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Poll: U.S. optimism declines as new Covid cases spike

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.
People walk through Times Square on July 22, 2021, as the Delta Covid surge is renewing calls for mask mandates in New York.Timothy A. Clary / AFP - Getty Images

WASHINGTON — As confirmed Covid-19 cases are on the rise in the U.S. — from an average of about 10,000 new cases per day last month to an average of 50,000 cases today — Americans are becoming more pessimistic.

That’s according to a recent online ABC News/Ipsos poll — conducted July 23-24 — which finds 55 percent of Americans saying they’re pessimistic about the year ahead, versus 45 percent who say they’re optimistic.

That’s a sharp reversal from May, when 64 percent said they were optimistic about the next year, while 36 percent said they were pessimistic.

Now this is just one poll. Vaccinations are ticking back up. And the survey finds six-in-10 Americans who approve of President Biden’s job handling the coronavirus (compared with just 37 percent who approve of his job handling of immigration and the border).

But this pessimism story is definitely something to continue to watch in the months ahead.

The day before Biden’s inauguration, we wrote that the country’s progress with vaccinations has a direct correlation to attitudes about the economy and the nation’s direction.

“If [Biden] gets [vaccination rates] right, he will oversee a less pessimistic American public; he’ll get a stronger economy; and he’ll do something that his predecessor was unable to execute in his final days.”

But the number of unvaccinated Americans right now remains too high, especially in red states and counties across the country.

Pelosi taps GOPer Kinzinger to serve on Jan. 6 committee

“House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has added Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger, an outspoken Trump critic, to the House select committee charged with investigating the Jan. 6 attack, she said in a statement on Sunday,” per NBC News.

“‘I swore an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution — and while this is not the position I expected to be in or sought out, when duty calls, I will always answer,’ Kinzinger said in a statement announcing he accepted the appointment.”

The committee’s first hearing takes place tomorrow, on July 27.

Tweet of the day

Data Download: The numbers you need to know today

28 percent: The increase in the week-over-week average of the seven-day average of people in America newly vaccinated for Covid-19, per the White House.

0.67 seconds: By how much Australian swimmer Ariarne Titmus beat American Katie Ledecky in a thrilling finish at the women’s 400m freestyle final at the Olympics yesterday.

34,569,754: The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States, per the most recent data from NBC News and health officials. (That’s 118,310 more since Friday morning.)

613,596: The number of deaths in the United States from the virus so far, per the most recent data from NBC News. (That’s 577 more since Friday morning.)

341,818,968: The number of vaccine doses administered in the U.S., per the CDC. (That’s 2,055,203 since yesterday.)

49.1 percent: The share of all Americans who are fully vaccinated, per the CDC.

60 percent: The share of all American adults at least 18 years of age who are fully vaccinated, per CDC.

Dems play their Trump card in Virginia

Campaigning in Virginia for Democrat Terry McAuliffe on Friday night, President Biden tied GOP gubernatorial nominee Glenn Youngkin to Donald Trump.

“Terry and I share a lot in common: I ran against Donald Trump, and so is Terry. And, I whipped Donald Trump in Virginia, and so will Terry.

Biden continued, “I tell you what — the guy Terry’s running against is an acolyte of Donald Trump, for real.”

Meanwhile, as we mentioned last week, McAuliffe is up with his first TV ad of the general election — which has been airing quite a bit during Olympics coverage in the DC area — that continues the Trump-Youngkin messaging.

“[L]et me be clear, Glenn Youngkin is not a reasonable Republican. He is a loyalist to Donald Trump,” McAuliffe says in the ad, which plays audio of Youngkin saying: “President Trump represents so much of why I’m running.”

ICYMI: What else is happening in the world

Civil rights activist Robert Moses passed away Sunday morning at 86years old.

Trade groups are wrestling with supporting GOP lawmakers who embrace Trump's election lie.

Abortion access in America could vary even more dramatically state-by-state if the Supreme Court agrees to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Pharmaceutical companies are starting human trials for Covid-19 pills.

After saying he wouldn’t run for re-election in 2024, Sen Joe Manchin, D-W.V., is cracking the door open to another term.

The United Nations says that there’s been record-high civilian casualties in Afghanistan as America withdraws its forces from the country.

Democrats are worried that new GOP-led voting restrictions could lead to a dip in turnout in 2022.

Now that the GOP has pulled its Jan. 6 commission picks, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wy., is playing a larger role.