Fri. Jul 19th, 2024

Is Virginia actually in play for Trump?: From the Politics Desk

By 37ci3 Jun18,2024



Welcome to the online version of From the policy deskevening bulletin that brings you the latest reporting and analysis from the campaign trail, the White House and Capitol Hill from the NBC News Politics team.

In today’s edition, national political reporter Steve Kornacki examines whether Virginia, which has drifted away from the GOP at the presidential level, is competitive this fall. Plus, campaign anchor Katherine Koretsky and national political reporter Ben Kamisar revealed why Robert F. Kennedy Jr. won’t be on the debate stage next week.

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Is Virginia actually playing for Trump?

By Steve Kornacki

There is several storylines of national importance in today’s Virginia primary. But when it came to the presidential race this fall, the consensus view was that the Old Dominion would be unsettled.

The saga of Virginia’s transition from red-hot to safe-blue state is a familiar one, anchored by the suburbs of Washington and Richmond and accelerated by the emergence of Donald Trump. It looks like this:

And yet, two recent polls show Trump once again leading the GOP ticket Fox News and Roanoke College He found him in a one-on-one meeting with President Joe Biden in Virginia. When several third-party candidates were included, Biden led by 1 point in the Fox poll and 2 points in the Roanoke poll.


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This is obviously a limited sample of the poll, and while the Trump campaign has made noise about trying to launch the state, it has yet to show that it will support the conversation with a full push.

Still, if these early numbers, which show a tight race, hold up, the results of the Electoral College would be significant.

Right now, Trump’s clearest path to 270 electoral votes is to pull back from Georgia and Arizona and take back Nevada — all states with diverse populations where Trump’s gains among non-white voters give him a boost. Even if he takes those three, he will likely have to win back one of the three Big Ten states that Biden flipped in 2020 — Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, which have higher concentrations of white voters. But if Trump wins Virginia, he could retake the White House without any of those northern states.

Of course, this is huge. Current surveys paint a fairly clear picture of why the state can compete. Biden’s job approval is at 43% in the Fox poll and 35% in the Roanoke poll. Asked how they now view Trump’s four years in the Roanoke poll, 44% rated them “mostly good,” compared to just 25% who said the same for Biden’s tenure.

Trump’s gains in the national poll with non-white voters are also evident here. According to a Fox poll, he rose from 10% to 25% of black voters 2020 Virginia exit poll stuck to him. The state also has significant populations of Latinos and Asian Americans.

But come fall, the landscape in Virginia may look different. Trump himself is very unpopular (55% unfavorable rating in Fox poll).

And the state’s white senior population has a higher concentration of college degrees than the national average. Not only has this demographic become increasingly Democratic of late, it has turned out vehemently against Trump, turning out disproportionately high in the polls, taking every opportunity to express its displeasure with the former president.

It’s a trend that could help Biden beat poll numbers in a state like Virginia.


Why RFK Jr. likely won’t join Biden and Trump in next week’s debate round?

By Katherine Koretsky and Ben Kamisar

As Biden and Trump prepare for their first one-on-one meeting in nearly four years next week, there’s one wild card they probably haven’t considered: a third candidate on stage.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. will not be able to attend the CNN debate when the deadline passes this week. He has yet to reach the 15% threshold in at least four confirmed national polls, and has so far only reached that mark in three.

But more critically, Kennedy is almost certain to fall short of the network’s ballot entry criteria, as qualifying in enough states to win 270 electoral votes is a difficult task for a non-major party candidate at this early point in the election calendar. What’s more, Kennedy’s campaign did not file ballot-access applications as quickly as needed to secure ballots before the June 20 deadline — though it is clearly taking steps to accommodate the next debate in the fall.

That means Kennedy will be watching the Biden-Trump debate from the sidelines next Thursday, depriving her of earned media independence and a chance to boost her long-term campaign. Instead, Kennedy seems willing to use his inaction to claim the election was rigged against political outsiders. His campaign booked $100,000 in national television advertising on the day of the debate.

Kennedy faces an uphill battle to get on the ballot in all 50 states ahead of November, but at a campaign event this weekend in Albuquerque, New Mexico, he said he will be on “the ballot across the country in four weeks. ”

An independent candidate has already qualified for the ballot in nine states representing 139 electoral votes, according to an NBC News analysis and interviews with state officials. His campaign says he has also collected enough signatures to exceed the requirement set by CNN’s criteria, but in many cases the signatures have not been formally submitted for verification, a process that can take weeks (if not longer).

In some states, the windows for submitting these signatures are not yet open. So the window for debate closes on Kennedy, pending any last-minute legal action by state bureaucrats.

More →



🗞️ The best stories of the day

  • 🗳️ Voters vote: It’s primary day in Virginia and Oklahoma (and primary flow day in Georgia). Here it is what to watch As the polls close, you can follow NBC News’ coverage all night long on our channel live blog.
  • 🛡️ Immigration initiative: The Biden administration is taking executive action to protect the undocumented spouses of American citizens, a move that would protect nearly 500,000 immigrants from deportation. More →
  • 🔎 Ethics research: The House Ethics Committee continues its investigation into allegations of drug abuse and sexual misconduct by GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida. Gaetz denied the allegations and called the investigation “serious.” More →
  • 💰Tax officer: Trump’s tax cuts in 2017, which expire in 2025, are becoming the bright spot of the campaign. Biden wants to end them For those earning more than $400,000 , and Trump promises even deeper cuts. Meanwhile, Trump’s plan to end taxes on tips a mixed reaction from Republicans.
  • 💻 Viral videos: Deceptive videos about Biden are circulating as Republicans try to take some Biden clips out of context to answer voters’ questions about the president’s age. More →
  • 🗣️ More controversial comments: The Washington Post investigates North Carolina GOP gubernatorial candidate and Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson’s comments downplaying high-profile assault and domestic violence allegations. More →
  • 🤐 Mother’s word: A New York appeals court declined to hear Trump’s appeal of a gag order that remained in place in the hush-hush case he was convicted of last month. More →
  • 🇺🇲 Different focus: Former swimming greats Michael Phelps and Allison Schmitt will testify before Congress about the need for stronger anti-doping measures at the upcoming Paris Olympics. More →

For now, that’s it from The Politics Desk. If you have feedback – like it or not – send us an email politicsnewsletter@nbcuni.com

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