The TAKE with Rick Klein
In a time when major events happen pretty much all the time, sometimes the headline comes out of what doesn’t change.
The latest ABC News/Ipsos poll shows President Joe Biden is stuck in a rut carved by perceptions of the economy. His approval ratings on a range of issues – handling inflation and taxes and even climate change and gun violence – are all underwater and virtually unchanged since June or, in the case of inflation ( 29% approval), since the beginning of the year.
And that’s despite falling gas prices, encouraging job numbers and — since Sunday — congressional action on a major health care, tax and environmental package concocted under a promise to tackle inflation.
The latest numbers come at a strange time for Biden. Some Democrats openly question whether he should or will run for re-election in 2024, though consensus on the president’s accomplishments is likely to change with the surprise passage of the Cut Inflation Act.
Maureen Dowd’s latest op-ed in The New York Times claiming Biden would be stronger as a lame duck — ‘he and his team could do what they thought was right rather than what was politically expedient’ — adds to a conversation troublesome intra-party.
On ABC’s “This Week” Sunday, Biden’s close ally Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., brushed off Dowd’s column and predicted that “a whole string of wins” would begin to change the mid-term outlook. But even he didn’t directly say whether he was urging Biden to run again, confirming only that he wanted Biden to focus on the more immediate challenges facing American families.
Democrats have all but resigned themselves to a midterm cycle where Biden is deeply unpopular. But in an election year where every point counts, how stuck he is could mean House and Senate seats.
The RUNDOWN with Averi Harper
With less than 100 days until the general election votes are tallied, former President Donald Trump has continued to hint at a 2024 bid to energize Democratic voters in key elections.
Trump remains a potent force in right-wing circles, as evidenced by the Conservative Political Action Conference opinion poll which showed Trump as the clearly preferred candidate for 2024.
When Trump addressed the crowd at CPAC, he indicated that he “may have to do it again” and told reporters that “now is the time” for an official campaign announcement.
“I think people are going to be very happy,” Trump told Fox News Digital on CPAC.
It comes as the latest ABC News/Ipsos poll shows a narrowing enthusiasm gap between Democratic and Republican voters. When asked how enthusiastic they were about voting in November, the poll found that 75% of Republicans were very or somewhat enthusiastic about voting, compared to 68% of Democrats.
In ABC News/Ipsos polls conducted in April and June this year, Republicans were more likely to say they were very excited about voting than Democrats. That gap narrowed to five points in this August poll.
An ad could prompt voters who oppose Trump to vote midterm in swing states where congressional control is at stake.
The COUNCIL with Alisa Wiersema
Nearly a week after voters cast their ballots in a high-profile primary race list in August, the outlines of intraparty Republican divisions ahead of November are emerging.
In Washington state, Rep. Dan Newhouse — one of 10 House Republicans to vote to impeach former President Donald Trump — qualified for the general election this weekend alongside of Democrat Doug White. The development is likely to put Newhouse on track to retain his congressional seat, as two of his pro-impeachment colleagues have already lost to Trump-backed challengers this primary season.
But Newhouse may be one of only two Republicans to come out on top — four other GOP lawmakers who backed impeachment chose to step down rather than face voters this year, and the fate of Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler and Liz Cheney is still unknown.
Meanwhile, Arizona has seen a sweep of Trump’s endorsement in statewide races. Former TV news anchor Kari Lake defeated her Republican opponent, Karrin Taylor Robson, although Robson has the support of term-limited Governor Doug Ducey and former Vice President Mike Pence.
Far-right Arizona House lawmaker Mark Finchem also overtook Ducey in the race for secretary of state. The result puts Finchem — who denies the 2020 election result and attended the Jan. 6 rally preceding the Capitol riot — on track to potentially become the state’s top election official.
“We may have won that battle — and I won an epic battle in Arizona. We drove a stake through the heart of the McCain machine,” Lake said to applause during a speech at the Conference. Conservative political action on Saturday.
NUMBER OF THE DAY, powered by FiveThirtyEight
4. That’s the number of GOP primaries and elections we’re watching Tuesday in Minnesota and Wisconsin. And as FiveThirtyEight’s Nathaniel Rakich writes, Minnesota’s special election in the 1st congressional district could be particularly important because its margins will help us better understand whether Democrats — or Republicans — have an advantage heading into the elections. 2022 midterms. So far it’s been mixed, but in recent weeks the race for Congress has edged closer to Democrats in the polls. Wisconsin also has two statewide races, for governor and attorney general, where Republicans hope to make inroads. We’ll be back on Monday with our rundown of the top Democratic races to watch in Connecticut, Minnesota, Vermont and Wisconsin. Be sure to join us on Tuesday as we live blog the results on FiveThirtyEight.
ABC News’ “Start Here” podcast. “Start Here” begins Monday morning with a deep dive into the Inflation Reduction Act. ABC’s MaryAlice Parks explains what key climate and health care legislation contains and how important it is to Democrats. Next, ABC’s Jordana Miller reports from Jerusalem after a deadly weekend of violence in Gaza. And ABC’s Britt Clennett is in Kyiv to discuss concerns about the bombing of a Ukrainian nuclear power plant. http://apple.co/2HPocUL
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY
- President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden will arrive in Kentucky at 10:45 a.m. ET “to visit families affected by the devastation of recent flooding and survey recovery efforts,” the White House said.
- At 12:30 p.m. ET, the president will participate in a briefing on ongoing response efforts to the recent flooding at Marie Roberts Elementary School in Lost Creek, Kentucky.
- The president will deliver remarks at 2 p.m. ET, before he and the first lady return to the White House.
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The Note is a daily feature of ABC News that highlights the top political stories of the day. Please check back Tuesday for the latest information.