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Biden hasn't received a State of the Union polling bump: From the Politics Desk

Plus, the House primaries to watch Tuesday with big-picture implications.
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Welcome to the online version of From the Politics Desk, an evening newsletter that brings you the NBC News Politics team’s latest reporting and analysis from the campaign trail, the White House and Capitol Hill.

In today’s edition, national political reporters Bridget Bowman and Ben Kamisar break down the key House primaries to watch on Tuesday. Plus, senior politics editor Mark Murray has a data dive on Joe Biden's poll numbers after the State of the Union.


The House primaries that could have major national implications on Tuesday

By Bridget Bowman and Ben Kamisar

Joe Biden and Donald Trump may have secured their parties’ presidential nominations, but there is still plenty of intrigue further down the ballot heading into the next primary day on Tuesday.

The outcome of congressional primaries in California, Illinois and Ohio will have major implications for control of the House — where Republicans are currently holding on by a thread — and for the future of both parties.

Donald Trump and Rep. Mike Bost
Then-President Donald Trump and Rep. Mike Bost, R-Ill., during a rally at Southern Illinois Airport in Murphysboro, Ill., in 2018.Jeff Roberson / AP file

Trump’s endorsement power: The presumptive Republican presidential nominee’s endorsement will not only be put to the test in Ohio’s Senate race, but in two notable House contests.

Trump threw his support last month behind Rep. Mike Bost, who is facing a primary challenge from former state Sen. Darren Bailey in Illinois’ 12th District. Bailey, who had Trump’s endorsement during his unsuccessful run for governor in 2022, is trying to claim the conservative lane in the primary and has rallied with Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz. But Bost is outspending Bailey on the airwaves, where he’s touting the former president’s support. The seat is expected to remain in GOP hands regardless of who wins the primary. 

The former president also issued an 11th-hour endorsement Monday in the contentious Republican primary in Ohio’s 9th District to state Rep. Derek Merrin. The district, which Trump won in 2020, is represented by Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur and will be a top GOP target this fall. Republicans feel better about their chances after J.R. Majewski, a controversial candidate who lost to Kaptur in 2022, dropped out this month. 


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Democrats on defense: Aside from Kaptur’s seat, Tuesday’s primaries will set up general election matchups in two other battleground districts. 

Several Republicans are vying to take on freshman Democratic Rep. Emilia Sykes in Ohio’s 13th District, which Biden won narrowly four years ago. And Republicans will have their eye on flipping Democratic Rep. Eric Sorensen’s seat in Illinois’ 17th District as they seek to maintain a razor-thin majority. 

Shoring up a narrow GOP majority: In the meantime, Republicans will be looking to pad that majority prior to the November election.

In California, there’s a special primary election Tuesday to serve out the remainder of former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s term. Candidates from all parties will appear on the same ballot in the GOP-heavy 20th District. If no one clears 50%, the top two finishers head to a May runoff. But if someone does win a majority, House Republicans will get to add to their ranks in the near term. 

Read more here →


The results are in: No State of the Union polling bump for Biden — yet

Analysis by Mark Murray

Eleven days have now passed since Biden’s State of the Union address, and the first polls conducted since then have been clear: The president’s numbers have barely budged. 

His approval rating remains in the high 30s and low 40s, according to surveys from USA Today/Suffolk and The Economist/YouGov that were conducted after the March 7 speech.  

The national polls continue to show a tight general election matchup against Donald Trump, with the presumptive Republican nominee either ahead by a couple of points (per The Economist/YouGov) or Biden narrowly ahead (per Reuters/Ipsos) — all within the margin of error. 

And Trump leads in the battlegrounds of Arizona, Pennsylvania and Michigan — within the margin of error — according to Fox News and Quinnipiac University polls taken after Biden’s big address. 

What continues to stand out about Biden’s political standing, as well his numbers in a rematch against Trump, is how little they’ve changed since last fall. Even after Trump won Iowa and New Hampshire in January, after both men locked up their party’s presidential nomination, and after Biden’s State of the Union, which received praise from Democrats and commentators. 

None of this is to say that the contours of the 2024 race won’t change between now and November (they always can), or that Biden can’t win with his current numbers (polls have found Biden overperforming among those who “somewhat” disapprove of the job he’s doing). 

But they do underscore just how little has changed in public opinion about Biden and Trump — even after major events like the first primary results and the State of the Union address.



🗞️ Today’s top stories

  • ☎️ Biden warns Netanyahu: Biden spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the phone Monday for the first time in 32 days, warning against Israel's planned military operation in Rafah. Read more →
  • 🏠 The frustration is coming from inside the White House: During a January White House meeting, Biden “began to shout and swear” after hearing his poll numbers had slipped in Michigan and Georgia over his handling of the war between Israel and Hamas. Read more →
  • 💰 No dice: Trump hasn’t yet secured a bond for the $464 million civil fraud judgment against him, which he needs to appeal the ruling. Read more →
  • 🎙️ NBC News speaks with Laken Riley’s father: The father of the Georgia nursing student killed while jogging, allegedly by a man who entered the U.S. illegally in 2022, shared his frustration that her death is “being used politically to get those votes.” Read more →
  • 👋 Guess who’s back? The Washington Post reports that Trump is eyeing Paul Manafort for a campaign gig years after he pardoned Manafort for fraud and tax convictions that were uncovered during the Mueller report. Read more →
  • ♟️Games people play: A nonprofit group held war games aimed at predicting how AI-created “deepfakes” could roil the 2024 presidential election. It didn’t go well. Read more →

That’s all from The Politics Desk for now. If you have feedback — likes or dislikes — email us at politicsnewsletter@nbcuni.com

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