What’s bad for abortion rights-supporting Democrats legally could be beneficial to them politically. At least that’s the thinking among Democratic strategists after the Supreme Court ruled today that closely-held corporations can’t be forced to provide contraception to their employees. A key part of the Democrats’ Senate strategy is to find ways to mobilize single women, one of their most reliably supportive constituencies, to the polls.
— A new national survey, conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, helps explain the Democratic game plan. Only 54 percent of unmarried women who are likely to vote said they plan to support the Democratic candidate in the midterm. That’s lower than in the GOP wave of 2010 (60 percent), and significantly down from the last election (67 percent). Fewer than three-quarters of those who voted in 2012 are “almost certain” to do so again — a much lower proportion compared to GOP base voters.
— Pollster Stan Greenberg found that populist messaging targeted to the middle class, focused on equal pay for women, affordable college and child care, and raising the minimum wage, has the most potential to engage these voters. After testing those female-centric arguments, Democrats gained seven points on the generic ballot.
— Two Senate races where the strategy will be on display: Colorado and North Carolina. Sen. Mark Udall has aggressively attacked Rep. Cory Gardner‘s past position on the state’s “personhood” amendment, raising the specter of restricted abortion rights if Republicans win. In 2010, the state’s Senate race featured one of the largest gender gaps in the country, with self-inflicted wounds from GOP nominee Ken Buck on gay rights and abortion. Gardner praised the ruling, but quickly pivoted to his support for oral contraceptives to be available over-the-counter. Outside groups are hitting Republican Thom Tillis over education cuts, an issue that resonates with women in the state. A new Civitas poll showed Hagan with a whopping 25-point lead among women under 45, reversing a six-point deficit she held the previous month.
Meanwhile, over the weekend, Sen. Elizabeth Warren tested the economic end of the argument campaigning for Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes. Republicans were surprised to see such a polarizing liberal figure campaigning in a conservative state, but her core economic issues (on paper) poll well, according to Greenberg’s findings. Democrats need to exploit a gender gap to have a shot defeating Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, but they may end up rallying more of the GOP base instead. —Josh Kraushaar
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The Commission on Presidential Debates put out a statement today that gives credence to Donald Trump's claims that he had a bad microphone on Monday night. "Regarding the first debate, there were issues regarding Donald Trump's audio that affected the sound level in the debate hall," read the statement in its entirety.
"A video of Donald Trump testifying under oath about his provocative rhetoric about Mexicans and other Latinos is set to go public" as soon as today. "Trump gave the testimony in June at a law office in Washington in connection with one of two lawsuits he filed last year after prominent chefs reacted to the controversy over his remarks by pulling out of plans to open restaurants at his new D.C. hotel. D.C. Superior Court Judge Brian Holeman said in an order issued Thursday evening that fears the testimony might show up in campaign commercials were no basis to keep the public from seeing the video."
No matter that his recall of foreign leaders leaves something to be desired, Gary Johnson is the choice of the Chicago Tribune's editorial board. The editors argue that Donald Trump couldn't do the job of president, while hitting Hillary Clinton for "her intent to greatly increase federal spending and taxation, and serious questions about honesty and trust." Which leaves them with Johnson. "Every American who casts a vote for him is standing for principles," they write, "and can be proud of that vote. Yes, proud of a candidate in 2016."
"By all means vote, just not for Donald Trump." That's the message from USA Today editors, who are making the first recommendation on a presidential race in the paper's 34-year history. It's not exactly an endorsement; they make clear that the editorial board "does not have a consensus for a Clinton endorsement." But they state flatly that Donald Trump is, by "unanimous consensus of the editorial board, unfit for the presidency."