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Just a third of voters say they trust their president and member of Congress: Poll

First Read is your briefing from “Meet the Press” and the NBC Political Unit on the day’s most important political stories and why they matter.
President Joe Biden
President Joe Biden speaks outside of Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia on Sept. 1.Jim Watson / AFP - Getty Images file

WASHINGTON — If it’s Tuesday ... President Biden receives his Covid booster and delivers remarks about the virus. ... Rishi Sunak takes office as Britain’s next prime minister. ... Democrat John Fetterman and Republican Mehmet Oz square off in first and only Pennsylvania Senate debate. ... Gov. Ron DeSantis refuses to say if he’ll serve full term if re-elected at combative Florida gubernatorial debate, per NBC’s Marc Caputo. … And DCCC Chair Sean Patrick Maloney’s race is now a Toss Up.

But First: There’s one more set of numbers from our latest NBC News poll we want to highlight:

  • The American electorate is down on every type of politician. 
  • Just 44% of voters say they always/mostly trust their governor.
  • Only 38% say they trust their mayor. 
  • 36% say they trust their U.S. congressman/congresswoman
  • Just 35% say they trust their president (down significantly from 49% in 2010).
  • And only 32% say they their state legislature. 

If you’re wondering why no one is safe in this current political environment — from Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, to Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt — it’s these numbers. 

Trust in America’s politicians and politician institutions has hit rock bottom. 

Tweet of the day

Data Download: The number of the day is … 47%

That’s the share of registered voters in a new NBC News poll who say they plan to vote in person on Election Day. That would be a sizable jump from 2020, when nearly 31% of voters cast their ballots in person on Election Day, according to a report from the Election Assistance Commission.

The preferred method of voting — and confidence that those votes will be counted — splits along party lines. While 77% of registered voters say they are confident their votes will be counted accurately, two-thirds of Republicans have that confidence, compared to 93% of Democrats and 79% of independents.

Read more on the Meet the Press Blog.

Other numbers to know:

42: How many years it’s been since a sitting House campaign committee chair lost a general election, per the Cook Report’s Dave Wasserman

3: The number of people dead, including a gunman, after a shooting at a St. Louis high school.

30: The number of House Democrats who sent a letter to the White House calling for President Biden to “pair the military and economic support” from the U.S. to Ukraine with “a proactive diplomatic push.” 

13: How many people the Justice Department charged in a Chinese spy case, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Monday.

5: The number of states with ballot measures that would legalize recreational marijuana, per the Associated Press.

Midterm roundup: Two liberal tests

The stakes are high for progressives in two key Senate races that could decide control of the Senate — in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. 

As NBC News’ Alex Seitz-Wald, Jonathan Allen and Natasha Korecki write, Democrats in both states went with more progressive choices in Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes and Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman over more moderate candidates, hopeful that populism and an energized base will help the party flip two key Senate seats. 

But Republicans see their more liberal views, particularly on crime, as fertile ground to repel swing voters from voting blue in November. 

A pair of new CNN polls show how close these races are — both within the error margins. Fetterman leads Republican Mehmet Oz 51% to 45%, while the Wisconsin rate is a dead heat, with Barnes at 49% and Johnson at 50%. The new polls also come as Fetterman and Oz are set to face off in a highly anticipated debate.

Read more about the stakes in these races not just for Senate control, but in the intraparty fight that’s dogged Democrats for years, on NBCNews.com

Elsewhere on the campaign trail:

Georgia Senate: Republican Herschel Walker kicked off a North Georgia tour featuring controversial GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, per the Atlanta Journal Constitution. And the AP reports that Walker’s business may have benefitted “from the unpaid labor of drug offenders.”

Georgia Governor/Senate: Women Speak Out PAC, which is aligned with the anti-abortion rights group Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, is going up with a $1 million television buy criticizing the Dem nominees for Senate and governor on abortion from the right, per a press release.  

Florida Governor: In yet another chilly debate this cycle (say nothing for Democrat Charlie Crist’s signature fan!), Crist and Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis sparred on issues including immigration, abortion and whether DeSantis has eyes for the White House. 

Michigan Governor: Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer leads Republican Tudor Dixon by 6 points among likely voters, 52% to 46%, in a new CNN poll

Pennsylvania Governor: Another new CNN poll of likely voters finds Democrat Josh Shapiro leading Republican Doug Mastriano, 56% to 41%. Crime has been a top issue in the race, and Shapiro told NBC10’s Lauren Mayk that he believes he has made people safer as attorney general and touted his law enforcement endorsements.

Wisconsin Governor: CNN poll of Wisconsin’s governor’s race shows a close race with Democratic Gov. Tony Evers at 50% and Republican Tim Michels at 48% among likely voters. 

Iowa-01: Defending Main Street super PAC is going up with a six-figure radio ad attacking Democrat Christina Bohannan, and boosting Republican Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks. 

New Hampshire-01: Former President Donald Trump has endorsed Republican Karoline Leavitt in her bid against Democratic Rep. Chris Pappas. 

New York-17: The Cook Political Report with Amy Walter now classifies Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney’s race as a “toss up,” as Politico reports that the DCCC is launching a hybrid ad buy there and Axios reports the NRCC is upping their ad spending there too. 

Ad watch: 'An independent voice'

Republican Juan Ciscomani is making an argument about immigration in his latest ad, arguing that his opponent, Democrat Kirsten Engel, is weak on the issue.

“Two candidates for Congress. Juan Ciscomani will fight to secure the border,” a narrator in the ad says before a clip from a forum with Engel plays, where she answers “No,” to the question, “Does Arizona have an immigration crisis?”

“An independent voice, Juan Ciscomani will fight for Southern Arizona. Kirsten Engel is too extreme,” the narrator says later, not referencing either candidates’ party.

The two are locked in a competitive race for an open seat. The nonpartisan Cook Political Report rates the race “Lean Republican.” 

ICYMI: What else is happening in the world 

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas temporarily blocked an effort to compel Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., to testify in an investigation into alleged 2020 election interference in Georgia.

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, who is the Democratic gubernatorial nominee, referred a handful of reports of voter intimidation and harassment to law enforcement. 

The next Congress could see a record number of Black Republicans, per the Washington Post.