The latest from elections in Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky and results

By Tori B. Powell, Maureen Chowdhury, Mike Hayes, Elise Hammond and Shania Shelton, CNN

Updated 4:03 p.m. ET, November 8, 2023
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1:53 p.m. ET, November 7, 2023

New polling shows Trump leads Biden in 4 key swing states

From CNN's Ariel Edwards-Levy and Paul LeBlanc


Today's elections could serve as a litmus test of what voters care about ahead of the 2024 presidential election, as new polls also shed light on how things are shaping up.

Former President Donald Trump holds an edge over President Joe Biden in a series of hypothetical matchups among registered voters in four key swing states, new polling from The New York Times and Siena College shows.

In Nevada, a state Biden narrowly carried in the 2020 presidential election, Trump boasts 52% support to Biden’s 41%. Trump also tops Biden in Georgia, a state that was central to his ploy to overturn the last presidential election, with 49% to Biden’s 43%.

Trump leads Biden in Arizona, too, with 49% to the president’s 44%. In Michigan, Trump holds a 5-point lead as well: 48% to Biden’s 43%.

Each poll has a margin of sampling error between 4.4 and 4.8 points, and the head-to-head matchup remains theoretical — primary voting does not begin until next year. Trump overwhelmingly remains the Republican front-runner, while Biden, who drew a primary challenge from Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips last month, is heavily favored for the Democratic nomination.

The latest battleground state polling underscores the considerable challenges facing Biden’s reelection bid, including low job approval ratings and questions about his age and ability to steer the country. The poll results are especially striking for Biden given Trump’s mounting legal troubles. The former president faces 91 criminal charges across four indictments. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Biden campaign spokesman Kevin Munoz downplayed the polling in a statement Sunday, telling CNN: “Predictions more than a year out tend to look a little different a year later.”

“Coming off those historic (2022) midterms, President Biden’s campaign is hard at work reaching and mobilizing our diverse, winning coalition of voters one year out on the choice between our winning, popular agenda and MAGA Republicans’ unpopular extremism. We’ll win in 2024 by putting our heads down and doing the work, not by fretting about a poll,” Munoz said.

Read more about the polling.

1:35 p.m. ET, November 7, 2023

Rhode Island is holding a special election. Here are the details on the race

From CNN’s Ethan Cohen, Molly Gahagen and Melissa DePalo

Gabe Amo, center, greets people outside of a cafe in Providence during a campaign stop on Monday.
Gabe Amo, center, greets people outside of a cafe in Providence during a campaign stop on Monday. Steven Senne/AP

Rhode Island will hold a special election for Congressional District 1, which covers the eastern part of the state, including East and North Providence, Pawtucket and Portsmouth.

The House seat is currently vacant after Democratic Rep. David Cicilline resigned on May 31 in order to run the Rhode Island Foundation. Democrat Gabe Amo, a former White House aide, is facing Republican Gerry Leonard, a Marine Corps veteran.

If elected, Amo will be the first Black person to represent Rhode Island in Congress. Him coming to Congress would cut the narrow Republican majority in the House even further to just 221 Republicans to 213 Democrats. Republicans are expected to reclaim the last vacant seat after a special election in Utah on November 21. 

But Democrats are highly favored to maintain control of Congressional District 1, as Cicilline won 64% of the vote in 2022, the same share that President Joe Biden won in 2020. 

1:10 p.m. ET, November 7, 2023

Ohio voters say abortion rights issue motivated them to vote today

From CNN's Kyung Lah & Anna-Maja Rappard in Columbus, Ohio

Lines are snaking outside a Columbus, Ohio, polling location as voting hit the lunch hour. The number of voters coming to the Whetstone Community Center was high, say poll workers, for an off-year election.

The driving force for Aleks Shaulov to come and vote, he says, was Issue 1, enshrining abortion rights into the state constitution.

“We’re living in weird times and sometimes you don’t feel heard,” said Shaulov, noting he voted in favor of Issue 1. “You try to do your part. We’re hoping to change things for the better. This is one way to do it.”

Legalizing recreational marijuana is also a key issue on the Ohio ballot today — but that’s not the driving reason Patricia Galan came to vote.

“It’s really important that everyone gets to make their own choice about their own body,” says Galan, who said she was thrilled to vote and get her voice heard on Issue 1.

Early vote figures from the Ohio Secretary of State showed robust interest in the off-year November vote ahead of Election Day, outpacing the special election in August.

Voters in August rejected a proposed change to the state constitution that would have made it harder to pass future amendments in the state, like the abortion measure being voted on today. With that failure in August, Issue 1 proponents need a simple majority for the measure to pass tonight.

12:54 p.m. ET, November 7, 2023

Why Virginia's elections offer the most important test for both parties going into 2024

Analysis From CNN's Harry Enten

Voters line up to cast their ballots in Ashburn, Virginia, on Tuesday.
Voters line up to cast their ballots in Ashburn, Virginia, on Tuesday. Win McNamee/Getty Images

If you’re like most Americans, you couldn’t care less about elections held the year before a presidential contest.

Only a few states — all with relatively small populations — have statewide contests for elective offices this year. Virginia and New Jersey are holding elections for their state legislatures. 

Ohio voters will decide on two ballot initiatives. And several cities will be electing mayors.

But before you dismiss Tuesday’s elections out of hand, I want to draw your attention to what will be perhaps the last best test for both parties heading into 2024.

Election results for the Virginia Legislature over the past few cycles have been shown to correlate with what happens in the following year’s national elections.

So a good showing for either party Tuesday would bode well for that party next year.

Consider what happened in 2019. Democrats were able to flip both chambers of the Virginia Legislature. The following year Democrat Joe Biden won the presidency.

In 2021, Republicans retook the Virginia House. That was followed by the GOP winning back the US House of Representatives in 2022.

The Virginia Senate wasn’t up in 2021 — state senators face their voters every four years. Still, the party that controls the Virginia Senate going into the presidential election has gone on to win the presidency every year but once since 1999. That one time was in 2011, when the two parties ended up tied in the state Senate, with the Republican lieutenant governor serving as the tie-breaker.

This year, both parties are in position to win control of either one or both legislative bodies in Virginia. Democrats hold the thinnest of majorities in the state Senate, while Republicans narrowly control the state House.

An October Washington Post-Schar poll found Democrats with a 2-point advantage — well within the margin of error — on the generic House ballot in Virginia. (The generic ballot usually asks respondents some form of the following question: “If the elections for the Legislature were held today, would you vote for the Democratic or Republican party?)

That 2-point edge is a far cry from 2019, when Democrats easily won the popular vote for both the Virginia House and Senate.

Still, it’s better than Democrats’ 2021 performance in the state House popular vote. And it makes sense given what we’re seeing in national surveys. The two front-runners for their party nominations — Biden and former President Donald Trump — are close in the 2024 polls.

Read more about how Tuesday's elections are a test for 2024.

12:36 p.m. ET, November 7, 2023

Mississippi gubernatorial candidate Brandon Presley casts ballot in hometown

From CNN's Dianne Gallagher

Mississippi gubernatorial candidate Brandon Presley cast his ballot Tuesday morning in his hometown of Nettleton, where he was once the mayor. 

The Democratic candidate posted a photo of himself, with his wife, holding "I voted" stickers on his social media accounts. 

"Katelyn and I have cast our ballots in Nettleton and are now headed all over the state to bring home a win! Let's all get out and vote!" he posted on X, the site formerly known as Twitter. He also included a post with an election protection phone number, telling voters to call with questions or concerns about voting. 

Presley — a second cousin of Elvis Presley — is scheduled to make roughly half a dozen stops on Tuesday at canvassing events, small businesses and polling places as he makes the roughly three-hour journey from Nettleton to Jackson for his Election Night party. 

6:05 p.m. ET, November 7, 2023

Abortion rights groups have been on a winning streak — but opponents hope Ohio’s Issue 1 offers a reset

From CNN's Arit John

When polls close on Tuesday, Ohio will either become the latest state to enshrine abortion rights into its constitution or enter a period of uncertainty as the state Supreme Court considers allowing a six-week abortion ban to be enforced.

For Joel Spring, a 33-year-old from West Chester, neither option seems ideal.

Spring said he’s “pro-life” but also thinks “we have to have some legal abortion,” with a cutoff somewhere in the first or second trimester. The state’s six-week ban went too far, he said, but so does Issue 1, a ballot initiative that would prevent the state from restricting abortion access before fetal viability, which doctors generally consider to be around 22 to 24 weeks of pregnancy.

“I think there needs to be a balance. Unfortunately, when it comes to the issue of abortion, you’re either one extreme or the other,” Spring, who voted “no” on the abortion amendment, said after casting his ballot early at his local county board of elections. “I don’t really know what the solution is.”

What's at stake: Ohio’s Issue 1 could drastically reshape reproductive rights in a state where Republican leaders have proposed legislation to completely ban abortion post-Roe. But it will also serve as a bellwether for 2024, suggesting what strategies and messages will resonate most with voters during a general election in which Democrats will make abortion a key issue.

After a string of defeats in last year’s midterm elections, anti-abortion groups at the state and national level hope the Buckeye State will offer a new playbook as abortion advocates seek to introduce similar initiatives to undo strict bans in other red states. Abortion opponents argue that groups such as Planned Parenthood and the ACLU, which have been working on the ballot strategy, were more prepared after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year and erased federal abortion protections.

Last year voters in Michigan, Vermont and California voted to add abortion protections to their state constitutions, while Kansas, Kentucky and Montana voters rejected efforts to roll access back. Abortion advocates are working to get initiatives on the 2024 ballot in states including ArizonaColoradoNevadaFloridaSouth Dakota and Nebraska.

In Ohio, abortion rights advocates defeated a ballot initiative in August that would have raised the threshold to amend the constitution from a simple majority to 60%. Now, after urging voters to vote “no” on the August amendment – also called Issue 1 – they are urging people to vote “yes” on the November version, a switch that has caused some confusion with voters.

Keep reading here.

12:24 p.m. ET, November 7, 2023

Kentucky voters say a wide range of issues are motivating them to participate in state's off-year election

From CNN's Eva McKend

At a Louisville precinct, Anne Ellercamp cited equality for all Kentuckians as her driving factor in casting her vote.

“Women deserve to make decisions about their own bodies. That’s why I’m here,” she told CNN.

Asked about Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear's ad featuring Hadley Duvall, a young woman who recounts being a survivor of sexual abuse that admonishes Beshear’s Republican opponent, Attorney General Daniel Cameron, for his hardline position on abortion, Ellercamp said it did in fact stick with her but that should would have likely supported Beshear anyway because she’s “a “Democrat all the way through,” who doesn’t traditionally vote for Republicans.

“I don’t think I’ve ever voted for a Republican in my entire life and I’m not going to start this year.” 

Meanwhile, Jeff Stewart said he’s concerned about border security, schools and what he characterized as a lack of leadership. 

“I wish both parties would come together. I think most people agree on 90% of subjects and 10% divide us,” he said, decrying the division in our politics.

Stewart said he supported Cameron because he “stands for the values I believe in." Stewart described himself as an “open” voter willing to vote for candidates in both parties.

12:18 p.m. ET, November 7, 2023

Philadelphia voters are casting ballots for a new mayor and state Supreme Court justice. Here's what to know

From CNN’s Ethan Cohen, Molly Gahagen and Melissa DePalo

Democratic mayoral candidate Cherelle Parker poses for photos after casting a ballot in Philadelphia on Tuesday.
Democratic mayoral candidate Cherelle Parker poses for photos after casting a ballot in Philadelphia on Tuesday. Ryan Collerd/AP

Democrat Cherelle Parker is heavily favored to win Philadelphia’s mayoral election against army veteran and fellow former council member David Oh, who is the only Republican that ran for the office.

If elected, Parker would become the first woman to serve as mayor of Philadelphia.

She formerly represented northwest Philadelphia in the state legislature and served on the city council. With public safety a major issue in Philadelphia, Parker has campaigned on increasing the size of the city’s police department and she was able to defeat several more progressive candidates in a competitive primary in May.

Incumbent Democratic Mayor Jim Kenney cannot run for reelection due to term limits.

Philadelphia Republican mayoral candidate David Oh meets with voters at a polling place in Philadelphia on Tuesday.
Philadelphia Republican mayoral candidate David Oh meets with voters at a polling place in Philadelphia on Tuesday. Matt Rourke/AP

Voters across Pennsylvania will also vote for a state Supreme Court justice to replace former Chief Justice Max Baer, who died last year.

Democrat Daniel McCaffery and Republican Carolyn Carluccio will face off, but Democrats currently control four of the court’s six occupied seats, so the outcome of the race won’t immediately impact control of the court.

Read more from CNN’s Greg Krieg on Parker’s primary win.

12:13 p.m. ET, November 7, 2023

Trump-endorsed Kentucky governor candidate says he'll accept election results

From CNN's Eva McKend

Republican gubernatorial candidate Daniel Cameron casts his ballot in Louisville on Tuesday.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Daniel Cameron casts his ballot in Louisville on Tuesday. Christian Monterrosa/Sipa/AP

While former President Donald Trump continues to falsely claim the 2020 election was stolen, Trump-backed Kentucky Republican gubernatorial candidate Daniel Cameron said he’ll accept the results of this election.

“I absolutely will accept the results of the election,” Cameron told reporters after voting in Louisville with his wife and son this morning.

Cameron has heavily focused on tying incumbent Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear to President Joe Biden. Biden is widely unpopular in the state. Cameron also told reporters his team has run a “fantastic campaign” that he feels good about.