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Amid the Trump chaos, public opinion is remarkably stable

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Democrats have the midterm intensity advantage

What also has been stable in the NBC/WSJ poll is the Democratic intensity ahead of the November midterms. Sixty-six percent of Democrats express a high level of interest in voting (either a “9” or “10” on a 10-point scale), versus 49 percent for Republicans. (That’s a reversal from the merged NBC/WSJ polling data in 2010, when 66 percent of Republicans expressed a high level of interest, compared with 49 percent for Democrats.)

And when it comes to Trump’s approval, 44 percent of Americans say they “strongly disapprove” of the president’s job, versus 22 percent who “strongly approve,” which is essentially unchanged from March.

“That enthusiasm is a very powerful signal of a Democratic edge,” said NBC/WSJ co-pollster Bill McInturff (R), but he cautioned that high-interest voters “are a fraction of all overall voters.” (After all, not every voter is a “9” or “10.”)

McInturff added, “You don’t see knockout numbers here in April. You see problematic numbers [for Republicans].”

Looking inside Trump’s job rating

Here’s Trump’s job approval rating among key groups

Highlights from the Comey interview

Here are some highlights from former FBI Director James Comey’s interview on ABC:

Trump’s “not fit to be president” on “moral grounds”: “A person who sees moral equivalence in Charlottesville, who talks about and treats women like they’re pieces of meat, who lies constantly about matters big and small and insists the American people believe it, that person’s not fit to be president of the United States, on moral grounds.”

On if Trump fires Mueller: “I hope, set off alarm bells that this is his most serious attack yet on the rule of law. And it would be something that our entire country — again, Democrats and Republicans, that is higher than all the normal fights about policy. That is about the values of this country and the rule of law.”

Should Trump be impeached? “I hope not because I think impeaching and removing Donald Trump from office would let the American people off the hook and have something happen indirectly that I believe they’re duty bound to do directly. People in this country need to stand up and go to the voting booth and vote their values.

Did Trump obstruct justice when he allegedly told Comey to let go of Michael Flynn matter? Possibly. I mean, it’s certainly some evidence of obstruction of justice. It would depend and — and I’m just a witness in this case, not the investigator or prosecutor, it would depend upon other things that reflected on his intent.”

Did he assume Clinton was going to win when he released his letter on Oct. 28, 2016? “I don’t remember consciously thinking about that, but it must have been. ‘Cause I was operating in a world where Hillary Clinton was going to beat Donald Trump. And so I’m sure that it– that it was a factor. Like I said, I don’t remember spelling it out, but it had to have been. That– that she’s going to be elected president, and if I hide this from the American people, she’ll be illegitimate the moment she’s elected, the moment this comes out.”

GOP establishment vs. Don Blankenship in West Virginia

“The Republican establishment has launched an emergency intervention in the West Virginia Senate primary aimed at stopping recently imprisoned coal baron Don Blankenship from winning the party’s nomination,” Politico writes. “Late last week, a newly formed super PAC generically dubbed the ‘Mountain Families PAC’ began airing TV ads targeting Blankenship, who spent one year behind bars following a deadly 2010 explosion at his Upper Big Branch Mine. The national party isn’t promoting its role in the group, but its fingerprints are all over it.”

Here’s one of those ads.

Gwen Graham releases web ad focused on gun control

NBC’s Ali Vitali: “A new web ad from Democratic Florida gubernatorial hopeful Gwen Graham is keeping the focus on gun control in the aftermath of February’s tragic Parkland shooting. In the video, provided first to NBC News, Graham calls the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School ‘every parent’s worst nightmare,’ visibly emotional as the mother of three talks about the tragedy that left 17 people dead. ‘My heart breaks as a mom. That’s how this issue resonates with me, not as someone running for office, but as a mom that never wants any parent to face what those parents faced.’”

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Bush family

Finally, there’s this news via NBC: “Former First Lady Barbara Bush will not seek additional medical treatment after a series of recent hospitalizations, a family spokesman said Sunday. In a statement, the spokesman said Bush, 92, would instead focus on “comfort care” after consulting with doctors and family members. It wasn’t immediately clear what Bush, the wife of former President George H.W. Bush and mother of former President George W. Bush, had been hospitalized for.”

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'You're state funded!' Gavin Williamson in angry warning at 'crazy' universities

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GAVIN WILLIAMSON today launched into a passionate rant against snowflake universities refusing to provide a platform to certain political figures.

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Battleground voters not buying Trump’s tough talk on China, new poll shows

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WASHINGTON — With President Donald Trump casting himself as the only candidate strong enough to take on China, voters in key battleground states don’t share his view of Beijing as an urgent threat to the U.S., a new poll finds. Just 1 in 5 call standing up to China a top security issue influencing their votes.

Terrorism — long top of mind in the years after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 — has faded as a predominant concern. It has been usurped by worry about global pandemics, according to a survey by Democratic pollster Geoff Garin of voters in 12 states most likely to determine control of the White House and the Senate.

In March, just 25 percent of likely voters said they prioritized protecting the U.S. from pandemics, but the number has almost doubled, jumping to 45 percent, according to the survey. Only 29 percent in the battleground states listed terrorism as a top concern as they decide their votes in the election, including just 41 percent of Republicans.

“The fact that terrorism’s been replaced in this way, at least for this election, by keeping Americans safe from pandemics is a very significant development,” said Garin, who conducted the poll for National Security Action, an advocacy group that opposes Trump.

Traditionally, national security has taken a back seat to the economy, health care and other closer-to-home issues as top issues driving voters’ decisions.

This year, the usual lines between foreign and domestic policy are blurrier, with a deadly virus spreading without regard to borders and disrupting the global supply chain. Americans’ confidence in the integrity of their democracy, shaken once by Russian meddling in 2016, is again in question, as U.S. spy agencies warn that several countries are actively seeking to interfere this year.

Covid-19 and the election’s integrity are among the topics Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden will be grilled about when they meet in Cleveland for the first presidential debate Tuesday.

In the poll, 6 in 10 voters said Trump has made America less respected globally, while half say his leadership has made the U.S. less safe and increased the likelihood of a war. But Biden fares about the same on those questions, with 49 percent saying he would make America more respected as president and 46 percent saying he would make the U.S. safer.

Still, the findings suggest that Trump’s campaign may face difficultly framing the choice and stakes in the election in the way Trump has presented them. In Trump’s telling, fault for the pandemic lies squarely with a malevolent China, which he says would “own” America and its jobs if Biden were elected.

Trump has insisted that China — not Russia — poses the biggest threat to the election while rebranding the coronavirus as the “China virus” to shift blame. At the same time, the president and his allies have sought to paint Biden as too weak to stand up to China, pointing to his record on trade policies and his son’s business dealings in the country.

“Joe Biden’s agenda is made in China. My agenda is made in the USA,” Trump told a crowd of thousands at his rally this month in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, one of the battleground states included in the poll.

But the survey found that most voters, asked about their preferred approaches to China, favor a middle ground that’s neither confrontational nor acquiescent. Sixty percent agree that the U.S. should “maintain a constructive relationship with China and resolve our differences diplomatically.” That’s compared to 40 percent who said the U.S. should be “aggressive in confronting China on trade and security issues, even at the risk of a more hostile relationship.”

“What people know about Trump and China is the trade war, but they don’t view that as a success,” Garin said in an interview.

Still, voters in battleground states split largely along partisan lines over China, with a majority of Republicans favoring the aggressive approach and a majority of Democrats favoring the “constructive” one.

Voters were about evenly split on some of Trump’s other national security policies, with 50 percent saying Trump’s increased military spending is a fairly or very convincing reason to re-elect him and the same percentage saying that of his trade deals. Asked about his handling of the coronavirus, 59 percent disapproved, including 71 percent of voters who listed Covid-19 as their top issue.

Overall, the poll finds Biden with a 5-point lead over Trump, besting him by 49 percent to 44 percent in the battleground states — similar to the advantage Biden has had in other recent polls in the battleground states.

Consistent with other recent polls, Trump makes up for some of Biden’s 13-point edge among women by carrying 50 percent of men, compared to just 46 percent of men who said they’re voting for Biden.

The online poll of 1,228 likely voters was conducted Sept. 4-11. It included voters in three states that are fiercely contested in the presidential race — Florida, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania — as well as voters in nine states that are battlegrounds for both the White House and the race for control of the Senate: Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire and North Carolina. The margin of error was plus or minus 3 percentage points.

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Labour Party's Andy Burnham proposes 9PM ban on alcohol sales to stop COVID-19 spread

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THE LABOUR PARTY’s Andy Burnham suggested the sale of alcohol could be banned after 9PM to avoid crowds rushing to off-licences and supermarkets once pubs have shut down.

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