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1. Six new Emerson College Polling statewide surveys find President Joe Biden trailing former President Donald Trump in Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Nevada, and Wisconsin, and leading Trump in Michigan. Each state included a sample of n=1,000 voters, for a total of N=6,000 registered voters in six states, with subsets of likely voters. Among registered voters Trump leads Biden by four points, 45% to 41%, with 14% of voters undecided, and amongst likely voters, Trump leads Biden by three points, 47% to 44%, with 9% of voters undecided. (Source: emersoncollegepolling.com)
2. Swing-state voters see US-Mexico border security as a greater priority than the foreign policy crises that are increasingly dominating President Joe Biden’s attention, a Bloomberg News/Morning Consult poll shows. About three times as many voters said immigration is their top issue in the 2024 presidential contest as those who said the same about the Israel-Hamas war. Some 68% of respondents said they approve of funding for border protection, a larger share than the 61% who back aid to Israel or the 58% who favor aid to Ukraine. The poll results suggest a difficult balancing act for Biden’s reelection campaign, in which his administration’s areas of national-security focus — supporting Israel as it battles Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip, and backing Ukraine in its fight against Russia — are not primary concerns for the voters he needs to win over. (Sources: pro-assets.morningconsult.com, bloomberg.com)
3. President Daniel Ortega has opened Nicaragua to flights carrying tens of thousands of migrants from Haiti, Cuba and Africa in recent months, swelling the ranks of people using the Central American country as a landing point on their journey north to the U.S. Ortega’s authoritarian government has allowed several little-known charter airlines and travel agencies to operate flights from Haiti and other Caribbean airports to Nicaragua, according to Haitian and Nicaraguan civil aviation data. Many of the asylum seekers are from Haiti, the Western Hemisphere’s poorest nation, and have arrived in Managua, Nicaragua’s capital. Migrants from African nations, such as Senegal and Cameroon, and from former Soviet republics are also making multiple airport stopovers in what are coming to be known as “donkey flights” to reach Managua. The new air bridge provides a direct migrant route for Haitians fleeing their country’s political meltdown. In the past, most Haitian migrants attempting to enter the U.S. came from South American countries like Chile and Brazil where they had previously resided. The latest arrivals join more than 400,000 Cubans who have flown to Managua from Havana in the past two years since Nicaragua dropped visa requirements in 2021. (Source: wsj.com)
4. A year away from the 2024 election, Democrats see trends pulling in different directions: an electorate that appears motivated to vote in their favor, particularly on abortion, but is also deeply skeptical of handing another term to the party’s standard-bearer—President Biden. The 80-year-old incumbent faced flashing red warning lights this week in the form of fresh polling showing voters’ concerns about his age and weak numbers in swing-state matchups against former President Donald Trump. But Biden’s team and allies see no need for a course correction, pointing to the power of abortion politics and the value of having Trump as a foil. (Source: wsj.com)
5. After Ohio's vote Tuesday to protect abortion rights, Democrats are rushing to get similar measures on the ballot next year in key states such as Arizona, Nevada and Florida — partly to boost President Biden and down-ballot Democrats. In the face of bleak polling on the economy, abortion continues to be a winning issue for Democrats — one that could motivate otherwise uninspired voters to turn out and keep the White House in the party's hands. Voters now have explicitly endorsed abortion rights via ballot initiatives in seven states since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year — in California, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana, Vermont and now Ohio. The wins are boosting confidence among Democrats that similar ballot measures — and candidates who cast the high court's Dobbs ruling as a government assault on individual rights — can help the party ride the backlash in the 2024 elections. (Source: axios.com)
6. Nearly half of Democrats disapprove of how President Joe Biden is handling the Israel-Hamas conflict, according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research — showing a deep divide within his party over the war. The poll found 50% of Democrats approve of how Biden has navigated the conflict while 46% disapprove — and the two groups diverge substantially in their views of U.S. support for Israel. The war could complicate Biden’s reelection effort as he faces having to balance factions of his party with very different views on the conflict and who is ultimately responsible. (Sources: norc.org, apnews.com)
7. In the third Republican primary debate there was a clear winner: former U.N. ambassador and former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley. A 538/Washington Post/Ipsos poll of potential Republican primary and caucus voters who watched Wednesday’s debate, hosted by NBC News, finds that a plurality, or 34 percent of debate watchers, say Haley performed best. No other candidate on the stage came close to Haley. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was a distant second with 23 percent rating him best. And businessman Vivek Ramaswamy made a relatively negative impression, with 29 percent of debate watchers saying he performed the worst. (Source: washingtonpost.com)
8. At odds with one another on spending, House Republicans abruptly scrapped their legislative work on Thursday and left Washington with little progress toward funding the government and no plan to avert a shutdown next week. Speaker Mike Johnson, just two weeks into the job, had yet to give any public indication about his plan to prevent a lapse in government spending — currently slated to happen next Friday at midnight if Congress fails to act. That effort would involve rallying deeply anti-spending Republicans around a stopgap funding bill that is likely to be a dead letter in the Democratic-controlled Senate. (Source: nytimes.com)
9. Senator Joe Manchin III, the conservative West Virginia Democrat, yesterday announced that he will not seek re-election, dealing a blow to Democrats’ chances of holding the Senate. Instead, Mr. Manchin, who was likely to face a strong Republican challenger to keep his Senate seat in a deeply red state, said he would continue exploring whether there was an appetite in the country for a centrist third-party bid for the presidency. That prospect has alarmed many Democrats who fear such a run could doom President Biden’s chances of holding the White House. (Source: nytimes.com)
10. Jill Stein, who ran unsuccessfully for president on the Green Party ticket in 2012 and 2016, will run again in 2024, she announced on Thursday — adding yet another name to the field even as the two major parties appear almost certain to nominate the same two candidates who ran in 2020. A spokesman for Ms. Stein’s campaign, LeBeau Kpadenou, confirmed that she intended to again seek the Green Party’s nomination. That institutional backing would spare her some of the challenges in gaining ballot access that will be faced by two prominent independent candidates in the race: the progressive activist and professor Cornel West and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who left the Democratic primary last month. (Source: nytimes.com)
11. TikTok is back in the cross hairs of Washington, with Republican lawmakers again calling to ban the popular short-form video app amid accusations that it is amplifying pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel videos through its powerful algorithmic feed. In the past week, Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri, asked the Biden administration to outlaw TikTok for its “ubiquity” of anti-Israel content. Representative Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin said the app was “brainwashing” American youth into sympathizing with Hamas. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida accused Beijing officials of using TikTok, whose parent company is based in China, to spread propaganda to Americans. “A regime that hates America controls TikTok’s algorithm and knows how to use it to divide and demoralize Americans,” Mr. Rubio, who has introduced legislation to ban the app, said in a statement. “What we’re seeing right now is a real-life demonstration of that capability. We should have banned TikTok a long time ago, but this should be a wake-up call.” The criticism against TikTok, which has increased in volume since the Israel-Hamas war began, has put the company on its heels at a precarious time. (Source: nytimes.com)
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