If it’s FRIDAY… President Biden and VP Harris attend a political event in DC at 4:00 pm ET with reproductive-rights groups… GOP presidential candidates — from Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis and Chris Christie — speak at Faith & Freedom confab in DC over the next two days, per NBC’s Jillian Frankel and Katherine Koretski… Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz talks about Biden, DeSantis and the culture wars… And tomorrow is the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade.
But FIRST… Politically, there’s been little consensus on the issue of abortion when it comes to the work between elected Democrats and elected Republicans.
Yet when it comes to public opinion, there’s plenty of consensus.
Our new NBC News poll numbers on abortion show that 61% of all registered voters disapprove of the Supreme Court’s decision — delivered one year ago tomorrow — overturning Roe v. Wade.
That includes nearly eight-in-10 female voters ages 18-49, two-thirds of suburban women, 60% of independents and even a third of Republican voters.
In our politically divided times, that’s about as much public-opinion consensus on an issue that you’ll get, especially one as weighty and charged as abortion can be.
It’s also consistent consensus. The Aug. 2022 NBC News poll (released two months after the Dobbs decision) showed 58% disapproving of Roe’s overturn, and the Sept. 2022 NBC News poll (two months before the midterms) had it at 61%.
So public opinion has barely moved here.
In addition, our poll finds that Roe v. Wade’s overturn is an intensity issue. Check out these numbers: 87% of Democratic voters strongly disapprove of Roe’s overturn, versus 52% of Republicans who strongly approve.
That’s a 35-point gap.
And then there’s the matter of geography. The NBC News poll shows 22% of registered voters saying abortion access has become too difficult in their states, 17% saying it’s too easy, and 43% saying their state has struck the right balance.
But look at this: Majorities of voters in West (57%) and Northeast (55%), where abortion is generally more accessible, say their states have struck the right balance, versus 38% in the Midwest and just 29% in the South, where abortion bans have proliferated in the past year.
Headline of the day
Data Download: The number of the day is … 25
That is the number of states where citizens have no way of putting ballot measures or constitutional amendments to a vote, according to an NBC News analysis of data compiled by the University of Southern California Initiative & Referendum Institute.
Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year, the battle over abortion rights has turned to state legislatures and the ballot box.
Voters in New York and Maryland are set to vote on whether to extend new abortion protections next year. And as NBC News’ Inyoung Choi, Dasha Burns and Abigail Brooks report, abortion-rights organizers in Ohio are pushing to collect enough signatures to secure a vote on expanding abortion protections in the state.
But in 25 states, getting abortion on the ballot — or anything else, for that matter — isn’t an option.
Other numbers to know
219: How many House members — all Republicans — voted to send a resolution to impeach Biden to committees, per NBC News’ Scott Wong.
3: How many people are facing criminal charges for their roles in forging signatures on multiple Michigan GOP gubernatorial candidates’ petitions last year, which led to those candidates failing to make the ballot, per NBC News’ Jane C. Timm.
38.9: The median age in the U.S., a record high, according to newly released Census data, per the New York Times.
$500,000: How much money embattled New York GOP Rep. George Santos’ father and aunt guaranteed for his bond last month. Their identities were revealed on Thursday.
More than 30: The number of subpoenas the House Ethics Committee has issued while investigating New York Republican George Santos.
12: How many days between the collapse of a portion of I-95 in Philadelphia and when an interim roadway opened to be used during construction of the main road opened Friday.
Eyes on 2024: Gov. Tim Walz on Biden, DeSantis and the culture war
Minnesota Democratic Gov. Tim Walz has had a pretty good eight months. He won re-election by a comfortable margin; his party secured majorities in both the state House and Senate; and the legislature went on to pass a slew of Democratic priorities like abortion and transgender protections, free school breakfast and lunch and new gun laws.
Sitting down with a small group of reporters Thursday in Washington D.C., Walz spoke openly about his legislative successes and the 2024 election.
On Biden: Walz praised the Biden administration’s legislative agenda as “the catalyst” for many of the accomplishments at the state level, but he admitted the president has struggled selling himself to the American people.
“They’re having a challenging time ... connecting the achievements of the Biden administration — whether it’s the [infrastructure bill] or the IRA [the Democratic spending bill] or the CHIPs Act, connecting it to real lives and real job creation,” Walz said. Calling Biden’s impact “grossly underestimated,” Walz added he doesn’t know why the White House is having that struggle, but Democrats, including the governor, “are going to have to figure out how to make that message better.”
Would he be running for president if Biden wasn’t? “Well, he is. I had a really great chief of staff in my congressional office who always told me: ‘Don’t turn down a job you haven’t been asked [to do.]’ I’m certainly not running for that, but I certainly like taking this message out. … My goal right now is to tout Minnesota’s successes and to support President Biden.”
On DeSantis: Noting how Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has been celebrating how Florida has been pulling in new residents from across the country, Walz argued that a suite of progressive victories could help states like Minnesota make a strong pitch, too.
“Like no time in my lifetime, the choice in states you could pick could not be greater,” he said. “Folks don’t really care about the woke corporation fights, they care about the roads and water treatment plants.”
On the culture war: Walz framed the fights over issues like abortion access and transgender rights as places where Democrats should give no quarter. And he defended Minnesota-based Target Corp. after it received protests and threats for selling LGBTQ-themed merchandise, arguing companies should be just as free to sell pro-LGBT items as they are to sell fly-fishing equipment in a world where not everyone fly-fishes.
“You want me to moderate my hate?” he asked facetiously. “What percentage do I need to be taking away women’s body autonomy to make you happy on this?”
In other campaign news …
Biden’s abortion strategy: Abortion is expected to be a major issue in Biden’s re-election campaign, and his campaign manager Julie Chávez Rodríguez told Politico they will “continue to find ways to make it front and center.” On Friday, Biden won the endorsements of EMILY’s List, NARAL and Planned Parenthood.
Another Florida man? The New York Times reported Thursday that Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla, is considering running for president. But Scott quickly refuted the report, telling NBC News’ Liz Brown-Kaiser, “No, I’m running for Senate.”
Hedging: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declined during a press conference to say if he would support Trump, given Trump’s recent criticism of DeSantis’ response to the Covid pandemic, per Politico. Also on Thursday, DeSantis rolled out endorsements from 15 South Carolina lawmakers.
TikTok on the clock, the campaign will stop: Biden’s re-election campaign will not have an account on TikTok amid national security concerns about the app’s ties to China. But NBC News’ Monica Alba, Mike Memoli and Carol E. Lee report that Biden’s campaign “still plans to have a presence on the popular video-sharing site.”
Trump trials and tribulations: A recent court filing revealed that special counsel Jack Smith has given Trump’s team his first batch of evidence in the case over Trump’s handling of classified documents. And the man who served as the deputy director of Election Day operations for Trump’s 2020 campaign testified in front of a federal grand jury investigating Trump’s role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and his effort to overturn the 2020 election.
Hurd won’t take the pledge: Former Texas GOP Rep. Will Hurd, the latest entrant to the crowded GOP presidential field, told CNN he would not pledge to support the party’s nominee (a condition for making the debate stage) because he won’t support Trump.
Welcome to Miami: SOS America PAC, which is backing Miami Mayor Francis Suarez’s GOP presidential bid, says it’s launching a $1 million national television campaign as the mayor looks to gain enough traction to make the August debate stage.
The Daily RFK: Robert F. Kennedy Jr. told SiriusXM that he believes Russia has been “acting in good faith,” and “we’re the ones who have not been acting in good faith” when it comes to finding peace after Russia invaded Ukraine.
Personal with Peters: Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Gary Peters, D-Mich., sat down with NBC News’ Ali Vitali and Liz Brown-Kaiser to discuss how abortion could affect the 2024 battle for the Senate. And he delved into his own personal experience with abortion.
Calling the feds: Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron asked the FBI to investigate campaign donations made to Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear, whom Cameron is challenging in the fall. The donations were tied to one credit card and Beshear’s campaign has said it will refund donations that were above state limits, per the Associated Press.
ICYMI: What ELSE is happening in the world:
A former IRS employee turned whistleblower claims that there was meddling with Hunter Biden’s tax case.
The Supreme Court sided against the Navajo Nation’s attempts to compel the U.S. government to secure its access to water.
The five men on the Titan submersible that had tried to explore the Titanic’s wreckage are presumed dead after a “catastrophic implosion.”