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CNN Gets First Exit Poll Results; Reveals What's Driving Voters; Exit Poll: 53 Percent In V.A. Say Trump Is Fit For Presidency If Convicted; Gov. Kathy Hochul (D-NY), Is Interviewed About Super Tuesday Exit Poll Results; Soon: First Polls Close In Biggest Election Day Of Year. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired March 05, 2024 - 17:00   ET




WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Breaking News, new exit polling just coming into CNN as millions of voters head to the polls in 16 contests across the country. Welcome back to CNN special coverage of Super Tuesday. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: I'm Kate Bolduan in New York.

And Wolf, our political team is going through the exit polling numbers as we speak. And in a moment we will know who's voting today and why and what it could tell us not only about tonight's outcomes, but also in the November general election. Donald Trump is hoping tonight will put him on very big step closer to pulling off something that hasn't happened in over 100 years and that is to win nonconsecutive terms. Trivia of the nights the last person to do that, Grover Cleveland back in 1892.

BLITZER: Grover Cleveland, like me, a fellow Buffalonian. That's right, Kate, very proud of Grover Cleveland and Millard Fillmore for that matter, another Buffalonian.

For Republicans, there are 865 delegates up for grabs, and a strong showing tonight for Trump will put the domination within striking distance. We have a team of our reporters fanned out across the nation as Americans head to the polls. Want to start with our Kristen Holmes. She has been working your sources with the Trump campaign all day. She's over at Mar-a-Lago tonight in Florida.

Kristen, you have some new reporting, I understand, at this hour. What can you tell us?

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. So I've been talking to senior advisors to the Trump campaign who say that they are obviously aware that Donald Trump is not going to hit that threshold to become the presumptive nominee tonight, but their big hope. And it's actually twofold is one, that he will get enough delegates to essentially cinch the nomination next week or at least as early as next week. And also, that is when is definitive enough that Nikki Haley drops out of the race. They are very aware of the fact that Haley hasn't said what she's going to do past Super Tuesday.

But to be very clear, they are not counting on her dropping out, they have already pivoted to a general election. Their focus is on President Joe Biden. They just want this win to be definitive enough so that Donald Trump and his team can begin uniting the party around the former president as they head into November.

BOLDUAN: Kristen, thank you so much. Let's go now to John Berman in Castle Rock, Colorado.

John, Colorado was the center of the effort to keep Trump off the ballot. And after that was swatted down by the Supreme Court. You've been talking to voters all day since we were on T.V. together earlier. What do you hear now?

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: So Colorado has been in the news lately, Kate, has it? Supreme Court decided yesterday that states could not ban Donald Trump for being on ballots for being an insurrectionist. And I can show you right here on this sample ballot, Donald Trump's name is on it. It has been on it because the previous lower court decision was stayed until the Supreme Court weighed in, but now the court has weighed in, it's just staying on the ballot and people have had this chance to vote for Donald Trump for weeks and weeks now, as most people in Colorado vote by Dropbox.

But in terms of the impact of that court decision, I did have the chance to talk to some voters including Donald Trump voters about what not use this court case but all the core cases, how they have impact did their feelings about Trump. Listen.



BERMAN: Did any of the issues surrounding January 6, the core cases, how much do they weigh into your vote?

CHARLIE VANDERLINDEN, REPUBLICAN VOTER: A lot because they're trying to take away freedom from being able to vote, being able to elect and making it a federal issue, the Supreme Court issue to take that away from us and that's not OK.

BERMAN: So you -- these cases make you more likely to vote for Trump, not less likely?

VANDERLINDEN: Oh, absolutely.


BERMAN: Yes, so not an obstacle, an incentive to vote for Donald Trump that is among Trump voters. We have seen a number of Democrats here, I want to say, who are here to vote for President Biden in the Democratic primary. And when you ask them, what's motivating them, their answer, Donald Trump. So you can see the motivating factor in this election is this historic candidacy of Donald Trump who is trying to be, as you both have noted, the first nonconsecutive president in U.S. history. And Wolf, as I toss it back to you, you know, I think I was an embed, covering the Grover Cleveland campaign in the 1890s.

BLITZER: Yes. What about Millard Fillmore?

BERMAN: I did not. I missed the Millard Fillmore campaign. But I did study it in college.

BLITZER: All right. I studied it, too. All right. Thanks, John Berman, very, very much.

We have breaking news, we're getting our first look right now at exit polling data that has just been released. These numbers will give us the first clues about who some of these primary voters are and how they feel about a key issue that could define the general election. David Chalian, our political director, has been carefully going over these new numbers. He's joining us now.

David, give us the latest of what you're learning.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yes, Wolf, we're going to look here at two states on the East Coast, Virginia and North Carolina. They close earlier in the evening, two of the 16 states holding contests today. And a sense of the electorate showing up in these Republican presidential primaries, we asked, do you consider yourself part of the MAGA movement? In Virginia, only 31 percent of Republican primary voters in these early numbers. And these will change throughout the night as more surveys come in say that, yes.

Thirty-one percent Say yes, they're part of the MAGA movement, but six in 10, 59 percent of Republican primary voters in Virginia say no, they're not part of the MAGA movement. That's the least MAGA electorate we've seen in primaries today that looks more similar to what we saw in New Hampshire.

In North Carolina, it's a little more MAGAfied, if you will. Thirty- nine percent say yes they consider themselves to be a part of the MAGA movement, 54 percent say they are not.

Back to Virginia, we asked if Donald Trump is convicted of a crime, is he still fit for the presidency. Fifty-three percent, a majority of Republican primary voters say yes, Donald Trump is still fit for the presidency even if he is convicted of a crime, 40 percent say no. In North Carolina, even more so, 64 percent of Republican primary voters are saying, yes, Trump is fit for the presidency even if a convicted criminal. Only 32 percent, Wolf, say he is not. This is Donald Trump's Republican Party.

BLITZER: Very interesting numbers, indeed. All right, thanks very much, David, for that update. And we're going to be getting a lot more exit polling information coming in, so standby for that.

But, Jamie, let me get your reaction on I think it's pretty significant. Only 39 percent of Republican voters in Virginia said yes, they believe that they are part of the MAGA movement, 59 percent say no. In North Carolina, a little different, 39 percent say yes, part of the MAGA movement, 54 percent say no. JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. So, look at that doesn't mean they won't vote for Donald Trump at the end of the day. They just don't identify as part of the MAGA movement. To me, Wolf, the other numbers that were more striking or the -- was the question that followed, is he fit if convicted? In Virginia, 53 percent, more than half say he's fit to be president.

In North Carolina, 64 percent, even more. One of the questions we're trying to find out here is with people who are not MAGA who might want an alternative to Trump, can Joe Biden peel these people away in November? When you see numbers like that, and let's just say as David Chalian just said, these are the first exit polls coming in. They're not -- these are the early polls, they're not the final polls. But when you see more than half saying that he's fit to be president if he is convicted, that does not sound very optimistic for Joe Biden being able to peel away these voters.


LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I disagree. I disagree as well.


GOLDBERG: Yes. Look, the people who were voting today, let's just say they're all going to vote for Trump if Trump's the nominee, those are not the people that Joe Biden needs to win over. The people Joe Biden needs to win over are mostly what they call dual haters, people who don't like Biden --


GOLDBERG: -- or Trump. First of all, I'm very skeptical about these numbers. It sounds to me like Northern Virginia was doing a lot more exit polling than central and southern Virginia. But the -- if you need is the rule of thumb is, that you need 90 percent of your own party to win in the two person race, if four in 10, three in 10 of your own most committed voters in our primary are saying, yes, that rules them out. What does that say about moderate squishy middle of the road swing voters?

Those numbers may be much higher for those people.

GANGEL: Can I just say one thing quickly, which is we just saw Kate Bolduan interview a Nikki Haley donor, and he would consider voting for Trump over Biden. So, I just don't know that these things are so black and white with -- that they're going to.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Well, I think they're not black and white, but I do think it spells trouble. I mean, when you see four in 10 voters saying in a very Republican state like, you know, North Carolina, that it would be disqualifying. I mean, the big question is, will that even come to pass because of all the legal delays that have been -- that we've seen?



BLITZER: We don't know that this will be --

GARCIA-NAVARRO: We don't know.


GARCIA-NAVARRO: So this might all just be speculative. But there is clearly a real problem that I see for Donald Trump. On the other hand, with Joe Biden, the thing that I've been looking for are what are Black voters doing? What are Latino voters doing? We saw eye popping numbers in these recent polls over the weekend showing a real shift. And so, if they can -- if Joe Biden can get his coalition together, then you're going to really see like where all these people are going to go. And are these --

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: These numbers show that, you know, more than half of these voters would vote for -- believe he would be fit to be president, if convicted, shows you something we all already know, which is that this is Donald Trump's Republican Party, period. These are loyalists who -- and we heard it on our air just recently, you know, a voter saying that the more the justice system takes him on, the more she supports him, because she believes it's unfair, and the justice message has gotten through. And it seems to me that -- and the one thing Joe Biden does not have -- I mean, if you if you ask that question of Biden voters, you know, I don't know what the response would be. It's purely hypothetical, of course. But you know, these people are there for him no matter --


BORGER: -- what.

GOLDBERG: Yes, I agree with all that. And I think it's one of the more frustrating things is that Trump is running as an outsider when he's clearly the establishment. They've rigged all of these primaries to be basically winner take all --

BORGER: Right.

GOLDBERG: -- for his benefit. If a Romney or a Bush had done in the past --

BORGER: Right.

GOLDBERG: -- the populist would have been freaking out.

BORGER: Right.

GOLDBERG: So I agree with all that. At the same time, if you just changed the wording on these polls and made it about Biden, we just had -- you know, all this talk about the non-committed or uncommitted voters in Michigan, those numbers were much smaller than the voters for Nikki Haley. There is a lot of dissension in the ranks of the Republican Party, and when -- all you need is swing vote to go the other way, the 40 percent of the party that is not all in for Trump is a big red flag.

BLITZER: Yes, and I think it's clear. And Jamie, let me get your reaction because these are Republican primary voters in Virginia. Forty percent of those Republican voters said they would not vote for Trump if he were convicted. In North Carolina, 32 percent of Republican voters who voted today said they would not be able to vote for Trump if convicted. That's a huge chunk. If this is a close election between Trump and Biden in November, that's a huge chunk of potential voters for the Republican.

GANGEL: It is. I will tell you, I always come back to one thing, battleground states. And the real question is, what's going to happen in those states? Will there be passion and enthusiasm and get out the vote for Joe Biden? So, yes, these are very interesting.

But you have to look at those battleground states and look at the problems that Joe Biden is having. And then with a very small number of voters in some of these states, it can go either way.

BORGER: Well, the voters who won't vote for him, if convicted, the question is, are they going to vote for Joe Biden?


BORGER: You know, that's -- I don't necessarily see that happening. Because, you know, they're not Democrats, they're Republicans, and they don't like Joe Biden. And so, the question for the Biden campaign is, what do you do about all of these trials? And as you were saying, who knows what's going to come to fruition, right? When?


But how does the Biden campaign attack this? Because, you know, they're not going to get the Republicans. But how would they maybe get some of those squishier Republicans who don't want a president in the White House who has been convicted of a felony?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: But the big question --

BLITZER: You know, Lulu, we do know that Trump is facing, what, 91 criminal charges, potentially. We don't know if he's going to be convicted of any of them between now and November?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: We don't know. And that is the big question here, because I don't know often how much you have to see of Donald Trump. How many different issues he has to have, how much he has to struggle with the law, he has to struggle with all these indictments, for people to, you know, disavow him. I think what we've seen as basically, there is nothing that he could do that is going to really push away that core of support. And that core of support is very enthusiastic.

They say in poll after poll, they like him, they want him back. And so, the question here is, you do not see this on the Democratic side at this point. You do not see that enthusiasm. You see a kind of, oh, heavy sigh and OK, he's our guy and we're going to back in. And the other part is, you really not seeing the Biden push that democracy on the line is going to be a get out the vote thing.

BLITZER: All right, everybody standby. We have a lot more to assess. We're getting more poll numbers, exit poll numbers as well. Our special coverage of Super Tuesday will continue in just a moment. We're getting once again more exit poll results, they are coming in.

Our John King is standing by. He'll be over the magic wall to break down when Trump may actually be able to clinch the Republican presidential nomination.

Plus, President Biden watching a number of key factors tonight. New York's governor, a Biden ally, is my guest.



BOLDUAN: Welcome back to CNN special coverage of Super Tuesday. And we have breaking news. More exit polling is coming in and voters at this hour heading to the polls in battleground state Virginia.

Virginia is one of the 16 states holding Super Tuesday contests. And there is no other date on the calendar that has more primary delegates at stake than Super Tuesday, hence the name. The number of delegates up for grabs in Virginia tonight, 48 for Republicans, 99 for Democrats.

Let's go now to Jessica Dean who's in Richmond, Virginia. Polls there closing in a little over an hour.

Jessica, you've been talking to voters in Virginia throughout the day, including an immigrant who says immigration is among his top issues. Tell us more.

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Kate, I asked him, when you were going in there voting what was top of mind for you? He immediately said to me. And so I asked him who he would be voting for. I'll let you listen to our exchange.


DEAN: Who did you vote for and why?


DEAN: Why?

CHAN: He's the best president. And I came here when I was 26 years old 40 years ago. OK, I've been watching this country. This country is the best country in the world. Yes, yes.

I've been very blessed to be living in this country. But I hoped that Democrat would not be able to destroy this country.

(END VIDEO CLIP) DEAN: So he said he was born in Hong Kong, came here decades ago, Kate, and will be voted for Donald Trump, and will be voting for him in the general election if he is the Republican nominee.

I also talked to a voter who is a Democrat. He's been a Democrat for years. But he wanted to use his vote today as a protest vote, but not against Biden. Here's what he told me.


DEAN: And so who did you vote for?

RICHARD MARTIN, DEMOCRAT WHO VOTED FOR NIKKI HALEY: Well, I voted for Nikki Haley, but I'm a Democrat, because I wanted to vote against Trump in some way or another. So that's the way I could do it.


DEAN: So again, I'm a little over, what, an hour and a half, as you mentioned, Kate, as the polls remain open here, we've seen kind of a steady trickle of people. It has constantly been busy, but no lines. But what has been truly interesting is person to person, what their reasoning is behind their votes. There's just a lot going on in American voters' minds right now, Wolf, and it has been very telling that each person kind of has their own reasoning about what they're doing today.

BLITZER: Yes, good point. Jessica, thank you very much. Jessica Dean in Richmond, Virginia.

I want to go to John King. He's with me over here at the magic wall right now. Let's focus in on Virginia right now.

Looking ahead to the general election, how competitive do you anticipate Richmond -- Virginia, the Commonwealth of Virginia could be?

JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: It's a great question. Republicans hope it is competitive again. It has not been in a long time. Why did they hope that, let's just zoom it out. Number one, to watch tonight, I was interested in listening to those voters. As we watched Virginia tonight, one of the places we're going to watch is the northern Virginia suburbs. I'll circle that there.

One reason as you see this little yellow dot here, Nikki Haley's only win has been here in the District of Columbia, that's not a lot of votes. So let's not make too much of that. Nikki Haley's only win though in the Republican primary so far is here. Can she carry that support of more moderate Republicans over into the northern Virginia suburbs, Wolf? That'll be one of the questions tonight.

Or can Donald Trump perform better than in the suburbs that he has in recent years? Because you see the green up there, I'll give you some yellow down here. You just look, let's just go back and look at the 2016 Republican primary. If you go back to 2016 when Donald Trump was a newcomer, see that light red up here in the suburbs? That's Marco Rubio.

You see the dark red down here, that's Donald Trump. Donald Trump's trademark is running it up in small rural working class communities. The question is, can he improve his standings in the suburbs because it hurt him in the primary there. And you have to go back, Wolf, you have to go back a very long time. It has been 20 years since a Republican for president carried the Commonwealth of Virginia.


When I started doing this, it was a red state, then it was a purple state. Since 2008 or when Obama won, it has been a blue state. So the challenge is, can Republicans pull it back or Joe Biden's problems significant enough that Virginia comes into play when we get to November 2024? That will be a question.

At the moment, it's a blue state in presidential politics. But tonight we'll learn a little bit.

BLITZER: You know, it's interesting because, you know, more than a third of all the Republican delegates are up for grabs. Just tonight, Trump is expected to win a huge chunk of that. When do you anticipate potentially he could be the Republican presidential nominee?

KING: Right. So look at what he has done so far, primaries and caucuses. And you see, with the exception of that tiny yellow in the District of Columbia, you can barely see it. It's all Donald Trump in the States so far. So he has 276 delegates so far, right?

You need 1,200 plus to win. That's a big number. Here's a better way to look at it. He has won 83 percent of the delegates so far. So Donald Trump is on a march to the Republican nomination.

So you ask the question when. So let's switch over to the delegate tracker and see where we are right now as this pops up. Here is where we enter the night, right? These are all the contests that have happened so far, 276, 243. If tonight goes roughly along the percentages, the contest have gone so far and the Trump folks -- this shows Trump winning the board, right?

That shows Trump winning from on tonight, winning Virginia tonight. If Nikki Haley can pull off a surprise for monitor in Virginia or maybe somewhere else, but if not the Trump campaign, Wolf, by the time we go to bed very late tonight or in California, early -- yeah, early tomorrow morning, East Coast time right here could get to about 1,115. You need 100 more than that, 1,250 to clinch the nomination. So it is conceivable.

Donald Trump gets also close tonight, symbolically over if you have a gap like that. And then next Tuesday night on March 12, Donald Trump should pass. So, very early in the month of March. You heard Kristen Holmes earlier talking about they're moving on to the general election. They see this as a Biden-Trump rematch.

The country may not love that idea, but the Trump people when they look at the math, they're right. Start thinking about November because Tuesday tonight, they'll get close, next Tuesday, they're likely to clinch.

BLITZER: Yes. It's very, very interesting indeed. It's going to be a long night. We'll watch it very, very closely.

Our special Super Tuesday coverage will continue next. We're getting new exit poll results in battleground states finally decided on a candidate. Plus, we're going to take it in North Carolina where polls are closing in just about two hours. All eyes on a Trump candidate who the former president calls Martin Luther King on steroids.



BLITZER: President Biden finds himself in a starkly different reality right now than his last Super Tuesday. Four years ago Joe Biden pulled off the biggest, fastest and most unexpected comeback and political history. His team spending this Super Tuesday examining exit polls for potential problems that lie ahead. I'm joined now by the governor of New York Democrat Kathy Hochul. Governor, thanks so much for joining us. As we see these new exit polls coming in, how does the President pull Republican voters over to his side when a majority in these exit polls, Republicans say Donald Trump is fit for the presidency, even if he's convicted of a crime?

GOV. KATHY HOCHUL (D-NY): Well, Wolf, it's great to be on your show again. And here's my advice for the Biden team. The Republicans you want to pull over are the women, especially since Donald Trump has made no disguise about his desire to continue stripping away the rights of all American women, not just Democrats, but Republican women and their daughters and granddaughters. So he promised he would stack the Supreme Court with people who are hostile to women's rights.

He was successful in overturning Roe v. Wade, which is one of his goals. And now the Republican Party is going after the right of a family to get started with IVF. I mean, this is beyond the pale and contraception. So I think there's an opening for them to go after Republican women to help get him over the finish line in November. So when that comes down as a choice, someone who supports women, always has always will and someone who intentionally denigrates them, abuses them, as well as stripping away their rights, it'll be crystal clear who people need to vote for in this country and eight months from now.

BLITZER: One thing we're looking for governor, as these exit polls continue to come in is how many voters actually decided who they were voting for months ago? How tough is it going to be for the President to change the minds of voters as this campaign moves ahead?

HOCHUL: Well, the campaign for the Biden team has not even started right now. They've been focused on getting through these early primaries, you have to do that first. The television ads and the contrast to show the policies of Donald Trump because we don't have to guess what he would do as president, we have a four year record that tells us what happened to our standing in the international arena, how people are afraid around the world of a Donald Trump presidency, what's going to do to our trade balance and also cut -- raising prices for everyone in this country when he starts going to war with everyone, as well as him taking away the rights of Americans.

So the campaign has not really started in earnest. So I say it is still eight months to go. It is an eternity in politics as someone who's run about 15 elections myself, that is a long way off. And when people start to hear more about Joe Biden's record not just how bad Donald Trump is but the record of accomplishment right here in New York, massive, massive infrastructure products that have been stopped by Donald Trump, the essential gateway tunnel, which is finally happening, creating tens of thousands of good union jobs, bringing micron, the largest manufacturer of semiconductors in America $100 billion of investment in my home state of New York, your home state.


When the story gets out of the record of accomplishment, people are going to say, why did we even entertain going with Donald Trump? We know we have to stick with -- let's stick with the competent leadership, the trusted leadership, and that'll get us through the next four years.

BLITZER: I know you've said, Governor, that you welcomed the president's taking more executive action on immigration, given the daily strain on New York resources right now. Are you concerned that we still haven't seen specific hardcore movement from the White House on this very, very sensitive issue?

HOCHUL: Wolf, this is a huge issue for us here in the state of New York. And there is a simple answer to all of this. If the Republican Congress cajoled and pushed by 10 Republican members of Congress just from the state of New York, if they use their cloud with the speaker, and said, let's just pass the bipartisan bill that was supported by the majority of senators, Democrats and Republicans, if we can get that done, that will do exactly what Joe Biden said he wants done. He wants more money for the borders. He wants to shut down the border, at least give us a pause for now until we can get this under control.

And the state of New York would benefit as well, with financial assistance as well as other states. They have a plan. They have a strategy. And the Republicans said they would not do it. They refused. You know why? Because Donald Trump told them not to. They are so under his control. It's pathetic. So executive actions, they will be -- they're being developed right now. I've been in communication with them. They will happen. But it shouldn't have to come to this, Wolf. There is a path. There was an opportunity. They could have solved this. Even the President went down to the border and reached his hand out to Donald Trump and said, let's solve this together. And Donald Trump said, no.

You know what? You break it, you own it. Republicans now own the border problem. And we're going to make sure everybody, at least in the state of New York knows that this is going to be a liability for the Republicans running for office in November. This is the path for Hakeem Jeffries to become the speaker.

BLITZER: Let me quickly follow up governor, it was, what, almost two weeks ago, when the President told you and other governors who are visiting in Washington, he's considering taking executive action because of Congress's inaction right now, with 600 migrants a day arriving in New York City, how much longer can your state wait?

HOCHUL: Well, we want to get this done as soon as possible. But as everyone knows, there are going to be people who bring litigation, the second he does this. He tried actually last May, for example. And for while we had some cessation of people coming across the wire, at least it slowed down a lot. We felt the difference.

What happened next, people went to court, they sued and the judge shut down the program and all the chaos started again. That's what the Biden administration is trying to be thoughtful about the club with a path that will be made sure that it's sustainable into the courts. So that's the pause right now, the delay. But I know they're anxious to get this under control just as much as we are. And we know that it'll happen in the short order.

BLITZER: Governor Hochul, thanks so much for joining us. Always good to speak with someone like me from western New York appreciated very, very much.

HOCHUL: Thank you, Wolf. Good to see you again.

BLITZER: Thank you. There's more breaking news we're following. We're getting more exit polls coming in, and they reveal who voted. And when it comes to liberals, conservatives and moderates, the results are coming in next.

Plus, we will take you to the crucial battleground state of North Carolina. Trump narrowly won it in 2020. Can Biden win it this time around?



BLITZER: Welcome back to our special coverage of the Super Tuesday primaries. There's breaking news right now. We have more results from the newly released exit polls just released. The latest numbers offer a more detailed picture of exactly who the voters are in these key states and when they made up their minds about who to support the primary. David Chalian, our political director has new numbers to share with us. And he's back. David, what more are you seeing?

CHALIAN: Well, we're looking at the difference in the ideological makeup of these Republican primary voters in Virginia versus North Carolina. And I'll show you why Nikki Haley's campaign may see a bit more opportunity perhaps in Virginia than they do in North Carolina. Look here, 28 percent consider themselves very conservative, 37 percent somewhat conservative.

But look, combined the moderate and the liberal, 35 percent of -- that's more than a third of Republican primary voters in Virginia are either moderate or liberal. That would seem to be a place Nikki Haley should go and target. If you compare it to North Carolina, it's just a more conservative primary electorate in North Carolina. Nearly 80 percent, if you add a very conservative and somewhat conservative, nearly eight and 10 Republican primary voters in North Carolina are conservative only just under a quarter 23 percent are either moderate or liberal, so probably stronger Trump territory there.

Decision made when, this is fascinating. In Virginia, 65 percent of Virginia Republican primary voters decided before earlier this year, so before the Iowa caucuses, before the New Hampshire primary, before anybody voted, decisions were already made by two thirds of Republican primary voters. That's locked in. And then in similar story in North Carolina, you see also that a majority here not as big of a majority, 51 percent if you look at the bottom there decided who they were going to support in this primary before this year.


So if indeed Donald Trump steamrolls his way through, the fact that so many voters sort of locked into their choice so early on, shows that what's been happening in this contest hasn't necessarily been altering the shape of this contest. Kate?

BOLDUAN: Let's dig into this. David Chalian, thank you so much. These exit polls are always so interesting, because we're hearing directly from voters as they're heading in or exiting, hence the name. Jamal, what is your takeaway from what David just laid out here?

JAMAL SIMMONS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You know, on that score that David just laid out, I'm taking a look at what he said about the moderate and liberal numbers in Virginia, 35 percent of that population is moderate or liberal. That's not something that you're used to seeing in some of these more conservative Republican states. So it'd be interesting to see if Nikki Haley actually over perform some of her recent numbers, because there are more people who maybe are a little less inclined to beat Donald Trump.

But the earlier number that still sticks in my head, is that 40 percent of people in Virginia said that he was not fit if he gets convicted. To me, that says to you that those people, even if, let's say, half of them, 20 percent of that, you know, still vote for Donald Trump. There's still a big number of voters out there that are available to Joe Biden, or they're not going to vote or they go third party. But that to me seems like a problem if 40 percent of Republican voters say he is not fit for office. That's a big number to me.

SHERMICHAEL SINGLETON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I would disagree on the idea that some of the moderates are potentially vote for the president, because I would be curious if you begin to unpack those moderates, are they somewhat conservative on the economy? Maybe they are socially liberal? Are they somewhat conservative on foreign policy issues? I would want to break those numbers out.

BOLDUAN: Is it Virginia, is it Virginia conservative or North Carolina conservative?

SINGLETON: All right, I don't want to break those numbers down further. And again, and I think --

SIMMONS: -- for Democrats, right?

SINGLETON: It is but I think this is also a part of the president, former president's strategy of trying to delay all of these trials. They recognize and understand that if there is a guilty verdict, it is going to wreak havoc on his possibilities returning to the White House. With that said, though, if you can delay, most Republican voters I think are principally concerned with some other issues that are far more tangible to their everyday lives. They will hold their nose and vote for Donald Trump, because they believe he's more beneficial to them on some of those aspects in terms of President Biden.

BOLDUAN: And that's where these -- that's where ideology really can tell you a lot about where they would vote on some of these issues, immigration economy. What do you see here, Ashley?

ASHLEY ALLISON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, the challenging thing about this primary season is that we're learning a lot about the Republican electorate, but so little about the Democratic electorate. Last week, we were just sitting here with Michigan, and we had the uncommitted voters, right. And so that was a real snapshot, also, on the Democratic side in South Carolina, we had really high black turnout when there was a question mark.

So those are two data points. But if I'm the Biden campaign, I am really clear that the folks who think he will be fit for office whether or not he is convicted of a crime, they're never coming to any Democratic candidate, most likely. So I'm looking at the individuals who Jamal identifies as moderate or very moderate and seeing who are they to Governor Hochul's point. What is that demographic of women in there? Are they women that are concerned about abortion, which we heard in the earlier piece in the earlier hour in Virginia?

And really trying to figure out what is the message is not one issue, because voters are dynamic. But what are the issues that I can weave a story together that is a stronger and more compelling argument than just look at, don't compare me to the Almighty, compare me to the alternative, actually develop a message and you can do this in the State of the Union. This is what I am doing. This is what I have done. And this is why you can side with me for these moderate voters in these two states.


SIMMONS: I was going to actually add up, is it's not just what he has done and is doing now, but what he was doing their future. That's the word I'm looking for the State of the Union. This isn't about the Union. But that to me is the question.

ADAM KINZINGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: And one of the things that like stands out to me if you see the moderate liberal number, whenever I did my own polling, there were always people that self-described moderate Republicans, even some liberal Republicans, which I always never really understood.

But when you look at that number, that's as we're talking about what Biden can target. Here's a good way to target that, Ukraine, right? Maybe not everybody agrees on some of the border stuff, I don't know, maybe a moderate Republican is not as much of a border hawk. I guarantee you, every one of those moderate and liberal Republicans and every one of those support Ukraine.

That is Joe Biden's opportunity to chip away and say, look, you may not like all my policies. But do you really think a Russian victory over Ukraine is going to be beneficial to the United States of America? I think that --

BOLDUAN: Adam, do you think after Super Tuesday that it frees up Republicans to be more supportive of Ukraine funding?

KINZINGER: So that's exactly what I think is possible. Right now in Texas you have a lot of house races that are up, Mike McCaul for instance who's the Chair of Foreign Affairs, OK, he's worried about his primary. He'll get past it. Once they all get past these primaries, they don't have now a primary for two more years. It's sad. And it's cynical that I have to say this, but I'm a politician. I understand it. Now that they're past their primaries, they can now say, OK, we compel action to the floor, three of them could it.


SINGLETON: But I think there's a good point about -- no, no, go ahead.

ALLISON: -- on this point about the democracy or Ukraine. I, you know, the Biden campaign in the midterms, and in this, it's very clear that they want to lean on, this is to save our democracy. If you connect the dots between what is happening in Ukraine and finding funny and protecting our democracy, it does give you a lane to bring some of those moderate voters over. Because, again, we also have seen polling that most people are not thinking just solely about American democracy. But if you can attach it to that international dynamic --

SINGLETON: But do you run the risk of losing some of those moderates, as the President attempts to placate to the progressive base in the Democratic Party as a pertains to Israel? I absolutely think you do. I am not convinced that if the president attempts to turn out younger voters, younger voters of color, you're not going to be able to bring those moderates. And I'm not -- and I would caution my Democratic friends here, focus on turning out your own base, your own party not trying to pull in Republicans. That's not how Joe Biden is going to win the White House.

ALLISON: We did that in 2020, we built a coalition actually where we had Cindy McCain support, Joe Biden. We had the largest amount of historical turnout because we had our base and we had moderates, independents. I'm never going to say sell out their base.

SINGLETON: -- isn't penetrating though, Ashley, at all.

BOLDUAN: Final thought, this to me that everyone's basically decided way before Iowa and these states tells me that there's a lot of work ahead. Does that include the State of the Union for Joe Biden right now? SIMMONS: It does include the State of the Union in the sense that people really want to know what's next and of this President. And look, one of the questions about his age is people sort of look at Joe Biden, and they obviously think like, gosh, maybe the guy is like a little too old for the job. But if he's talking about the future of America, and what he wants to do for the future of America and the Mars lander, or whatever it is, he wants to talk about, that something people might rally around.

BOLDUAN: The nearest of futures is our special coverage of Super Tuesday continues.

Coming up next, we're going to go live to North Carolina, where Donald Trump is going all out in order to get his candidate for governor, a man he calls quote, Martin Luther King on steroids across the finish line.



BLITZER: All right, here's some breaking news that we're watching right now. The Iowa Democratic Party has just released the results of the Democratic presidential caucuses in Iowa. As expected, President Biden is clearly the winner of the Iowa caucuses. Let's take a closer look at the votes that have just been released. President Biden got a little bit more than 11,000 votes, 480 votes went for, quote, uncommitted. Kate, back to you.

BOLDUAN: All right, Wolf, bouncing off that breaking news. Let's talk now about the task ahead for Joe Biden. Let's pick up where we were. In the State of the Union, he has a big opportunity ahead. But still, I'm looking at these exit polls still, Ashley, and there's -- where are people movable? Where are people gettable? There is no gettable voter anymore? Kate Bolduan declares.

ALLISON: No, I think a lot of America is kind of where they're going to be from now until November. But I do think that there are individuals who are persuadable to decide whether or not they're actually going to vote. That's the type of persuasion. I also feel like right now there's a new, it might not be new, but it feels new to me. There is this fact versus feeling.

The facts say the economy is doing great, that Joe Biden is doing things to keep -- to bring inflation down, to increase jobs. But people aren't feeling that now. And so the task for the Biden campaign and Joe Biden in the State of the Union is to connect, bring that chasm of fact versus feeling together and make people believe in the facts that they're seeing in hope that they will feel it maybe by November, but definitely in another four years.

BOLDUAN: Shermichael, one thing I heard Ron Brownstein has said over and over again, and it really sticks with me is that Nikki Haley throughout the Republican primary, has left breadcrumbs for breadcrumbs for Joe Biden, all in her trail, where Joe Biden could pick up some more voters, some support, white collar suburban voters, moderates, do you agree?

SINGLETON: I would agree with that. But I think to the point that Ashley was just making at, I think there is some serious discontent with Joe Biden and his ability to penetrate that discontent. I haven't seen it yet. I mean, yes, the numbers appear to be good on the economy. Sure, people are employed, but I have a job. And I'm not making enough. The cost of everyday goods have increased the prices of gas, it ebbs and flows. And so those are very real things that people may say, I'm not excited, I'm not enthusiastic. I may sit home or I may vote third party. And I think the President has to figure out a way to recover it.

BOLDUAN: How do you break through on the fact versus feeling?

SIMMONS: Well, you know, one thing you do is you have a moment like the President had a year ago, when the Republicans tried to come after him on Social Security. And he made fun and had this moment where he texted back and forth. So if I'm the Republicans, I'm saying don't do anything, just sit quietly, let him have a good boring speech, and then let it go by because if Joe Biden is able to show from that stage that he is competent and able and able to kind of joust with people who are in the audience, he'll do a lot to allay some of the fears people have, and he's not up to the job.

KINZINGER: By the way, as a congressman, they would always brief us before the State of the Union. Guys, don't look at your phone. Don't do anything, because when you're doing something stupid, is when the cameras going to focus in on you. So you were talking about that? I'm like, oh, yes, it kind of brought back memories of like, you're sitting there for two hours because you know, if you do something stupid, like pick your nose, it's going to be on T.V.

BOLDUAN: Paul Begala said something, Ashley, he told me yesterday that Joe Biden he can't pivot on one major issue that that voters are concerned about, and that is he can't pivot back to being 45 years old again. So that -- with that, what is the answer in your view going forward still?


ALLISON: Well, I think that you can lean in on abortion. I do think you do talk about go on attack with immigration, which we talked about how Republicans don't want to govern and talk about the future of America.

BOLDUAN: It's great --

SIMMONS: And tell jokes.


BOLDUAN: Jokes are bound people. But no joking, it's very serious. It is Super Tuesday. Thank you so much for joining us. The first polls are closing in one hour. Our special coverage of Super Tuesday continues now.