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




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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 TrumpThe Memo: Ayers decision casts harsh light on Trump NASA offers to show Stephen Curry evidence from moon landings Freedom Caucus calls on leadership to include wall funding, end to 'catch and release' in funding bill 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 KavanaughOvernight Health Care — Sponsored by Amgen — Supreme Court sides with Planned Parenthood, declines to take funding case | NIH to fund research into fetal tissue alternatives | Oklahoma seeks Trump approval for Medicaid work requirements Time fumbles another 'Person of the Year' by excluding Kavanaugh Trump, Mueller both make Time 'Person of the Year' shortlist 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 PompeoThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump shakes up staff with eye on 2020, Mueller probe Trump ultimatum sparks fears of new arms race Paul calls Trump's pick for attorney general's views on surveillance 'very troubling' 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 ZinkeFormer Koch adviser to oversee Interior Department's FOIA requests The Year Ahead: Dems under pressure to deliver on green agenda Trump attends Army-Navy game 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 FeinsteinTime fumbles another 'Person of the Year' by excluding Kavanaugh Bottom Line Focus on Yemen, not the Saudi crown prince MORE and Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisWarren has contacted 100 people in early 2020 primary states: report O’Rourke is fireball, but not all Dems are sold Warren fell for ‘Trump trap’ with DNA test, says progressive 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 RyanOvernight Defense: Dunford expected to finish Joint Chiefs term | House lawmakers pushing for Yemen vote | Pentagon says a few hundred troops leaving border Ocasio-Cortez: Paul Ryan got called a 'genius' when he was elected at 28, I get accused of being 'a fraud' Meadows looks to make his move 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 Heller How to reform the federal electric vehicle tax credit White House jumps into fight over energy subsidies One last fight for Sen. Orrin Hatch 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 RosenSchumer walking tightrope with committee assignments 10 things we learned from the midterms Election Countdown: Florida fight ends with Scott, DeSantis wins | Dems see Sunbelt in play for 2020 | Trump to campaign in Mississippi ahead of runoff | GOP wipeout in Orange County | Ortiz Jones concedes in Texas House race 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 BidenJoseph (Joe) Robinette BidenGillum reached out to O’Rourke amid 2020 speculation: report O'Rourke spoke with Al Sharpton amid 2020 speculation Warren has contacted 100 people in early 2020 primary states: report 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 CruzGillum reached out to O’Rourke amid 2020 speculation: report O'Rourke spoke with Al Sharpton amid 2020 speculation O’Rourke is fireball, but not all Dems are sold 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 NelsonMore than 6000 mail-in ballots in Florida were not counted: officials Rick Scott funded three-quarters of his Senate campaign, to tune of .6M Manchin’s likely senior role on key energy panel rankles progressives 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 McSallyMaine’s 2nd District outcome proves value of ranked choice voting Arizona airport says Trump campaign owes K from October rally The 5 most competitive Senate races of 2020 MORE (R) and Kyrsten Sinema (D). The Arizona race to replace retiring Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeFlake: Republican Party ‘is a frog slowly boiling in water’ Tim Scott: Stop giving court picks with 'questionable track records on race' a Senate vote Flake stands firm on sending a ‘message to the White House’ on Mueller 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 WarrenDems ask if Trump aide Bill Shine is breaking ethics laws The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump searches for next chief of staff | Congress, Trump dig in for funding fight | Why O'Rourke worries some Dems Warren has contacted 100 people in early 2020 primary states: report 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.

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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 Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiFreedom Caucus calls on leadership to include wall funding, end to 'catch and release' in funding bill Black Caucus huddles as talk of term limits heats up Insurgent Dems amplify push for term limits on party leaders 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 Morning Report — Presented by T-Mobile — What the Michael Flynn news means Pences get book deal for more Marlon Bundo stories The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump defends 2016 Russia business dealings | North American leaders sign new trade pact | Clinton doesn't tamp down 2020 talk 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 Memo: Ayers decision casts harsh light on Trump IRS issues guidance aimed at limiting impact of tax on nonprofits' parking expenses On The Money: New director takes helm at troubled consumer agency | Trump’s economy teetering on trade tensions, volatile markets | Brexit crisis deepens | House report scolds Equifax over breach 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 TrumpJohn Kelly was always doomed to fail as chief of staff Trump to help impoverished nations educate their children Internet gambling addiction is a looming crisis 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).