Welcome to The Lid, your afternoon dose of the 2016 ethos… Pope Francis suggested Thursday that Donald Trump is “not Christian” because of his hard-lined stance on immigration. We will now see if, like nearly every Republican presidential candidate, the pope’s poll numbers fall after knocking the GOP frontrunner. (A CNN/ORC poll last year found nearly three-quarters of U.S. Catholics had a positive of the pontiff.)
Get The Lid straight to your inbox each afternoon -- click here to sign up.
‘16 from 30,000: BREAKING: After a week filled with signs that the Clinton campaign is growing increasingly worried about Saturday’s Democratic caucuses in Nevada, here is more bad news for the once well-positioned frontrunner. Bernie Sanders has cut Hillary Clinton's national polling lead in half after the results of the first two Democratic nominating contests. It’s a drop from the 25-point lead she held in the poll just one month ago. The good news? The former secretary state of still holds a double-digit lead, 53-42.
The other score for Sanders is that our poll also found the Vermont senator outperforms Clinton in hypothetical general-election matchups against Trump and Cruz. Those are numbers we expect Sanders to trumpet the next time he gets hit with the electability questions. Like, say, at an MSNBC town hall happening tonight at 9 P.M. Check our live blog on NBCNews.com for constant updates with all the action.
**PROGRAMMING NOTE** 9PM Tonight -- Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders will participate in a town hall from Las Vegas moderated by NBC’s Chuck Todd and Jose Diaz Balart. Sanders will go first (which was determined by a coin toss), and Clinton will go second.
POPPING ON NBC POLITICS
- Two new polls: Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders does better than former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton against Republican front-runner Donald Trump in a hypothetical general election race, according to a new NBC News and Wall Street Journal poll.
- Sanders has cut Clinton's polling lead in half after the results of the first two Democratic contests, according to the NBC/WSJ poll.
- Responding to questions about Donald Trump, Pope Francis told reporters Thursday that building a wall on the border is “not Christian.”
- The GOP frontrunner did not flinch in responding to the leader of the Catholic church, saying it is “disgraceful” for him to to question Trump’s faith.
- Rubio’s campaign is crying foul over a Ted Cruz funded website featuring photoshopped pictures of the Florida senator, NBC’s Alex Jaffe writes.
- In today’s “Tales from the Trail:” Nikki Haley describes why her boots are made for stompn’.
- And from First Read this AM: Why The Stakes Are So High in Nevada For Clinton and Sanders.
FOR THE RECORD…
“We did just incredible in New Hampshire, we won every category: rich, poor, fat, thin, every one, tall, short, we won every category.”
-- Donald Trump at a rally Thursday.
Bill and Chelsea Clinton participate in a get-out-the-vote event in Las Vegas. Bernie Sanders also campaign in Nevada.
Trump, Kasich, Cruz, Bush, Rubio, and Carson all campaign in South Carolina.