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Here's how Trump is underperforming from 2016

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: President Donald Trump waits to address the 2019 graduation ceremony at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Spring
President Donald Trump waits to address the 2019 graduation ceremony at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.Brendan Smialowski / AFP - Getty Images file

WASHINGTON — Our NBC/WSJ poll released Sunday showed just 40 percent of registered voters saying they would definitely or probably back Trump in 2020, versus 52 percent definitely/probably supporting the Democratic candidate.

So not surprisingly, Trump is underperforming in our poll among almost all subgroups from the exit poll in 2016, when he took 46 percent of the popular vote.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • Men: Trump +8 points in the NBC/WSJ poll (was +11 in the 2016 exit poll)
  • Women: -32 points (was -13)
  • Whites: +5 (was +20)
  • African Americans: -84 (was -81)
  • Latinos: -36 (was -38)
  • Independents: -19 (was +4)
  • Whites with college degrees: -19 (was +3)
  • Whites without college degrees: +18 (was +37)

Of course, Trump won’t be facing a generic Democrat next year. Plus, this is among all registered voters, not likely voters. And time could be on his side.

Still, this breakdown shows how vulnerable Trump is right now.

Trump administration looking to stimulate the economy?

Speaking of Trump’s vulnerability, the New York Times reports that the administration is looking for ways to stimulate the economy.

“Officials inside the administration have drafted a white paper exploring a payroll tax reduction, which would seek to boost the economy by immediately injecting more money into workers’ paychecks,” the Times writes.

More: “A White House official said more tax cuts were on the table, ‘but cutting payroll taxes is not something that is under consideration at this time.’ Another senior administration official cautioned that a payroll tax cut was not under serious consideration. And a third official said that discussions of what tools could be deployed to offset a recession, based on examining what had been done in previous slowdowns, were hypothetical and not being explored with urgency.”

“Still, the fact that the White House is even discussing ways to stimulate [the] economy ... underscores a growing concern in the administration about slowing economic growth.”

And it comes after Trump economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on “Meet the Press” this past weekend: “Well, I'll tell you what. I sure don't see a recession. We had some blockbuster retail sales, consumer numbers towards the back end of last week. Really blockbuster numbers.”

CNN poll: Biden’s up, Harris is down, and Castro qualifies for debate

The national Dem horserace numbers, per a CNN poll released this morning:

  • Biden: 29 percent (up 7 points from late June after the first Dem debates)
  • Sanders: 15 percent (up 1)
  • Warren: 14 percent (down 1)
  • Buttigieg: 5 percent (up 1)
  • Harris: 5 percent (down 12 points!!!)
  • O’Rourke: 3 percent (unchanged)
  • Booker: 2 percent (down 1)
  • Castro: 2 percent (up 1)
  • Gabbard: 2 percent (up 1)

No other candidate gets more than 1 percent in the poll.

By the way, this Castro’s fourth qualifying poll of at least 2 percent, which makes him the 10th Democratic candidate to qualify for September’s debate(s).

2020 Vision: Biden goes up with his first TV ad

This morning, the Biden campaign released its first TV ad — a 60-second spot airing in Iowa that plays up Biden’s electability argument and ties him to former President Barack Obama.

“We have to beat Donald Trump. And all the polls agree Joe Biden is the strongest Democrat to do the job. No one is more qualified,” the ad’s narrator says, per NBC’s Marianna Sotomayor.

“For eight years, President Obama and Vice President Biden were an administration America could be proud of, our allies could trust and our kids could look up to… Now, Joe Biden is running for president with a plan for America’s future. To build on Obamacare, not scrap it. To make a record investment in America’s schools, to lead the world on climate, to rebuild our alliances.”

It concludes, “Most of all, he’ll restore the soul of the nation battered by an erratic, vicious, bullying president.”

The ad comes one day after Biden’s wife, Jill, told voters in New Hampshire that her husband is the most electable Democrat, even if they like other candidates: “You know you may like another candidate better but you have to look at who’s going to win.”

On the campaign trail today

Several more Dem candidates (Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Julian Castro and Bill de Blasio) will address the Native American presidential forum in Sioux City, Iowa… Joe Biden also stumps in the Hawkeye State, hitting Prole and Urbandale… And Pete Buttigieg raises money in Chicago.

Dispatches from NBC’s embeds

Bernie Sanders teamed up with Hollywood actress Susan Sarandon at backyard ice cream social on Monday in Iowa, where the Hollywood actress (and longtime) Sanders supporter took a not-so subtle dig at Elizabeth Warren, per NBC's Gary Grumbach. “He is not someone who used to be a Republican, he's not someone who used take money or still takes money from Wall Street -- he is the real deal. And that's why this is it. We don't have time for incremental change, we don't have time for middle ground,” Sarandon said.

Data Download: The number of the day is … 12,000

Twelve thousand.

That’s the estimated number of people who showed up at Elizabeth Warren’s campaign event Monday in Minnesota — her largest crowd to date, per NBC’s Benjamin Pu and Deepa Shivaram.

Tweet of the day

The Lid: No comforter-in-chief

Don’t miss the pod from yesterday, when we looked at how the public’s ratings of Trump’s handling of major national tragedies aren’t exactly a ringing endorsement.

ICYMI: News clips you shouldn’t miss

After all that… it looks like Trump is retreating again on gun background checks.

Medical experts say fears about older candidates’ age are overblown.

Rep. Ben Ray Luján is now on board with an impeachment inquiry.

Don’t miss this wild story on the rise of The Epoch Times from NBC’s Brandy Zadrozny and Ben Collins.

Trump Agenda: The Mooch vs. Trump

Anthony Scaramucci has a new op-ed in the Washington Post: “I was wrong about Trump. Here’s why.”

The White House was surprised by an agreement between California and four automakers to oppose rollbacks of auto emissions requirements, the New York Times reports.

The head of the Bureau of Prisons is out.

2020: Team Bernie’s fight with the media

Alex Seitz-Wald checks in with the Sanders-vs-media wars.

Here’s how Democrats are slowly backing away from a 'Medicare-for-All' push.

White liberals in New Hampshire are grappling with the idea of reparations.

Julian Castro is out with a new animal rights plan.

Tom Steyer is taking a break from the campaign trail — for jury duty.

Democrats are worried about neglecting rural voters.