Young voters make up significant portion of new registrations in key states since Parkland shooting
Young voters are flocking to register to vote in key battleground states in the wake of the February school shooting at a Parkland, Fla. high school, according to a new analysis from Democratic data firm TargetSmart.
The report, released exclusively to NBC News, shows that young voters between the ages of 18 and 29 years old make up an increasing share of those registering to vote in a handful of key states.
Pennsylvania has seen the sharpest increase—61 percent of new voter registrations come from young voters, compared to 45 percent before the shooting.
Virginia, Indiana and New York have all seen an increase of about 10 percentage points in the youth share of new voter registrants, while Arizona and Florida have seen gains of about 8 percent. All of these states are home to some key Senate or House races that will play a crucial role in deciding control of Congress.
Other key battleground states—like California, North Carolina and Ohio—have seen more modest increases. And in West Virginia, home to one of the top Senate races on the map, the youth share of new registrants fell 11.5 percentage points.
Democrats are boosted by the general upward trend—TargetSmart found a 2 percent uptick in the share of youth registrants across the country—considering young voters skew more liberal and are more supportive of enacting new gun control measures. The February shooting in Parkland, where 17 people were killed, has served as a motivator for activists looking to make the case to pass new measures like expanding background checks and restricting access to certain weapons
Take a look at how the share has changed in each of the 38 states (plus the District of Columbia) that have updated their voter files since the shooting on Feb. 14 (states shown in grey haven’t publicly released new voter registration data over this span) on the graph below. And TargetSmart has all of the data here.
Trump makes surprise call into campaign event to energize women voters
TAMPA, Fla. — White women helped propel Donald Trump to the White House in 2016 but in an apparent sign of concern over his current re-election standing with those critical voters, the president picked up the phone Thursday night.
During a “Women for Trump” campaign event here, headlined by White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, a loud dial tone came over the speakers. After three rings and a click, a woman answered and said it would be another minute or two for the president, prompting ear-splitting cheers from the crowd.
“We won with women. We’re doing great with women, despite the fake news, you know that,” Trump told the 600 screaming attendees during the surprise call-in. “I’m with you all the way.”
Trump often claims that he won the female vote last cycle. In reality, Hillary Clinton won women overall 54 percent to 41 percent, according to exit polls. Trump, however, did receive 52 percent of the vote among white women.
An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll conducted earlier this month found a huge drop-off in support among women for the president, with 62 percent overall saying they would vote for a generic Democratic candidate while just 30 percent said they would vote for Trump.
To help generate enthusiasm with this key voting bloc, the Trump campaign organized more than a dozen targeted events across the country Thursday evening, hoping to shore up critical support ahead of the 2020 election.
"I think it’s gonna be easier than last time but let’s pretend it’s even tougher so we work harder because we cannot lose to this competition,” Trump told the convention center room full of mostly middle-aged women Thursday. “If we lose to this competition, that will be a very, very bad day for this country."
The female-centric events were planned to commemorate the 99th anniversary of women’s suffrage and are meant to highlight the economic gains women have experienced during the Trump administration. The president often touts unemployment’s historic low among women and the message was repeated at events nationwide Thursday.
Similar gatherings Thursday, billed as “an evening to empower,” featured Arizona Jan Brewer in Mesa, Arizona, campaign spokeswomen Kayleigh McEnany in Marietta, Georgia and senior advisor Katrina Pierson in Troy, Michigan. Notably, several of these get-togethers were also planned in states where Trump lost in 2016, such as Nevada, Colorado, Minnesota and Virginia.
The campaign readily admits that the support of women will be central to win re-election, which is precisely why it officially kicked off the “Women for Trump” coalition earlier this summer, even before announcing field teams in some key battleground states.
The president’s top female surrogates — his wife Melania and daughter Ivanka — have largely stayed away from the campaign trail in the lead up to 2020. They both attended the official second term kickoff rally and made select appearances during last year’s midterm elections but have prioritized their White House roles over the campaign trail in recent months. Officials indicated that will shift once again as the election kicks into high gear.
Many of the women NBC News spoke to here Thursday stressed they support Trump overall but take issue with his erratic leadership style, specifically on social media.
“I didn’t vote for him because he was a choir boy. He’s kept his promises. I just wish he would get off Twitter sometimes,” said Linda Cockerham, a retired teacher from Apollo Beach.
Others, like Evella Feldhacker, said they specifically came to Thursday’s event to “dispel the myth” that women don’t like the president’s heated rhetoric.
“He’s not apologetic,” she said. “And that’s what I love most.”
Biden tweets video on anniversary of being picked as Obama's running mate
DES MOINES, Iowa – Ahead of the 11-year anniversary of then-Sen. Barack Obama asking then-Sen. Joe Biden to be his vice presidential running mate Friday, Biden's presidential campaign has released a one-minute video on Twitter to commemorate the significance of the moment.
The video opens with President Obama telling Vice President Biden that he was the “first decision I made, and it was the best.”
A narrator’s booming voice then says “It was a relationship forged in fire,” before recounting the numerous legislative achievements the pair was able to pass after inheriting “a world in crisis.”
“Now we’re facing a different crisis,” the narrator says before the video shows white nationalists chanting “Jews will not replace us” and attendees at a Trump rally chanting “Send her back,” in reference to Muslim Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn.,who was born in Somalia.
Before closing, the video reminds viewers that Obama once called Biden “the best vice president America has ever had,” as the Biden campaign subtly stresses that the endorsement makes Biden “ the president we need now.”
The constant embrace of the popular former vice president has been followed with criticism by Biden’s opponents who have attacked him for invoking popular parts of Obama’s record at times when it’s convenient to him.
Hickenlooper announces Senate bid week after ending presidential candidacy
WASHINGTON — Former Colorado Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper is jumping into the state's pivotal Senate race, he announced Thursday in a new video.
Filmed in a pool hall, Hickenlooper criticizes Washington Republicans for playing "games" on health care and public lands, lumping Colorado Republican Sen. Cory Gardner, his would-be opponent, in with those Republicans he's criticizing.
"I don’t think Cory Gardner understands that the games he’s playing with Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell are hurting the people of Colorado," he says in the ad.
Hickenlooper instantly becomes the highest-profile politician in the crowded field of Democrats vying for the right to take on Gardner. The race is one of the top opportunities for Democrats in their bid to regain control of the U.S. Senate as Gardner will have to run on a ballot with President Trump, who lost the state by 5 percentage points in 2016.
But despite his resume, and poll numbers showing he'd be the favorite to win the primary, it's doesn't appear that Democrats will clear the field for him.
In a statement last week responding to speculation Hickenlooper would switch to the Senate race, Democratic state Sen. Angela Williams criticized Hickenlooper for "working and campaigning against bold, progressive solutions" and warning "this won't be a coronation."
And former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff told local news outlets he wouldn't drop out if Hickenlooper jumped in either.
The decision to run for Senate comes one week after Hickenlooper ended his presidential bid, where he struggled to find support both from donors and at the polls.
During that bid, he repeatedly brushed aside the idea of running for Senate.
"If the Senate is so good, how come all those Senators are trying to get out?" he quipped during an interview at Washington's National Press Club in June.
"The Senate just doesn't attract me at this point."
Republicans are pointing to those types of comments in response to Hickenlooper's announcement.
“John Hickenlooper is desperate to redeem himself after flopping on the national stage, but we think he said it best just a few months ago: he is ‘not cut out’ for the Senate,'" National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesperson Joanna Rodriguez said in a statement.
"This crowded Senate field has been in a race to the left and Hickenlooper’s quixotic presidential bid did not do him any favors in proving he can compete in any race in 2020.”
Hickenlooper addresses that criticism in his announcement video, arguing that he feels a sense of urgency to remain in elected politics.
"Look, I’m a straight shooter. I’ve always said Washington was a lousy place for a guy like me who wants to get things done — but this is no time to walk away from the table," he says.
"I know changing Washington is hard, but I want to give it a shot. I’m not done fighting for the people of Colorado.
GOP gubernatorial candidate argues gender is binary in new ad
WASHINGTON — Republican Rep. Ralph Abraham, who is running in Louisiana's upcoming gubernatorial election, is out with a new television ad Thursday morning that takes aim at both run-of-the-mill political issues like the size of government and the culture wars over issues like gender identification.
The new spot, which will run as part of the campaign's already announced $2 million television buy, includes Abraham speaking directly to camera as he lists off his "truth."
"Life begins at conception, government is too big, our taxes are too high," he says in the ad.
"President Trump is doing a great job. Facts matter more than feelings. The Second Amendment is self-explanatory. And as a doctor, I can assure you, there are only two genders."
Abraham's spot exemplifies the strategy that many pro-Trump Republican candidates are pursuing and emulating from the president himself — a mix of typical conservative arguments about the economy and the government mixed in with a focus on controversial cultural issues.
The congressman is looking to knock off incumbent Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards in the conservative-leaning state. He's the highest-profile elected official running against Bel Edwards, but is also jockeying with Republican businessman Eddie Rispone, who is relying in part on his on wealth for his bid.
The two men will face off, along with a crowded field, in the state's jungle primary on Oct. 12. If no candidate wins a majority of the vote, the top two candidates will move onto a one-on-one election on Nov. 16.
Pete Buttigieg’s latest ad buy is aimed at college students
DES MOINES, Iowa — If you’re not a paid subscriber on Spotify or Pandora you know the feeling when you’re listening to a playlist and all of a sudden an ad pops up. Now, one voice you could hear in between songs is South Bend Mayor and presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg.
Thursday, the campaign launched two 30-second ads aimed at college students heading back to school in New Hampshire and Iowa. The campaign tells NBC news the ads are aimed at meeting voters where they are.
In one ad, titled “Back to Normal,” Buttigieg implores the listener to, “ask yourself how a guy like Donald Trump ever got within cheating distance of the Oval Office.” The mayor goes on to stress the importance that Democrats not be the party of “back to normal.”
The second ad, “A Moment,” strikes a similar tone. “We are never going to be able to fix what is broken in Washington by recycling the same arguments and politicians that have dominated our politics for as long as I've been alive,” Buttigieg says. This ad centers on issues, that younger generations are most impacted by including school shootings and climate change.
Both ads end with Buttigieg delivering a definitive line, “We've got to do something completely different.”
This messaging which has been a hallmark of Buttigieg’s stump speech on the campaign trail, will now be streamed directly into voter’s ears.
If listeners choose to click on the ads, they’ll be directed to the campaign website’s “issues” page, which features the mayor’s latest policy proposals and key platforms.
This comes as many candidates in the presidential race, including Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, are beginning to ramp up ad buys in key early states.
The Buttigieg campaign declined to comment on how much the ads cost and how long they are expected to run.
RNC outraises DNC in July
WASHINGTON — The Republican National Committee significantly outraised the Democratic National Committee last month as the Republicans continue to expand their cash advantage over their rivals.
The RNC raised $20.8 million in July, a little less than 40 percent of that ($8 million) from small donations of $200 or less. By comparison, the DNC brought in $7.7 million, with 35 percent of that ($2.7 million) from small donations.
The GOP spent $17.7 million over the month while the DNC spent $7.9 million.
The fundraising disparity echoes the trend that's existed since the start of the year — the RNC has outraised the DNC in 2019 by a little more than $66 million. And it ended the month with $47 million in the bank compared to $9 million for the DNC.
That's in no small part thanks to the power of incumbency. Having the sitting president is a major cash boon (and President Trump does particularly well with small donors) as supporters are able to rally around the president as a focal point while Democratic donors are torn between a crowded field of candidates.
But while the RNC is helping the president's reelection efforts with its cash advantage, there's a lot of money being raised on the Democratic presidential side right now too. Democrats are hopeful that fundraising and enthusiasm will translate to the eventual nominee.
And the Democrats are still seeing strong fundraising at the congressional committees. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee outraised the National Republican Congressional Committee last month, and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee narrowly outraised its GOP counterpart, the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
Campaign advertising heats up in key early states
WASHINGTON — The television ad wars are kicking into another gear as more Democratic presidential candidates seek to flood the airwaves ahead of the next round of debates.
Some are spending big in the hopes of securing a spot on the stage, while others are looking to cement their status in the field.
Billionaire Tom Steyer is an example of the former. On Tuesday, he reserved $525,000 worth of television time in just two days across the four early voting states (in the Boston, Cedar Rapids, Charleston, Columbia, Greenville, Des Moines, Las Vegas, Quad Cities, Reno, and Sioux City markets). A few hours later, he bought another $87,400 on cable.
Steyer needs just one more poll of at least 2 percent to qualify for the September debates, but the deadline to qualify is just a week away.
New York Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who currently needs more polls and donors to make the September debate stage, reserved more than $170,000 in television time since Monday. Her campaign also started running a new ad this week in Iowa and the Boston (read: New Hampshire) television markets that plays up her commitment to nominate pro-choice judges and her support for "Medicare-for-All."
Former Housing Sec. Julián Castro also put $51,000 toward television advertising in Iowa this week as he searched for his final poll to secure a spot on the debate stage. But after his campaign learned he qualified with a 2 percent finish in CNN's new poll released Tuesday, his campaign shortened the buy and cut $11,000 from it.
The other big television spending this week came from former Vice President Joe Biden, who launched his first television ad of the cycle in Iowa as part of a $500,000 buy from Aug. 20 through Sept. 9.
That's a big buy, at least at this point in the cycle. But it also puts Steyer's massive spending in perspective, since the billionaire is spending more across just two days this week than Biden is for the next two weeks.
Read more about Biden's ad, which leans heavily on his general-election argument, from NBC's Mariana Sotomayor on the blog.
And to round out the television spending so far this week, California Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris' campaign reserved $28,500 in television time in Iowa from Aug. 22 through Aug. 28.
Joe Biden launches first Iowa TV ad
DES MOINES, Iowa — Joe Biden's presidential campaign launched its first television advertisements across the state of Iowa Tuesday morning, coinciding with former vice president's sixth visit to the first-in-the-nation-caucus state since announcing his candidacy for president.
The one-minute ad titled “Bones,” opens by quickly showing faces of Americans diverse in age and race as the narrator says “We all know in our bones this election is different.”
As the narrator points out that the “stakes are higher” and “threats more serious” than ever before, the ad quickly turns to show white supremacists carrying torches the night before the 2017 Unite the Right clashes in Charlottesville, Va., a flashpoint that Biden repeatedly mentions as a moment that heavily influenced his run for president.
“We have to beat Donald Trump,” the narrator says before Biden appears on the screen. “And all the polls agree Joe Biden is the strongest Democrat to do the job. No one is more qualified.”
Biden, who frequently references his close personal and working relationship with President Barack Obama, is shown alongside his former boss in the ad as the narrator reminds the audience of landmark legislation and progress both men achieved as partners in the administration.
“Now, Joe Biden is running for president with a plan for America’s future. To build on Obamacare, not scrap it. To make a record investment in America’s schools, to lead the world on climate, to rebuild our alliances.”
The narrator then adds that Biden would “restore the soul of the nation battered by an erratic, vicious, bullying president.”
In what could be a glimpse into a possible campaign slogan, the ad ends with a quick description of Biden’s political strengths: “Strong. Steady. Stable Leadership. Biden. President.”
The ad will target voters living in the largest media markets of the state for several weeks, according to the campaign, including Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Quad Cities and Sioux City.
According to ad spending data from Advertising Analytics, Biden's campaign has reserved about $500,000 in television time in Iowa from Aug. 20 to Sept. 9, with the bulk of the money being spent in Des Moines and Cedar Rapids.
Ben Kamisar contributed.
Tom Steyer pauses campaign for jury duty
NEW YORK — In the United States, one civic duty calls upon candidates and constituents alike: jury duty.
Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer announced he would step off the campaign trail this week to report for jury duty in San Francisco. The billionaire businessman will be on standby for the weeklong summons, and will report to the courthouse for selection if called.
Steyer was a late addition to the 2020 race for president, announcing his candidacy in July. Despite that later entry, the candidate said in a tweet it was important that he take time off the trail to fulfill his “civic obligation.”
“I believe I could have postponed it, but I believe that it’s every American’s civic duty to serve on a jury,” Steyer said in an interview with NBC News. “It’s a choice about values. Do you believe that you’re above the responsibilities of everyday citizens or not.”
Steyer told NBC News that he thinks jury duty, like voting, is an essential and positive aspect of democracy that makes “this country strong.”
Earlier this summer, another 2020 hopeful took time away from the campaign. Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., reported for jury duty in July. Booker tweeted a video from the Newark courthouse declaring it “the best jury room in all of America.”
Elizabeth Warren tells Native American forum she's 'sorry' for ancestry flap
SIOUX CITY, Iowa — Sen. Elizabeth Warren led off her much-anticipated appearance at the Frank LaMere Native American Forum by saying “I’m sorry.”
“Like anyone who's been honest with themselves, I know that I have made mistakes,” she said, alluding to the year-ago dust up over her DNA test and Native American ancestry that loomed over the early weeks of her 2020 presidential campaign.
“I am sorry for a harm I have caused. I have listened and I have learned a lot and I am grateful for the many conversations that we've had together. It is a great honor to be able to partner with Indian Country and that's what I've tried to do as a senator and that's what I promise I will do as President of the United States of America.”
In bringing the issue up herself, Warren was able to handle it on her own terms, while then pivoting to the thing she’s now known best for: talking about her various plans.
Tribal leaders and event organizers told NBC News before the event that the DNA flap didn’t give them pause about Warren’s candidacy. But her apology Monday highlighted a difference between Warren and President Donald Trump, who rarely, if ever, apologizes.
Biden, Warren and Sanders see popularity wane amid 2020 presidential campaign
WASHINGTON — Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., all have seen their popularity slide over the past 20 months, a drop that coincides with their entry into the Democratic presidential primary.
Between the January 2018 NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll and the new poll released Sunday, all three have seen their popularity slide to varying degrees.
All ended up underwater, with negative sentiment higher than positive sentiment among American adults.
Biden has fallen the furthest — he's seen a net 32 percentage-point rating (54 percent positive and 22 percent negative) slide to a net rating of negative 4 percentage points (34 percent view him positively now while 38 percent view him negatively).
Sanders' net-popularity also dropped by double digits (17 points), from 44 percent positive and 30 percent negative in 2017 to 37 percent positive, 40 percent negative now.
Warren's popularity hardly moved by comparison, but a once-slightly positive rating now sits in negative territory. In 2018, 30 percent of adults viewed her positively and 28 percent viewed her negatively. Now, those numbers are at 31 percent positive and 32 percent negative.
The phenomenon of politicians seeing their public image slide when they run for higher office is far from new—while former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton enjoyed strong support while at the State Department, her ratings crashed down to Earth when she decided to run for president in 2016.
All three Democratic candidates have better net ratings than the man they hope to run against in 2020. The new poll found President Donald Trump with a 39 percent positive rating and a 53 percent negative rating.
The president and those three Democrats were the only candidates included in the poll.
A deeper look at the numbers reinforce the significant demographic differences between the Trump base and that of the Democratic candidates.
Trump has a booming, net-positive rating from white, non-college men of 45 points and a net 4-point positive rating from white, non-college women. But he's underwater with white, college-educated men by 7 points, and with white, college-educated women by a whopping 46 points.
Among white voters, the Democrats are most popular among white, college-educated women and least popular with white, non-college educated men.
All three Democrats sport double-digit, net-positive popularity ratings among non-white voters, compared to a dismal negative 55 percentage point net rating for Trump. Biden, Sanders and Warren all score virtually the same with African-American voters despite that voting bloc's heavy preference for Biden in Democratic primary horse-race polls.
In the pivotal Rust Belt — home to key general election states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio (as well as Indiana) — Trump's rating sits 12 points underwater. Warren is 5 points underwater while Biden's rating is even and Sanders' is positive by 2 points.
The poll also tested two interest groups that have been in the news lately — Planned Parenthood and the National Rifle Association.
Fifty-two percent of adults have a positive view of Planned Parenthood, compared to the 27 percent who have a negative view of the group.
By comparison, 40 percent view the NRA positively, while 41 percent view it negatively.
The NBC/WSJ poll was conducted Aug. 10-14 of 1,000 adults – more than half reached by cell phone – and it has an overall margin of error of plus-minus 3.1 percentage points.