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 TrumpMcCabe says he was fired because he 'opened a case against' Trump McCabe: Trump said 'I don't care, I believe Putin' when confronted with US intel on North Korea McCabe: Trump talked to me about his election victory during 'bizarre' job interview 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 KavanaughVirginia can be better than this Constitutional conservatives need to oppose the national emergency Kavanaugh shows his stripes on Supreme Court's 'shadow docket' 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 PompeoHeather Nauert withdraws her name from consideration for UN ambassador job The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the American Academy of HIV Medicine — Trump, Congress prepare for new border wall fight Overnight Defense: Trump to sign funding deal, declare national emergency | Shanahan says allies will be consulted on Afghanistan | Dem demands Khashoggi documents 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 ZinkeOvernight Energy: Zinke joins Trump-tied lobbying firm | Senators highlight threat from invasive species | Top Republican calls for Green New Deal vote in House Zinke, Lewandowski join Trump veterans’ lobbying firm Is a presidential appointment worth the risk? 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 FeinsteinFeinstein says she thinks Biden will run after meeting with him Trump judicial nominee Neomi Rao seeks to clarify past remarks on date rape Bottom Line MORE and Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisSenate Dems introduce bill to prevent Trump from using disaster funds to build wall Klobuchar, O'Rourke visit Wisconsin as 2020 race heats up Sherrod Brown pushes for Medicare buy-in proposal in place of 'Medicare for all' 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 RyanUnscripted Trump keeps audience guessing in Rose Garden Coulter defends Paul Ryan: This is 100 percent Trump's fault The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Kidney Care Partners — Trump escalates border fight with emergency declaration 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 HellerTrump suggests Heller lost reelection bid because he was 'hostile' during 2016 presidential campaign Trump picks ex-oil lobbyist David Bernhardt for Interior secretary Oregon Dem top recipient of 2018 marijuana industry money, study finds 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 RosenFemale Dems see double standard in Klobuchar accusations Trump suggests Heller lost reelection bid because he was 'hostile' during 2016 presidential campaign Trump administration secretly shipped plutonium to Nevada 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 BidenKlobuchar, O'Rourke visit Wisconsin as 2020 race heats up Biden: 'The America I see does not wish to turn our back on the world' DNC chair defends debate schedule after Biden says election process starts 'too early' 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 CruzEl Chapo's lawyer fires back at Cruz: 'Ludicrous' to suggest drug lord will pay for wall Democrats have a chance of beating Trump with Julian Castro on the 2020 ticket Poll shows competitive matchup if O’Rourke ran for Senate again 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 Nelson2020 party politics in Puerto Rico There is no winning without Latinos as part of your coalition Dem 2020 candidates court Puerto Rico as long nomination contest looms 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 McSallyArmy calls base housing hazards 'unconscionable,' details steps to protect families Poll shows McSally, Kelly tied in Arizona Senate race Mark Kelly's campaign raises over M in days after launching Senate bid MORE (R) and Kyrsten Sinema (D). The Arizona race to replace retiring Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeTrump suggests Heller lost reelection bid because he was 'hostile' during 2016 presidential campaign Live coverage: Trump delivers State of the Union Sasse’s jabs at Trump spark talk of primary challenger 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 WarrenSenate Dems introduce bill to prevent Trump from using disaster funds to build wall Klobuchar, O'Rourke visit Wisconsin as 2020 race heats up Sherrod Brown pushes for Medicare buy-in proposal in place of 'Medicare for all' 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 PelosiThe national emergency will haunt Republicans come election season On unilateral executive action, Mitch McConnell was right — in 2014 National emergency declaration — a legal fight Trump is likely to win 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 — Presented by Kidney Care Partners — Trump escalates border fight with emergency declaration The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the American Academy of HIV Medicine — Trump, Congress prepare for new border wall fight The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Kidney Care Partners — Lawmakers wait for Trump's next move on border deal 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 MnuchinHillicon Valley: Facebook weighs crackdown on anti-vaccine content | Lyft challenges Trump fuel standards rollback | Illinois tries to woo Amazon | New round of China trade talks next week On The Money: Trump declares emergency at border | Braces for legal fight | Move divides GOP | Trump signs border deal to avoid shutdown | Winners, losers from spending fight | US, China trade talks to resume next week Treasury sanctions top Maduro allies in Venezuela 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 TrumpThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Kidney Care Partners — Trump escalates border fight with emergency declaration Trump dismisses Ann Coulter after criticism: 'I hardly know her' The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the American Academy of HIV Medicine — Trump, Congress prepare for new border wall fight 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).