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Trump now faces the deepest polling hole for an incumbent since George H.W. Bush

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 Trump Holds News Conference With Polish President Andrzej Duda
President Donald Trump pauses while speaking during a joint news conference with Polish President Andrzej Duda in the Rose Garden of the White House on June 24, 2020.Drew Angerer / Getty Images

WASHINGTON — The poll numbers are now undeniable: President Trump is facing the deepest hole for an incumbent seeking re-election since George H.W. Bush in 1992.

And we know how that ’92 race played out for the incumbent.

Just look at the polling data for Trump over the last 24 hours:

  • Wednesday’s national New York Times/Siena poll had Trump down 14 points to Joe Biden, becoming the third gold-standard, live-caller poll this month to show the president trailing by double digits.
  • Battleground polls out today from the New York Times/Siena find Trump down 6 points in Florida, 7 points in Arizona, 9 points in North Carolina, 10 points in Pennsylvania, and 11 points each in Michigan and Wisconsin.
  • Proving that New York Times/Siena isn’t an outlier, the gold-standard poll of Wisconsin, the Marquette Law poll, yesterday showed Trump down 8 points in the Badger State.
  • And just for emphasis, a Quinnipiac poll that was released Wednesday found Trump down in Ohio — albeit by just 1 point, well inside the margin of error.

That’s nine rough polls for Trump within just the last day — all coming in the aftermath of the president moving on from the coronavirus (but the coronavirus not moving on from the country), as well as his handling of the racial protests across the nation.

And guess where Trump travels to today: Wisconsin.

Of course, Trump has been in this kind of polling hole before, especially after the release of the “Access Hollywood” video in October of 2016.

And the memories of ’16 will have plenty of pundits and analysts never closing the door on the president’s chances, as well as plenty of Americans doubting the polls.

But ask yourself: Come September and October, will coronavirus cases no longer be spiking?

Will the unemployment rate no longer be in double digits?

Will Americans be confident to send their children back to school?

And will Trump have adopted a new message and tone, meeting concerned independents and swing voters where they are right now, as Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., urged on Wednesday?

It’s entirely possible this presidential contest narrows in the next four months.

But it’s also entirely possible, as National Journal’s Josh Kraushaar writes, that we have a potential landslide staring right at us.

Tweet of the day

Reality Bites

Speaking of poll numbers, the Democratic pollsters at Navigator released data on Wednesday showing that the American public is paying close attention to — and has mostly accurate information about — the coronavirus trends in their state and across the country.

So with the news that the United States hit its single-day high of coronavirus cases yesterday, we feel pretty confident that most Americans already know that fact.

Is the public so laser-focused on the coronavirus news because there are fewer things distracting us nowadays (like sports, vacation plans, bars and restaurants)?

And as a result, are politicians who want to ignore the coronavirus — or move on from it — getting penalized for it? Because the public hasn’t moved on?

Data Download: The numbers you need to know today

2,395,815: The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States, per the most recent data from NBC News and health officials. (That’s 43,094 more cases than yesterday morning.)

122,661: The number of deaths in the United States from the virus so far. (That’s 830 more than yesterday morning.)

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

45,557: The total number of new cases reported in the U.S. yesterday, a new daily record, per NBC News.

1.5 million: The number of U.S. workers who filed new state unemployment claims last week.

Two weeks: How long the governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut say travelers from states with high coronavirus infection rates must self-quarantine

8 percentage points: Joe Biden’s lead over Trump in Wisconsin, according to a new Marquette Law School poll.

9 percentage points: Biden’s lead across six key states — Michigan, Wisconsin, Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Arizona — per a new NYT/Siena poll.

50 percent: The share of Black Americans who say it’s very or fairly important to them that Biden choose a running mate who is a woman of color, according to a new Washington Post-Ipsos poll.

2020 Vision: Democratic convention will be almost entirely virtual

The Democratic National Committee announced yesterday that Joe Biden will still accept his party’s nomination in Milwaukee, but that the delegates will not travel and will instead conduct their business remotely.

“According to the DNC statement, planners said Milwaukee will ‘anchor’ four events for the week of the convention, which is scheduled for Aug. 17-20. It will include live virtual broadcasts from Milwaukee and other satellite locations across the country, as well as pre-taped presentations,” per NBC News.

And: “The Democratic gathering will be in stark contrast to the Republican National Convention in late August in Jacksonville, Florida, where thousands of people are expected and officials plan to check temperatures, implement social distancing guidelines and provide sanitizing stations.”

Ad watch from Ben Kamisar

While the dust is still settling on Tuesday’s primaries, we’re looking toward next week when John Hickenlooper faces off against Andrew Romanoff for the right to face off against GOP Sen. Cory Gardner in one of the nation’s closest-watched Senate races.

We’ve talked about how Hickenlooper is getting some outside help from a mystery group, but it’s worth taking a look at Romanoff’s TV messaging, too. The Democratic challenger has two spots up right now with pretty different messaging.

The first spot, released last week, takes shots at Hickenlooper for his ethics violation and his recent apology for old comments comparing serving in politics to being on an “ancient slave ship.”

But the other, a brand new spot released Wednesday, tries to capture the zeitgeist around the coronavirus and the push for racial justice reform to argue for “a new generation of leadership” and “fresh, fearless progress.”

With the results in Kentucky still up in the air, Romanoff might represent the last, best shot for progressives looking to get one of their own into a general election, even if his odds are still steep against the former governor.

So in the race’s final week, he’s not mincing any words in his attack on Hickenlooper (who was backed up by a call for unity from Gov. Jared Polis) and in trying to cast himself as the candidate of the future.

Block party

Senate Democrats succeeded Wednesday in blocking a key procedural motion on Wednesday that would have allowed debate to begin on the GOP police reform bill, our Hill team reports. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell changed his vote on the motion to “no” so that he can bring the bill up again soon — however, it’s unclear how the Senate will move forward with both sides now firmly planted in their corners.

Republicans in this go around only were able to squeeze three ‘yes’ votes out of the Democratic conference: Alabama’s Doug Jones, West Virginia’s Joe Manchin and Maine’s Angus King (King is an independent but caucuses with the Democrats).

The Lid: Stand by meh

Don’t miss the pod from yesterday, when looked at how Joe Biden’s lower unfavorable ratings may be one of his biggest assets against Trump.

ICYMI: What else is happening in the world

Three suspects have been indicted on murder charges in the death of Ahmaud Arbery.

Community bail funds are flush with cash after donors gave more than $90 million to help free prisoners, but actually using that money can be a frustrating process.

A judge ruled that Rep. Devin Nunes cannot sue Twitter over statements made on parody accounts about him.

Another senior economist is leaving the White House.

It sure looks like Rep. Eliot Engel is heading for defeat. So who will take over the House Foreign Affairs Committee gavel?