Welcome to The Lid, your afternoon dose of the 2016 ethos… The Trump/Cruz "bromance" is officially over. And like so many other high-profile relationships, this one has ended with name-calling, friends choosing sides, and a bitter fight over who gets to keep all the supporters they earned during their time together. The good news - they never bought that puppy.
Get The Lid straight to your inbox each afternoon -- click here to sign up.
'16 from 30,000
Fresh Republican horserace numbers from our new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll are out! Just in time for tonight's sixth GOP debate in Charleston, the poll shows Donald Trump with a commanding lead at 33 percent, followed by Ted Cruz at 20 percent, Marco Rubio at 13 percent and Ben Carson at 12 percent. Here's the jaw-dropper in the data: Trump's acceptability among Republican primary voters continues to increase, up seven points since December and up a whopping 42 points since last spring. Sixty-five percent of Republican primary voters now say that they can see themselves voting for Trump; that number was just 23 percent back in March of last year. While Ted Cruz (71 percent) and Marco Rubio (67 percent) score highest on this question, Trump's ascent really has been remarkable considering the extent to which he's constantly at the center of controversy in the news cycle. Trump's growing lead isn't just about the strength of the coalition we've been talking about since the beginning: non-college, blue collar, less religious whites. This is also about lots of traditional Republican voters who more and more see Trump as an appealing nominee.
POPPING ON NBC POLITICS
- Donald Trump has more than doubled his national lead in the GOP primary race, according to a brand new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.
- Want to know about Hillary Clinton's "crazy" ladies' night and how Rand Paul's debate no-show is working out for him? Catch it only here from the NBC News' embeds "Tales from the Trail."
- He's in! Martin O'Malley will be in included in the NBC News debate on Sunday at 9 p.m., one of us writes.
- Trump may meet his previously stated goal of spending $2 million each week on ads after a new buy on Thursday.
- Jeb Bush wants to be the conservative champion in tonight's GOP debate, NBC's Jordan Frasier reports.
- In what could be a preview of tonight's fireworks, Trump fired back at Cruz's dig about his "New York values," NBC's Ali Vitali writes.
- Bernie Sanders is closing in on Clinton in Iowa, according to the latest Des Moines Register/Bloomberg poll.
- And from First Read this AM: Six themes to watch for in tonight's debate.
FOR THE RECORD…
"We were dancing and it was crazy."
- Hillary Clinton recounting her last ladies' night out in an interview with British host Amanda de Cadenet.
Donald Trump, Bill Clinton and Martin O'Malley campaign in Iowa.
It's a busy day in New Hampshire with Jeb Bush, John Kasich, Carly Fiorina, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio all in the state.
Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz and Ben Carson will remain in South Carolina after tonight's debate to campaign throughout the state on Friday.