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The gender gap between Trump and Biden has turned into a gender canyon

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.
Image: Joe Biden
Joe Biden leaves the lectern after delivering remarks at the Hotel Du Pont in Wilmington, Del., on March 12, 2020.Drew Angerer / Getty Images file

WASHINGTON — For all the recent 2020 focus on young voters, seniors and African-American turnout, don’t forget about the gender gap.

Because our new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows that this gap is more like a canyon — and it could very well be President Trump’s biggest disadvantage in November.

Overall, our poll shows Democratic presumptive presidential nominee Joe Biden leading Trump by 7 points among registered voters, 49 percent to 42 percent, which is unchanged from April.

But looking inside of these numbers, Biden is ahead of Trump by 21 points (!!!) among women, 56 percent to 35 percent. That’s compared with Hillary Clinton’s 13-point advantage with women, per the 2016 exit poll.

And Trump is up among men by 8 points, 50 percent to 42 percent — it was 11 points in the 2016 exit poll.

What’s more, Biden holds a 25-point lead among women with college degrees, while Trump is ahead by just 5 points among women without college degrees.

Bottom line: If Trump is really losing all female voters by anywhere close to 20 points, it’s going to be hard for him to win the 2020 presidential election, especially if he maintains his ’16 support among men.

As our colleague Dante Chinni reminds us, women make up a larger portion of the electorate (53 percent in ’16) than men do (47 percent).

Masking and unmasking the 2020 electorate

Our NBC News/WSJ poll also shows that whether or not you wear a mask when you’re in public tells us a lot about who you are going to vote for in the 2020 presidential race.

In our poll, 63 percent of all registered voters say they always wear a mask when they’re in public, and Joe Biden leads Trump by 40 points among these voters, 66 percent to 26 percent.

Twenty-one percent of voters say they sometimes wear a mask, and Trump is ahead here by 32 points, 62 percent to 30 percent.

And 15 percent of voters say they never/rarely wear a mask, and Trump leads here by a whopping 76 points, 83 percent to 7 percent.

This isn’t a country that is ready to return to normal

Finally, when it comes to the coronavirus, our poll finds a public that remains skittish about getting things back to normal.

As one of us writes, a combined 66 percent of voters say they are “very” or “somewhat” uncomfortable about attending a large gathering.

Another 66 percent are uncomfortable about flying on an airplane.

Fifty-four percent are uncomfortable about eating out at a restaurant.

And 50 percent of parents are uncomfortable about sending their children to school or daycare starting in August.

That certainly doesn’t sound like an economy that’s ready to roar back into place — despite that positive jobs report from Friday.

And it also doesn’t sound like an electorate that’ eager to attend packed campaign rallies or conventions come August.

That said, there’s a considerable partisan divide inside these numbers: Just about a third of Republicans say they’re uncomfortable about eating at a restaurant and having their child attend school, while less than half of them are uncomfortable about attending a large gathering or flying on an airplane.

Data Download: The numbers you need to know today

1,952,434: The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States, per the most recent data from NBC News and health officials. (That’s 71,916 more than Friday morning.)

111,118: The number of deaths in the United States from the virus so far. (That’s 2,278 more than Friday morning).

20.24 million: The number of coronavirus tests that have been administered in the United States so far, according to researchers at The COVID Tracking Project.

4: The number of former chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who have spoken out against Trump for his desire to use active-duty soldiers to counter protestors.

50,000: The number of volunteers being sought by the GOP to assist as “poll-watchers” in November.

80 percent: The share of voters who say things in America are “out of control,” according to a new NBC/WSJ poll.

60 million: The estimated number of coronavirus infections avoided because of lockdowns in the United States, according to one new research study.

Tweet of the day

2020 Vision: Biden to meet with George Floyd’s family in Houston

Former Vice President Joe Biden will head to Houston on Monday to pay his respects with George Floyd’s family, per NBC’s Marianna Sotomayor.

“Vice President Biden will travel to Houston Monday to express his condolences in-person to the Floyd family. He is also recording a video message for the funeral service,” campaign spokesman TJ Ducklo said in a statement to NBC News.

The Floyd family’s personal lawyer, Benjamin Crump, initially raised eyebrows when he said during a virtual livestream last week that the presumptive Democratic nominee was expected to attend the private funeral in Houston Tuesday, Sotomayor adds.

But instead, Biden is recording a video message for the funeral service.

Ad Watch from Ben Kamisar: Let the good times roll?

Today’s ad watch comes from the Trump campaign, which dropped a new TV spot over the weekend that spikes the football on Friday’s surprising job numbers.

“The Great American Comeback has begun. A record 2.5 million new jobs in May, and we're just getting started,” the spot’s narrator begins.

“Before the pandemic. President Trump made our economy the envy of the world. Now he's doing it again, bringing devastated industries back, working to build factories here instead of China, getting direct cash relief to families.”

Team Trump has long wanted to pivot the message away from the coronavirus and to the economy. So it’s no surprise they’re trumpeting the good news from Friday’s report.

But unemployment is still in the double-digits (and while white unemployment dropped, black unemployment did not); the economy lost eight times the jobs in April than it gained in May; and the CBO predicted the coronavirus would kneecap economic growth over the long term.

So as Democrats spend millions trying to lay the pandemic (and the pandemic economy) at Trump’s feet, the question is: which argument will win out? And will an economic recovery resemble the “V-shape” that Trump has predicted it would mimic, or will a more complicated recovery throw a wrench in the president’s messaging?

Romney attends Black Lives Matter protest

Utah Sen. Mitt Romney and the president have had their share of differences since the 2012 Republican nominee for president called Trump a “fraud” back in March 2016. This weekend, Romney went further to distance himself from the president, and many of his Republican colleagues.

On Sunday, Romney marched with protestors in front of the White House and said, “We need a voice against racism, we need many voices against racism and against brutality. And we need to stand up and say black lives matter.”

It appears that Romney is the first Republican senator to take part in these protests across the country — most of Romney’s Republican Senate colleagues have backed the president’s rhetoric to dismiss the protests and double-down on “law and order”.

Romney’s latest stand comes as other notable military and government leaders say they will not support the president in November. On Sunday, Colin Powell said he would vote for Joe Biden in the general election. And Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski said she is “struggling” with whether she can vote for Trump.

The Lid: Safety Dance

Don’t miss the pod from Friday, when we looked at Trump’s desire to hold a 20,000-person convention speech in August — and whether that could be safe.

ICYMI: What else is happening in the world

Prosecutors are stepping up their efforts to interview Prince Andrew in their Jeffrey Epstein investigation.

Democrats are feeling good about their chances to take the Senate, Sahil Kapur reports.

Colin Powell is endorsing Joe Biden.

John Bolton is publishing a tell-all about his time in the White House.

New York Times editorial page manager James Bennet is out after the controversy over the paper’s decision to publish a controversial op-ed by Sen. Tom Cotton.

Abortion rights backers are feeling anxious about an upcoming court case that they say would close many clinics.

The George Floyd protests are shaking up Biden’s VP search.

Experts are worried about how the coronavirus could make America’s 2020 voting more hackable.

Is this the end of “law and order” Republicans?