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Persuadable voters are breaking for the Democrats, NBC News poll finds

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 salutes Friday before boarding Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland.Nicholas Kamm / AFP - Getty Images

WASHINGTON —  If it’s Monday ... NASA places Artemis I rocket launch was scrubbed for Monday. ... The Biden administration announces it will suspend taking orders for free at-home Covid tests due to a lack of congressional funding, per NBC’s Monica Alba. ... Jan. 6 Committee’s Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., says panel will focus next month on the financing and fundraising behind riot. ... NBC’s Olympia Sonnier and Emily Gold recap Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s trip to Michigan … And Beto O’Rourke is off the campaign trail in Texas Governor after being hospitalized for a bacterial infection. 

But first: Our most recent NBC News poll contained one more set of numbers about how November’s upcoming election doesn’t look like your traditional midterm.  

Persuadable voters are breaking towards the party controlling the White House and Congress, which is unlike what we saw in 2010, 2018 or even earlier this year.

Our poll defines “persuadable voters” — representing about 25% of the sample — as registered voters who are not core Democrats or Republicans, meaning that they’re either hard independents or Democrats/Republicans who aren’t reliable party backers. 

These voters are disproportionately males, ideological moderates, self-identified independents and those living in the exurbs. 

In 2010, our merged polls showed Republicans with a 13-point advantage among these persuadable voters, 38%-25%. 

In 2018, our merged polls found Democrats with an 8-point lead, 39%-31%. 

And in our combined NBC News polls from January, March and May, Republicans were ahead by 6 points among persuadable voters, 39%-33%.

But in our poll this month, Democrats — the party in power — were up by 3 points among these voters, 40%-37%. 

Now this is just one poll. It’s also a group (25% of all registered voters) that has a higher margin of error.

Still, it’s another data point to consider in our future polls heading int November — along with enthusiasm, President Biden’s approval rating and the overall generic ballot.

Tweet of the day

Data Download: The number of the day is … 184

That’s how many unique classified documents investigators found in the 15 boxes of materials returned to the National Archives from former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago earlier this year, according to revelations from a partially redacted version of the affidavit used to justify this month’s search of his Florida home that was released Friday

Those documents included 25 marked “TOP SECRET,” 67 marked “confidential,” and 92 marked “secret,” and some documents included markings that referred to specific types of sensitive information, including “clandestine human sources.” 

These documents were returned in January. But the description of what was recovered earlier this year was part of the government’s assertion in that affidavit that “probable cause exists to believe that evidence, contraband, fruits of crime, or other items illegally possessed” still existed at Mar-a-Lago when it requested authority to conduct the search. 

This weekend, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence told lawmakers it would be conducting the Intelligence Community’s assessment of any potential national security risks from the documents taken from Mar-a-Lago. And a federal judge signaled she’s likely to ask a special master to review some documents in response to Trump’s claim that unrelated documents, like ones protected by attorney-client privilege, were seized unnecessarily. 

Other numbers to know:

$20 million: How much California could spend on out-of-state travel for abortions, per a new budget amendment submitted Friday. 

$286 million: The amount of stolen Covid relief funds that the Secret Service has recovered. 

5: That’s how many presidents Roland Mesnier served as White House executive pastry chef. He died Friday at the age of 78. 

2: The number of people killed by a suspected shooter, who is also dead, at an Oregon grocery store Sunday. ‘

25,000: How many iodine tablets are being distributed to people within a 30 mile radius of a nuclear power plant in Enerhodar, Ukraine out of fears of a future nuclear disaster. 

88: The number of pro-QAnon conspiracy accounts found by researchers on Truth Social, former President Trump’s social media platform. In response, Truth Social said in a statement it “reopened the internet and given the American people their voice back.”

Midterm roundup: Virginia’s Youngkin hits the trail

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin is following up on his gubernatorial win last year by lending a hand to other Republican candidates. Over the weekend, Youngkin traveled to Michigan, where he addressed a rally outside the state’s GOP convention to boost Tudor Dixon’s gubernatorial campaign and the rest of the Republican ticket, NBC News’ Olympia Sonnier and Emily Gold report from the Wolverine State.  

Youngkin has made a few other stops on the campaign trail this year. He also campaigned with Colorado gubernatorial candidate Heidi Ganahl, and he addressed the Nebraska state GOP convention. 

Does this mean he’s eyeing higher office? He’s not saying — at least not yet. 

“We haven’t even begun to think about it — 2024 is a long way off,” Youngkin told Sonnier and Gold. “I will say we are focused, first, on being a great governor of Virginia and second of all, helping candidates like Todor Dixon win.”

Elsewhere on the campaign trail:

Arizona Senate: Arizona Republican Blake Masters retweeted a news story about the increase in “female, Black and gay officials” at the Fed and commented “Finally a compelling explanation for why our economy is doing so well.” 

New Hampshire Senate: The New York Times delves into the GOP primary for Senate in New Hampshire, where primary voters could pick another far-right candidate in retired Brigadier Gen. Don Bolduc. 

Wisconsin Senate: Driving up Black voter turnout is critical to Democratic Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes’ path to victory, NBC News’ Adam Edelman reports from Milwaukee.

Aarizona Governor: A federal judge ruled against GOP gubernatorial hopeful Kari Lake and Secretary of State nominee Mark Finchem, denying their request that Arizona election officials be required to count ballots by hand. 

Florida Governor: Democratic Rep. Charlie Crist chose Karla Hernandez-Mats, president of the Miami-Dade teachers union, as his running mate.

Pennsylvania Governor: GOP state Sen. Doug Mastriano posed in a Confederate uniform a few years before retiring from the Army. 

Texas Governor: Democrat Beto O’Rourke is off the campaign trail after he was hospitalized over the weekend for a bacterial infection. O’Rourke said in a statement, “I am sorry to have had to postpone events because of this, but promise to be back on the road as soon as I am able.”

Iowa-01: Florida Sen. Rick Scott, the head of the Senate GOP’s campaign arm and a potential 2024 contender, is heading to Iowa next month to campaign for Republican Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks.   

Michigan-07: Republican Tom Barrett, who is challenging Democratic Rep. Elissa Slotkin, removed a section of his campaign website that detailed his position to “protect life from conception”, per the Detroit News. Barrett told the paper his position hasn’t changed. 

Virginia-02: Democratic Rep. Elaine Luria is up with a new ad celebrating the passage of legislation to help veterans exposed to toxic burn pits

Ad watch: Country over party

In a new ad, Republican Joe O’Dea’s wife tells viewers, “Joe’s a fighter, always has been. He cares about the country, not a political party.”

She adds, “When Joe O’Dea says he’s American before he’s a Republican, he means it.” 

The line echoes O’Dea’s campaign strategy. He’s running to unseat Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo. And, rather than aligning himself with Trump or other conservative Republicans, O’Dea’s distanced himself from them during the campaign.

Earlier this month, the non-partisan Cook Political Report changed its rating of the race from “Likely Democratic” to “Lean Democratic.” 

ICYMI: What else is happening in the world

Democrats are hammering some Republicans for their comments about Social Security on the campaign trail.