The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — Pollsters: White college-educated women to decide if Dems capture House




The Hill’s Morning Report: Welcome to The Hill's Morning Report and happy Tuesday! Our daily email gets you up to speed on the most important developments in politics and policy, plus trends to watch, co-created by Jonathan Easley and Alexis Simendinger. (CLICK HERE to subscribe!) On Twitter, find us at @joneasley and @asimendinger.

Hill.TV’s “Rising” program, starting at 8 a.m., features Democratic National Committee Vice Chair Michael Blake.


If Democrats flip the 23 seats they need to win a majority in the House, support from women and the growing gender gap will be in the spotlight as the primary driver sending Republicans to the minority, according to top political analysts from both parties.

In recent weeks, GOP leaders have acknowledged that the gender gap, which has long favored Democrats, appears to have widened to historic margins since President TrumpDonald John TrumpCNN's Camerota clashes with Trump's immigration head over president's tweet LA Times editorial board labels Trump 'Bigot-in-Chief' Trump complains of 'fake polls' after surveys show him trailing multiple Democratic candidates MORE came into office.

A CBS News poll released on Monday found Democrats leading by 12 points among women, with Republicans holding only a 7-point advantage among men. A recent Morning Consult survey found that enthusiasm to vote among Democratic women jumped 11 points to 82 percent following Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughThe Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic infighting threatens 2020 unity Ex-DCCC official: McGrath comments on Kavanaugh vote not 'a death sentence' Kentucky Democrat says primary challenge to McGrath 'might be helpful' MORE’s confirmation fight, while enthusiasm among Republican women remained unchanged at 67 percent.

The disparity is particularly pronounced among college-educated women and white women.

With analysts predicting a “Year of the Woman” at the ballot box, The Morning Report asked pollsters from both parties how the gender divide would impact the midterm elections.

Here are some verbatim responses:

Anna Greenberg, Democratic pollster:

“If Democrats win back the House, there’s no question it will be because of the advantage in turning out women to vote. Pretty much from the Women’s March on, which might have been the largest single-day demonstration in U.S. history, we’ve seen unprecedented activism from women play out in protests, volunteering, advocacy, running for Congress and donating to political campaigns … it’s pretty clear it has become more of a gender chasm than a gender gap.”

Robert Blizzard, Republican pollster:

“There’s always been a gender gap, women generally are more supportive of Democrats and men typically are more supportive of Republicans. That’s not new. It’s just been exacerbated in the current political climate. Every race is slightly different and requires a unique coalition depending on the state or district. GOP candidates who will be successful in November will likely be those who garner enough support among women – specifically independent, white women – to reduce the ‘gap.’.”

Margie Omero, Democratic political analyst:

            “Women have made up a majority of the electorate – and have voted more Democratic than men – for decades. What might be unique this year is if women vote Democratic by such large margins that Democrats could be successful even if men vote more Republican. … It's not just Trump himself. It's everything Trump's wrought: The enormous number of women candidates, the threat to women's rights, such as basic health care and the right to decide how and when to become a mother, and even toxic partisanship and the loss of faith in our institutions. And no matter how you feel about Trump, women across party lines lament how divided we've become.”

Frank Luntz, Republican pollster:

            “This will be the biggest gender gap in history – and it is passionate. More than one divorce will be triggered by what happens on Election Day.”

Celinda Lake, Democratic pollster:

> “Gender gap on steroids”

> Women are more energized, particularly “unmarried, millennial, college [educated], and women of color,” but the gap is big “even among married folks.”

> Women are being driven to the polls by Trump, health care and reproductive health issues.

> The Kavanaugh vote, however, may have had the opposite effect of energizing Republicans and men.

John McLaughlin, Republican pollster:

            “It’s the independent women now who are moving strongly against the Republicans and it’s on issues like health care and in opposition to Trump … but we are seeing some independent men move toward the Republicans. That’s where the important split is going to be.”


WHITE HOUSE & ADMINISTRATION: The president dispatched Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoTrump's Iran policy proves the primacy of US power — but to what end? The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - Trump attack on progressive Dems draws sharp rebuke State Department raises concerns about Sweden's treatment of detained American rapper MORE to Saudi Arabia and Turkey on Monday, seeking to resolve the continuing global uproar over the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi (The Hill).

For the first time, sources indicated on Monday that the Saudi government appeared poised to concede Khashoggi is dead.

Sources told CNN the Saudis are preparing a report expected to assert that Khashoggi, an opinion contributor to The Washington Post and a frequent critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, died after a botched interrogation inside the Saudi consulate in Turkey, one that was unauthorized by the royal family.



The president, who called it “a terrible situation” after speaking with Saudi King Salman on Monday, said the king denied any involvement in what Turkish intelligence sources allege, based on audio and video evidence, was Khashoggi’s murder by a Saudi hit squad sent to torture, kill and dismember him on Oct. 2 (The Hill).

Trump, who wants to avert a diplomatic crisis in the Middle East, volunteered with no evidence that “rogue killers” might be responsible for Khashoggi’s disappearance (The New York Times).

Turkish investigators searched the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Monday (The Washington Post).


Federal red ink: Trump’s first annual budget deficit rose to a six-year high, in part because of GOP tax cuts enacted last year and increased spending (Bloomberg).

Petroleum exports: The Trump administration is considering using West Coast military bases or other federal properties as transit points for shipments of U.S. coal and natural gas to Asia, Interior Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeSenior Trump administration official to leave post next week 2020 Democrats vow to get tough on lobbyists 'I alone can fix it,' Trump said, but has he? MORE and two GOP lawmakers told The Associated Press. The administration wants to bolster the domestic energy industry and circumvent environmental opposition to fossil fuel exports, especially in California.

Climate change: While touring hurricane recovery efforts in the Florida Panhandle and near Macon, Ga., on Monday, Trump pointed to a decades-long cycle of hurricanes he’s observed as a property owner in Palm Beach. Trump has derided scientific studies asserting a correlation between man-made greenhouse gases and a dangerously warming planet.

We’ve been hit by the weather, there is no doubt about it. ...There is something there, man-made or not,” the president said.

Trump said hurricanes would not prompt him to rethink his decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, repeating his contention that the agreement’s requirements would handicap the United States in its economic competition with other countries (The New York Times).

Judiciary: Trump takes aim at reshaping the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, to the chagrin of Democratic Sens. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinDem senators demand GOP judicial group discloses donors Senate Democrats skipping Pence's border trip Senate confirms Trump's 9th Circuit pick despite missing blue slips MORE and Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisTrump complains of 'fake polls' after surveys show him trailing multiple Democratic candidates Judd Gregg: Counting the costs of Democrats' desires Buttigieg: 'Medicare for all,' free college tuition are 'questionable on their merits' MORE of California (CNN). The administration announced nominations for three vacancies California is watching closely (The Hill).

West Wing turnstile: National Security Council chief of staff Fred Fleitz is leaving the White House to work for a think tank after just months on the job. NSC Director John Bolton issued a rare statement of praise for the latest of the many aides who departed after Bolton arrived this year. “Fred Fleitz is a longtime friend and advisor,” he said. “I wish him the best with his next endeavor” (The Hill).




CAMPAIGNS & POLITICS: Three weeks out from Election Day, the Democratic path to a majority in the House relies on districts in a handful of states where the party believes it can pick up an outsized number of seats (The Hill).

The states to watch, according to The Hill’s Reid Wilson: Pennsylvania, California, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New York and Virginia.

Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanJuan Williams: GOP in a panic over Mueller House Republicans dismissive of Paul Ryan's take on Trump Amash's critics miss the fact that partisanship is the enemy of compromise MORE (R-Wis.), who is not seeking reelection, will hit the trail in the run-up to Nov. 6 for 25 vulnerable Republican incumbents in 12 states (USA Today).

Meanwhile, The New York Times obtained a memo from Democratic strategists with some interesting advice for the party’s candidates: Steer clear of immigration.

From Times reporter Julie Hirschfeld Davis:

            “Democrats … should spend ‘as little time as possible’ talking about immigration itself, and instead pivot to more fruitful issues for Democrats like health care and taxation. The strategists worry that Republicans’ foreboding immigration message is far more personal to most voters than the more modulated position of Democrats, whose push to protect the young immigrants known as Dreamers and to ensure humane treatment of undocumented people does not, in many cases, affect voters themselves.”

The New York Times: Democrats surge ahead of Republicans in fundraising for key races.

On to the Senate…

> A new Emerson College survey finds Sen. Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerThis week: Barr back in hot seat over Mueller report Trump suggests Heller lost reelection bid because he was 'hostile' during 2016 presidential campaign Trump picks ex-oil lobbyist David Bernhardt for Interior secretary MORE (R-Nev.), who is easily the most vulnerable GOP Senator up for reelection this cycle, opening up a 7 point lead over Rep. Jacky RosenJacklyn (Jacky) Sheryl RosenKey endorsements: A who's who in early states Female senators hatch plan to 'shame' Senate into voting faster Lawmakers introduce legislation to improve cyber workforce funding MORE (D-Nev.). It’s the latest survey to find a GOP Senate candidate surging in a state Trump won in 2016 after the Kavanaugh confirmation battle.

Both parties are sending the heavy artillery out to Nevada in the coming days.

Trump will hold a rally for Heller on Friday.

Former President Obama will also be out in Nevada on Friday to gin up support for the entire Nevada Democratic ticket. Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump complains of 'fake polls' after surveys show him trailing multiple Democratic candidates Biden pitches new subsidies, public option in health care plan The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - Trump attack on progressive Dems draws sharp rebuke MORE will follow Obama to Las Vegas on Saturday.

> Tonight, however, you’ll want to tune in for the debate between Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzGOP senators ask for federal investigation into social media companies' decision-making The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - Trump attack on progressive Dems draws sharp rebuke Ted Cruz blasts Tennessee GOP governor for declaration honoring early KKK leader MORE (R-Texas) and Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas). Polls show Cruz pulling away, but O’Rourke’s $38 million haul this quarter – more than three times what Cruz raised – cannot be ignored (The Rivard Report).

Trump will hold a rally for Cruz next Monday.

The Hill: Five things to watch in Cruz-O’Rourke debate showdown.

> And in Florida, the politics around Hurricane Michael has overtaken the heated Senate race between Gov. Rick Scott (R) and Sen. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonDemocrats target Florida Hispanics in 2020 Poll: Six Democrats lead Trump in Florida match-ups How Jim Bridenstine recruited an old enemy to advise NASA MORE (D).

Scott has turned his campaign over to his wife, Ann Scott, so he can focus on disaster relief (

Nelson is talking about how his position on the Armed Services Committee has him in position to help rebuild the Tyndall Air Force Base, which was heavily damaged by the storm (Orlando Sentinel).

> The Hill’s Morgan Chalfant has five takeaways from last night’s Arizona Senate debate between Reps. Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyTrump nominees meet fiercest opposition from Warren, Sanders, Gillibrand Democratic challenger to McConnell raises .5 million on first day of campaign Mark Kelly raised .2M for Arizona Senate bid MORE (R) and Kyrsten Sinema (D). The Arizona race to replace retiring Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeFlake responds to Trump, Jimmy Carter barbs: 'We need to stop trying to disqualify each other' Jeff Flake responds to Trump's 'greener pastures' dig on former GOP lawmakers Trump says he's 'very happy' some GOP senators have 'gone on to greener pastures' MORE (R) is a rare pick-up opportunity for Democrats. Polls show the candidates running neck and neck. Trump will hold a rally in Arizona for McSally on Friday.



Looking ahead to 2020…

> Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenTrump complains of 'fake polls' after surveys show him trailing multiple Democratic candidates Amazon warehouse workers strike on Prime Day Elizabeth Warren backs Amazon workers striking on Prime Day MORE’s (D-Mass.) controversial decision to release a DNA test claiming that one of her ancestors from between six and 10 generations ago was partially Native American ignited debate in Washington ahead of Warren’s anticipated presidential run.

Warren claimed vindication from Trump’s “Pocahontas” attacks.



Trump said he would only follow through on his promise to donate $1 million to a charity of Warren’s choosing if she wins the Democratic nomination and he could “personally” conduct the DNA test.

The Hill: Warren DNA test reinvigorates fight with Trump.

The Cherokee Nation blasted Warren’s claim as “inappropriate” and “wrong,” and accused her of “undermining tribal interests with her continued claims of tribal heritage.”

Some Democrats fumed over what they viewed as an unnecessary distraction this close to the midterm elections.



> And finally, it’s been a rough month for Michael Avenatti, the attorney for Stormy Daniels.

A federal judge on Monday dismissed Daniels’s defamation lawsuit against Trump and ordered that she pay the president’s legal fees (The Hill).

Avenatti is considering running for the Democratic presidential nomination. The Hill’s Amie Parnes reports that Democrats are criticizing Avenatti for dragging the party into the gutter. Some blame Avenatti for hurting the party’s efforts to block Kavanaugh from the Supreme Court (The Hill).

The Associated Press: 2020 Dems building ties to power brokers in key states.

The Morning Report is created by journalists Jonathan Easley & Alexis Simendinger Suggestions? Tips? We want to hear from you! Share The Hill’s reporting and newsletters, and encourage others to SUBSCRIBE!


Trump has emboldened Saudi Prince Mohammad bin Salman to act with impunity, by Kate Kizer, policy director at the Center for International Policy, opinion contributor, The Hill.

Americans are safer from terrorism but new threats are rising, by former CIA Director Michael Hayden, opinion contributor, The Hill.


The House and Senate are out of Washington until after Election Day. House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiNYT's Friedman repeatedly says 's---hole' in tirade against Trump on CNN GOP lawmaker: Trump's tweets 'obviously not racist' On the USMCA, Pelosi can't take yes for an answer MORE (D-Calif.) speaks with students at 2:30 p.m. at Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics in Massachusetts. Livestream of the event is HERE.

The president will be interviewed during a broadcast at 8 p.m. on Fox Business with host Trish Regan.

Vice President Pence and Karen PenceKaren Sue PenceThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Acosta resigns amid controversy over Epstein plea deal The Hill's 12:30 Report: Pelosi looks to squash fight with progressives The Hill's 12:30 Report: Pelosi looks to tamp down Dem infighting MORE will visit areas of Georgia affected by Hurricane Michael, including Flint River Mills Inc., a farm animal feed company in Albany, Ga., and nearby Pecan Ridge Plantation. They’ll speak with farmers whose crops were damaged.

Pompeo is in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, today and will stop in Turkey.

Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - Trump attack on progressive Dems draws sharp rebuke GOP struggles to find backup plan for avoiding debt default Pelosi calls for spending parity in budget agreement MORE and Under Secretary David Malpass will speak beginning at 2:30 p.m. during the opening session of the Financial Stability Oversight Council, which meets at the department. Earlier, at 10 a.m., Treasury general counsel Brent McIntosh speaks in New York City to the American Banker’s RegTech conference.


Keep Medicare Part D working for seniors by preserving the tools that give them choice and control, keeping drug prices and premiums affordable. Learn more.


> Catholic Church: The Archdiocese of Washington released the names of 31 clergy members who had been “credibly accused” of sexual abuse since 1948. None are in active ministry, and 14 are still alive (The Washington Post).

> Tech: Facebook will ban false information about voting requirements and fact-check fake reports of violence or long lines at polling stations ahead of next month’s U.S. midterm elections (Reuters).

> Education: Lawyers for Harvard University argued in court Monday that race can only help an applicant get into the school, it can never hurt an applicant. The university is being sued by a nonprofit group claiming that Harvard discriminates against Asian-Americans (The Associated Press).

> Immigration: Hundreds of Hondurans have joined a caravan that is on a journey for the U.S. as migrants seek a new life in America. The group, which is presently close to the border of Guatemala, has grown from about 160 to about 1,600 (The Washington Post).


And finally … Floridians who had relatively little and now have a lot less showed their pluck on Monday as Trump, first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpDesigner defends Melania Trump statue: 'People may laugh but the context still resonates' Melania Trump heading to West Virginia to discuss opioid epidemic Wood-carved statue of Melania Trump erected in her Slovenian hometown MORE and Gov. Rick Scott toured some of the hurricane destruction left behind in the Panhandle (CNN). The death toll from Hurricane Michael stands at 19 across multiple states but is expected to rise as searchers continue to look for residents identified as missing.


"I didn't see nobody in panic mode. Nobody was in tears about being hungry," Chad Frazier said about the loss of his business and the destruction of his son’s school in Panama City, Fla., last week.

Randy June, whose property was demolished in Mexico Beach, Fla., said, "We ain't going nowhere. We're going to rebuild somehow. I just don't know how yet. … If we don't get no help ... we'll be living under a bridge somewhere. We'll still be here."

Chris Thompson, sitting inside the rubble of his mobile home in Marianna, Fla., said, “I’m in good health. Why not help somebody that needs it? … We’re sharing what we’ve got” (The Washington Post video).