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The results are in: Trump isn't winning his 'law and order' fight

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 turns around after talking with law enforcement officials Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020, as he tours an area damaged during demonstrations after a police officer shot Jacob Blake in Kenosha
President Donald Trump turns around after talking with law enforcement officials Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020, as he tours an area damaged during demonstrations after a police officer shot Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis.Evan Vucci / AP

WASHINGTON — For a week now, Democrats have worried about the aftermath of the Jacob Blake shooting, about President Trump focusing his campaign on “law and order” and about Trump’s own visit to Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Turns out, it should have been Republicans who were worried.

Yesterday brought us a Poll-a-palooza of survey numbers that not only showed Joe Biden ahead of Trump nationally and in the key battleground states, but they also showed Trump appearing to lose the law/order/safety debate.

A Quinnipiac poll found half of likely voters nationwide — 50 percent — saying Trump as president made them feel less safe, versus 35 percent who said he made them feel safer.

By contrast, 42 percent said Biden made them feel safer, versus 40 percent less safe.

A CNN poll found Biden leading — by a 51 percent to 46 percent margin — on who would better keep Americans safe from harm. (It also had him leading on better handling racial inequality by 18 points).

Maybe most revealing of all, Quinnipiac found 58 percent of likely voters saying the country is WORSE off today than it was four years ago.

And as for Wisconsin, not only did a Fox News poll — conducted after the conventions and Kenosha — show Biden ahead in the state by 8 points among likely voters, it also found him leading Trump by 5 points on which candidate would do a better job on policing and crime, 47 percent to 42 percent.

“Law and order” might be a better issue for Trump than the coronavirus.

But it isn’t a winning issue for him.

That said, a focus group of mostly Obama-Trump voters in Oshkosh, Wis., that Axios covered found voices who believe that Biden cares more about the protesters than people like them.

But of those Obama-Trump voters is now supporting Biden, and Trump can’t afford any erosion from 2016 given his narrow win in the state four years ago.

Breaking down all the recent polls

As for all of the high-quality 2020 horserace polls we saw yesterday, here they are all in one place:

  • Grinnell College (national); Biden 49 percent, Trump 41 percent among likely voters.
  • USA Today/Suffolk (national): Biden 50 percent, Trump 43 percent among registered voters.
  • Quinnipiac (national): Biden 52 percent, Trump 42 percent among likely voters.
  • CNN (national): Biden 51 percent, Trump 43 percent among registered voters.
  • Monmouth (Pennsylvania): Biden 49 percent, Trump 46 percent among likely voters; Biden 49 percent, Trump 45 percent among registered voters.
  • Fox News (Arizona): Biden 49 percent, Trump 40 percent among likely voters.
  • Fox News (North Carolina): Biden 50 percent, Trump 46 percent among likely voters.
  • Fox News (Wisconsin): Biden 50 percent, Trump 42 percent among likely voters

And think about it: All of those polls came after the GOP convention.

Tweet of the day

Data Download: The (other) numbers you need to know today

6,133,197: The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States, per the most recent data from NBC News and health officials. (That’s 32,877 more than Wednesday morning.)

186,950: The number of deaths in the United States from the virus so far. (That’s 1,041 more than Wednesday morning.)

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

$3.3 trillion: The projected U.S. budget deficit for the 2020 fiscal year, the largest since 1945 when compared to percentage of GDP.

17 and 6 percentage points: The leads, respectively, for both Arizona Democrat Mark Kelly and North Carolina Democrat Cal Cunningham among likely voters in Fox News’ new Senate polls.

You Only Vote Twice

President Trump suggested Wednesday that people in North Carolina try to vote both by mail and in person to see if “their system’s as good as they say.”

"So let them send it in and let them go vote, and if their system's as good as they say it is, then obviously they won't be able to vote. If it isn't tabulated, they'll be able to vote," Trump said when asked whether he has confidence in the mail-in system in North Carolina, a battleground state.

It is illegal to vote more than once in an election.

2020 Vision: Biden goes to Kenosha; Trump heads to Pennsylvania

Joe and Jill Biden visit Kenosha, Wis., where they hold a community event and make local stops… President Trump holds a rally in Latrobe, Pa… And VP Mike Pence hits North Carolina.

Ad Watch

NBC’s Mariana Sotomayor reports that Biden is releasing a new battleground ad explicitly focused on Social Security, the campaign's first nation-wide general election ad focused on the issue.

The spot focuses on recent analysis of what would happen if Trump’s payroll tax freeze became permanent, with the Biden camp arguing Trump would bleed the program dry.

Trump won the senior vote by a 7-point margin in 2016, exit polls showed. So if Biden is able to make a real dent in that margin, or flip it, he could see a real boost in November.

Click here to read more on the MTP Blog.

DeJoy and Pain

The House Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney announced on Wednesday she is subpoenaing Postmaster General Louis DeJoy for documents he is allegedly withholding from Congress on postal service delays.

DeJoy testified in front of the House committee back in August and said that there were other reasons that weren’t political that could cause mail delays. “There are a lot of reasons for delays besides the action I took to run your trucks on time," he said at the time. "There are other reasons for delays in the nation."

Maloney first announced the possibility of a subpoena on Monday when she wrote in a memo that DeJoy did not produce documents regarding the nature and scope of his changes to the USPS. When Maloney first set a deadline for additional documents, DeJoy responded, "I trust my August 24 testimony before the Committee on Oversight and Reform clarified any outstanding questions you had."

You can read more about this here.

The Lid: Bay (State) Watch

Don’t miss the pod from yesterday, when we broke down the results in Massachusetts’ primaries, as well as the defeat for the Kennedy dynasty.

ICYMI: What else is happening in the world

Facebook is banning new political ads in the final week before elections.

As the world hopes for a coronavirus vaccine, the New York Times breaks down key information about a new CDC vaccine planning document.

President Trump is ordering his government to review whether it can slash federal funding sent to some Democratic cities because of “anarchy.”

Former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is the latest high-profile Republican to back Joe Biden.

Attorney Gen. William Barr told CNN Thursday that “the narrative that the police are in some epidemic of shooting unarmed black men is simply a false narrative.”

Iowa Republican Sen. Ernst suggested COVID-19 deaths may have been inflated before later issuing a clarification.