OFF TO THE RACES: The Unpopularity Contest
It's an unpopularity contest for the leading presidential candidates, who face majorities within the general electorate who can't imagine backing them.
In the latest NBC/WSJ poll, Donald Trump has hit 40 percent support as the GOP field has narrowed, although Cruz is not far behind.
The New York Times previews today's primary contests.
And from the Washington Post: "Clinton has tailored her message in New York to her tenure as the state's senator for eight years, calling upon voters to remember the work that she did on her behalf. But she has also sought to use Trump and New York's diversity to make a sweeping case that the primary — and the election on a whole — is about a choice between her vision for the future and Trump's divisive rhetoric."
By the way, Ben Carson is still on the ballot in New York.
Sanders and Clinton are warring over the Vermont senator's accusations of campaign finance violations. From the Washington Post: "On the eve of a crucial Democratic presidential primary here, Bernie Sanders accused rival Hillary Clinton on Monday of appearing to violate campaign finance laws with her expansive use of a joint fundraising committee set up last year with the national party. The controversy seemed to further sour relations between the two Democratic hopefuls at a point in the campaign where their patience with one another had already worn extremely thin, as evidenced by their testy debate in Brooklyn this week."
And our latest NBC News | SurveyMonkey poll shows a new high for John Kasich on the GOP side, even as he remains mired in third place.
And the NBC|SurveyMonkey poll shows Clinton support nationally remaining fairly steady.
This is interesting: Mitch McConnell suggested that he's "optimistic" that the GOP nomination will go to a second ballot in Cleveland.
SANDERS: He's looking for support in small towns to shore up support in New York.
TRUMP: POLITICO reports on a shakeup in the Trump campaign, with more authority for Paul Manafort and the resignation of national field director Stuart Jolly.
More from the Washington Post: "Jolly is a longtime friend of Trump's campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, and the two previously worked together at Americans for Prosperity, an advocacy group that gets much of its funding from David and Charles Koch. Jolly said that part of the reason he joined the campaign was to help Lewandowski. While Lewandowski has been known to be tough on his staff, sometimes yelling or speaking harshly, Jolly was considered his friendly, soothing counterpart."
The New York Times notes that some New Yorkers hear shades of Ed Koch in Trump's style.
He referred to "7/11" instead of "9/11" when reading remarks about the 2001 attacks.
GOP operatives worry that they will be blacklisted if they join Trump's campaign, POLITICO notes.
OBAMA AGENDA: Majority wants Senate to vote on filling SCOTUS vacancy this year
From the newest NBC/WSJ poll: "Fifty-two percent of registered voters said that the Senate should vote on the nomination of Merrick Garland, whom Obama tapped for the job last month. Three in ten say that lawmakers should leave the court seat vacant until the next president takes office, and 18 percent have no opinion."
The justices in yesterday's immigration oral arguments were deeply divided. The New York Times: "A 4-4 deadlock seemed a real possibility, one that would leave in place an appeals court ruling that blocks the plan and deny Mr. Obama the chance to revive it while he remains in office. A tie vote would set no Supreme Court precedent and therefore would allow a renewed challenge to the plan once the court is back at full strength."
From NBCNews.com: "As he prepares for a trip to Saudi Arabia, President Obama finds himself firmly wedged in the midst of a debate over legislation that many of the families of victims of the September 11th attacks and some lawmakers say could help clear the way to hold that nation's government responsible in court. A bipartisan group of lawmakers have a bill before Congress that would for the first time let Americans sue foreign countries if they are found to be responsible for terror attacks on U.S. soil — all with an eye toward buttressing the 9/11 families' efforts."