biden motivating these younger voters and some African American voters.

So I think this is clearly an issue. I think it's one of the reasons why he was eager to say yesterday he thought that a ceasefire was within reach.

COOPER: Nina Turner, you --


COOPER: -- congested (ph) people vote uncommitted.

TURNER: I did.

COOPER: Why do you think that's not a vote for Trump?

TURNER: It's not. I mean, Anderson, a vote for Trump is a vote for Trump, and I believe that Governor Whitmer is being disingenuous at best, lying at worst in terms of telling the voters in Michigan that a vote for uncommitted is a vote for Donald J. Trump when Donald J. Trump is not on the ballot. This is a primary.

And the last time I checked, we often, especially Democrats, we talk about the democratic process, small d and people being able to express themselves in a primary as a bedrock. And then though, to try to guilt those voters to not vote uncommitted when that is an option that they have on the Michigan ballot.


I was just in Dearborn on Sunday. I was with Congresswoman Tlaib at a free Palestine, you know, cease fire event, hundreds of people in that room. I got a chance to talk to some individuals. And they are really upset and some will -- you know, I know some of this has been the points have been made, but some people are willing to just let Donald J. Trump win.

And their point is this, is not that they want him to win. They're not jumping up and down for him. But what they are saying is that Donald J. Trump is not lording over the slaughter of innocent people in the Gaza. There are babies that were born after October the 7th who were born and took a few breaths and died.

People can't get hospital care. So this is really palpable in because --


COOPER: Bakari --

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. No, I mean, I think that truth. I mean, to both David and Nina's point that you have to give some credibility more than some credibility. You have to give credibility to the passion that many of these voters are coming out with that are voting uncommitted.

The fact remains that there are a few things. One, this president has been working diligently towards a ceasefire. He has been working diligently towards humanitarian aid. And those things have to be recognized. And maybe it's a job of messaging from the White House. We know he just came out recently saying that this was something that could happen in the upcoming weeks.

But the fact still remains that this is -- if you look at the results from tonight, right, and I think back to 2012 -- David knows this better than I do -- but in 2012, there were about 20,000 people that came out and voted uncommitted for Barack Obama. And he still won over Mitt Romney, who's a native of Michigan by nine points.

And so while I do believe that you -- that there are certain changes that have to be made from this White House, this is not anything that you need to put your blinkers on or throw your hands up and say, oh, my God, this is something that is going to change the trajectory of the race.

Because at the end of the day, and I think Nina will agree with me on this, voting uncommitted today is an exercise of your little d capabilities and your little d democratic values, but it's totally different than voting for Donald Trump in November.

And I think that this -- I do not equate the two to be the same, and I disagree with Governor Whitmer on that, but I will say that this tonight does not give me any heartburn for Joe Biden. The heartburn that people should feel is that for Donald Trump, because there are a third of the people, 40 percent of the people who are outwardly rejecting Donald Trump again.

We see it again and again, and again, and every single primary. He has the problem. Republicans have the problem. Democrats do not.

ALYSSA FARAH GRIFFIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: So, I see it a bit both ways. Listen, we knew six and 10 Americans didn't want this rematch of Trump versus Biden. And the reality is both candidates have major vulnerabilities with core demographics they need to win. With Biden, it's young progressives, it's sort of the black community, some of the Arab American community.

With Donald Trump, it's women, it's women in the suburbs, it's people with a college degree. And you just -- it's really going to be a matter of who can message in these core swing states where, by the way, Donald Trump is ahead in all of them at this date today, which is a snapshot in time, who's going to be able to message better to say, you need to be with me when the election comes down.

And an interesting fact point, just as we talk about the issue with Gaza is there are quite a few moderate Republicans who are inclined to vote for someone other than Donald Trump, and who could be won over by Joe Biden. But if Joe Biden goes too far in pulling support away from Israel, you also could risk losing those moderate votes.

So it's a delicate dance that he has to do.

COOPER: Congressman, what are you looking for today?

LEE ZELDIN (R), FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: I think that we're heading towards a really competitive race come November. The state's up for grabs. The RealClearPolitics average is showing the race a little over five points in favor of Donald Trump.

Currently, all the polls that have come back have shown him up. I'm looking at some of the most populous counties in the state. We're waiting for the results to come in inside of Wayne, obviously looking at Oakland. You have Flint, Michigan in Genesee, Grand Rapids, in Kent. The results will come in Marquette, which is an area that Democrats perform well in.

Saginaw has predicted the winner statewide every race since 1992. And is a boomerang pivot county where you have Obama, Obama, Trump, Biden. So we'll see what happens inside these most populous counties. And as Bakari was pointing out and the panel was --

SELLERS: Are you about to agree with me? I don't know how I feel about this.

ZELDIN: Well, listen --

AXELROD: It's a career out there, man.

ZELDIN: When you dig deeper into the results to get a measure of where support is of both parties, and Alyssa was talking about this as well, there's a gender gap, but it's not as big as maybe President Biden would want.

The polling, most recent polling that's come out shows a closer race amongst women than I think President Biden would want. College age voters, President Biden won by 17 votes. Most recent polling is showing it closer, more like six.


Independence was won by President Biden, but the current polling is showing President Trump up right now. So digging deep into these most populous counties and seeing what's going on inside the Democratic Party, I think, my advice to both campaigns is campaign like you're scared, campaign like you're behind. KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN HOST: Well, the --

ZELDIN: I think both parties will get a takeaway.

COLLINS: The other thing to keep in mind is the GOP in Michigan is at war with itself right now. There are two people claiming to be the chair of the party. They're having dueling conventions on Saturday. It's like a complete mess. But on the numbers that we're looking at --

COOPER: That's a good sign party of union (ph).

COLLINS: -- Nikki Haley was correct in her point there, saying that the Republicans in Michigan have not done well, talking about what that looks like. But on these numbers, as we're watching the uncommitted vote come in, which obviously the White House is paying close attention to, the 10,000 was a ridiculously low bar, as David Chalian pointed out, but they're already at 15,000 with only 10 percent coming in.

We could easily see this getting up to closer to 100,000. The question for the White House then is, do those voters come home in November?

COOPER: Just minutes from now, the last polling place is closed. Let's go back to Jake in D.C.

TAPPER: Thanks, Anderson. We're going to get a fuller picture of how President Biden is faring tonight as he faces not only long shot challenger Congressman Dean Phillips, but also that protest vote for uncommitted. It's being urged by Democrats who are pushing for a permanent ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war, and also pushing for the U.S. to cut all military aid to Israel.

In the Republican primary, Donald Trump is looking for another decisive victory over Nikki Haley to extend his winning streak and bring him closer to amassing the delegates he needs to lock up the GOP presidential nomination.

Let's go over to John King now at the Magic Wall. John, more votes coming in. Where are they coming in from?

KING: We're starting to get a good scattering across the state, which makes it interesting. You get to see rural areas. Let's pop up here. You know, Kalkaska County, rural area. Donald Trump won this county by 40 points. So this is not something Joe Biden's worried about come November.

Donald, you know, the Republican's going to win this. What you're just trying to see is the uncommitted vote is high. In these rural counties where you don't have as many Democrats, you tend to have more conservative Democrats if you do have them there. But, you know, so it's 7.5 percent up in these tiny rural counties, but then you come down.

It's still a 16 percent statewide, you know, nearing 17,000 votes. And so we did get since last year visited our first votes from Wayne County. Just want to caution you, it's a tiny. This is one precinct, probably, you know, sample precinct similar, but still, you know, 23 percent right there. That to me is the question of the night.

What is that percentage and what is that number in Wayne County? Because this is ground zero, if you will, of the discontent. Dearborn is right over here to the west of Detroit. Inside Detroit, you know, the liberal base is mad about this policy. On the Wayne State campus, they're mad about this policy.

So this to me is ground zero. And if you want to run up the numbers statewide, this is where you would do it. So you come out and look, just you start to move around Kalamazoo again. You're moving west. You're getting out. It's almost, you know, it's 19 percent. But again, very early numbers. So let's be careful.

So look, you have a very formidable front runner on the democratic side. He's not going to be beat. Joe Biden's going to beat the nominee. The question is, you know, the challenge is always bring the base home or bring the voters who are against you home. Those are voters that are not voting for anybody else, but they're mad at him.

And it's the same issue, same issue. They were just talking about this in New York on the other side. If you come over here, Democrats would say, that's a bigger deal, right? 32 percent of your party is voting against, you know, the former president, Donald Trump, in a state that has been absolutely critical to his success and to his failure in 2020.

So both frontrunners have a challenge. Both are winning quite comfortably. But both have a problem bleeding in their own party, if you will, a third -- just shy of a third of Republicans. They're saying we don't like Donald Trump. So let's look here where this is coming in.

Oakland County, this one here, you know, 32 percent. Again, how do you want to read that, right, in a suburban county that is trended democratic come November? You know, is that a good sign for Donald Trump? Well, those are voters Joe Biden is going to target right there.

TAPPER: Right.

KING: Republicans in the suburbs who don't want to vote for Donald Trump. Macomb County, blue collar, you know, back in the 1980s, this was the whole Reagan Democrat thing. Donald Trump beat Joe Biden in Macomb County last time. This is a big test of that United Auto Workers endorsement for President Biden. He's meeting with the Teamsters coming up.

This is a union place. This is a blue collar place. And you see the difference, right? In a blue collar place, that's Donald Trump's wheelhouse. He's getting a better number in Macomb than he does over in Oakland. Suburbanites, more blue collar.

You see right there how Donald Trump has literally rewritten, remade the Republican Party as you come through it. If you come out, I just want to look as you start moving out of the state, nothing from Grand Rapids yet. That's -- I'm interested in that just because of how much it factors in Republican turnout.

But as you're trying to move west here, you know, Nikki -- this is only 11 percent, but in the more rural areas, Trump is stronger. But you're still, you know, that's still a little bleeding in your base. So again, you look at the Haley number there and you look at the uncommitted number here and what you see is Joe Biden's going to win Michigan tonight. Donald Trump's going to win Michigan tonight most likely.

You see the numbers coming in.