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The Lid: What We Know After Barrage of New 2016 Polls

Welcome to The Lid, your afternoon dose of the 2016 ethos… We thought we had heard just about every criticism there is of Donald Trump until a rally in New Hampshire on Monday, when one man shouted something not even Trump’s fiercest critics have said: “This is boring. Tell some jokes.”

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‘16 from 30,000

Polls and polls and polls! With the holidays firmly in the rearview mirror, the nation’s pollsters are in full gear, flashing data aplenty about who’s up and who’s down in Iowa, New Hampshire and nationwide. Our new polls from over the weekend showed very tight races on both sides of the aisle for both of the first two nominating contests (with the exception of the GOP race in New Hampshire, where Trump is dominating thanks to a four-way pileup on establishment side.) Here are our two words of caution on all the polls out there. 1) Consider whether or not you’re dealing with LIKELY voters or the larger GOP electorate. Our NBC/WSJ/Marist polls looked at both sets of data - including our first look to date at a likely voter model -- and we found some interesting differences, particularly for the Cruz v. Trump matchup in Iowa. Cruz is narrowly ahead of Trump in the state under a likely voter model, but Trump has a two point advantage when the universe of potential GOP caucus-goers is considered. Our second word of caution: Hypothetical head-to-head matchups are plenty fun, but keep in mind that one reason that Bernie Sanders is likely performing so much better than Clinton is that he’s been the target of (at least to date) so much less negative advertising and opposition research than the Democratic frontrunner has. Does he have a great talking point in saying that right now, he looks “more electable” than Clinton? Sure. Are those numbers very, very fluid? Absolutely.

POPPING ON NBC POLITICS

  • Donald Trump continued his feud with New Hampshire’s largest newspaper when he visited the state Monday, NBC’s Kai Koenig reports.
  • Mike Huckabee continues to motor across Iowa despite the former caucus winner remaining near the bottom of the polls, NBC’s Vaughn Hillyard writes.
  • Trump is going harder after Ted Cruz, using his big rallies to bring up the debate over Cruz’s eligibility to serve as president.
  • Wage stagnation is tied to Republican-leaning areas of the country and may be contributing to the rise of GOP outrage in the 2016 election, Dante Chinni reports.
  • From First Read this AM: Candidates are under pressure with three weeks to go before Iowa and three margin-of-error races, according to the latest NBC/WSJ/Marist polls.

FOR THE RECORD…

“If you’ve been very observant, you’ll notice that I’ve been a quite a bit more energetic in the last week or two. Have you noticed that?"

  • Ben Carson on the new energy of his campaign since reshuffling staff.

TOMORROW’S SKED

It’s a busy day in Iowa with Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina, Rick Santorum, and Mike Huckabee all in the state.

Ted Cruz is in New Hampshire. Chelsea Clinton is also in the Granite State stumping for her mom.

John Kasich is in Reno, Nevada.

President Barack Obama delivers his final State of the Union address.