Trump might end up surviving impeachment but can he survive the 2020 election?

Image: Donald Trump
President Donald Trump walks on the South Lawn upon arrival at the White House on, Nov. 3, 2019. Copyright Manuel Balce Ceneta AP
By Chuck Todd and Mark Murray and Carrie Dann with NBC News Politics
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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.


WASHINGTON — Our latest national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll contains two big findings.

The first: Despite nearly half of the country — 49 percent — supporting President Trump's impeachment and removal from office, his GOP base remains loyal to him, with 90 percent of Republicans opposing his removal.

That party support is crucial given that an impeachment conviction in the Senate requires a two-thirds vote — so support from at least 14 GOP senators.

The second finding in the NBC/WSJ poll: One year before the Nov. 3, 2020 general election, Trump is the underdog, even with a growing economy and an unemployment rate at 3.6 percent.

He trails Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren in hypothetical general-election matchups by nearly 10 points among registered voters. It's Biden 50 percent, Trump 41 percent; and Warren 50 percent, Trump 42 percent.

(A Fox News poll released yesterday showed similar results — Biden up by 12 points, Bernie Sanders up by 8 points and Warren ahead by 5 points.)

Perhaps more importantly, 46 percent of registered voters say they are certain to vote against Trump in 2020, versus 34 percent who are certain to vote for him. Seventeen percent — made up disproportionately of independents, soft Republicans and younger voters — say they might vote either way depending on the nominee.

In the Dec. 2011 NBC/WSJ poll, by comparison, 34 percent said they were certain to vote for Barack Obama, 37 percent said they were certain to vote against him and 27 percent said they might vote either way.

In the end, Obama won 51 percent of the popular vote - so he won over more than half of that up-for-grabs vote.

By contrast, Trump will need to win almost all of that 17 percent up-for-grabs vote to reach 51 percent.

Doable for Trump to win (especially with third-party help and an Electoral College map that benefits him)? Absolutely — see the next section below.

But extremely difficult for him one year out? You betcha.

Remember, the national polls don't necessarily reflect the situation in the battlegrounds

But if you want to see how the Democrats' national polling lead over Trump evaporates in the key battlegrounds, check out the New York Times/Siena poll of six states — Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Florida, Arizona and North Carolina.

Biden leads Trump by a combined average of 2 points among registered voters in these states; Sanders is even with Trump; and Warren trails by 2 points.

Trump won these states by a combined 2 points in 2016, 48 percent to 46 percent.

It's a reminder: The national polls don't reflect the situation in Wisconsin. Or Florida. Or Pennsylvania.

Tomorrow is Election Day 2019: Here's another reminder

Tomorrow brings us gubernatorial elections in Kentucky and Mississippi, as well as state legislative contests in Virginia.

And Louisiana holds its gubernatorial runoff on Saturday, Nov. 16.


Tonight at 7:00 pm ET, President Trump holds a rally for Republican Gov. Matt Bevin in Lexington, Ky.; Bevin is facing off against Democrat Andy Beshear.

And at 1:00 pm ET, in Biloxi. Miss., Vice President Pence rallies with GOP gubernatorial nominee Tate Reeves, who's taking on Democrat Jim Hood.

2020 Vision: Breaking down Friday's big dinner in Iowa

The dispatch from NBC's Maura Barrett and Priscilla Thompson on Friday's Liberty and Justice dinner in Iowa (formerly known as the Jefferson-Jackson dinner):

"Pete Buttigieg, who had the largest crowd filling 12 sections in the arena, pitched himself as the one to usher in a new generation of leadership. 'I did not just come here to end the era of Donald Trump,' the South Bend, Indiana, mayor said. 'I am here to launch the era that must come next.'"

"Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren once again hammered home her message of 'big structural change.' 'Anyone who comes on this stage and tells you they can make change without a fight is not going to win that fight,' she said."


"Beyond a box dedicated to 'Firefighters for Biden,' the crowds for former Vice President Joe Biden were significantly smaller than those for Warren and Buttigieg. Nonetheless, Biden brought renewed energy to the stage, as he bounded down the runway and ditched his scripted address to speak candidly with potential caucus-goers."

On the campaign trail today

Elizabeth Warren holds a town hall in Grinnell, Iowa… Pete Buttigieg also is in the Hawkeye State… John Delaney and Marianne Williamson file for the New Hampshire primary… Tulsi Gabbard also is in the Granite State… Bernie Sanders campaigns in Northern Virginia… So is Andrew Yang… And Amy Klobuchar is in Philly.

Dispatches from NBC's embeds

Julian Castro questioned Pete Buttigieg's ability to break through with minority voters, and Buttigieg responded while in Iowa yesterday, per NBC's Priscilla Thompson. "Our city has had a lot of challenges, but the black voters who know me best returned me to office and supported me more the second time around than the first," Buttigieg said. "And I would be happy to walk him around South Bend and introduce him to folks if he wants to learn more about how we can tackle these really tough issues. We've got major challenges as diverse communities do around policing, around economic inequality, but they're not going to be made better by being used as a political football."

Elizabeth Warren, also in Iowa yesterday, suggested public education should start before the age of 5, the average age of a student entering kindergarten. NBC's Benjamin Pu has her remarks: "Well-to-do parents know that. They put their children in enrichment programs. Right, they got their kids out there, and all those special music things and all those special, you know, get the kids together and let them socialize and learn their colors and little songs or whatever it is. Because they know that gives their kids a better start in life. When I talk about universal childcare, what I'm really talking about is universal early education for every one of our kids."

Talking policy with Benjy

Elizabeth Warren's big Medicare for All plan is outand the campaign mostly got the big headline it wanted, which is that it does not directly raise taxes on the middle class. So where does the policy debate go now?


NBC's Benjy Sarlin breaks it down:

On the center and right, Warren's opponents say the plan actually does raise taxes on the middle class. Warren raises $8.8 trillion through a tax on employers, which Joe Biden's campaign argues is really a big fat tax on workers, because businesses will take it out of their wages. Warren argues it's just a redirection of the $9 trillion businesses are already expected to spend on health care, rather than a tax increase.

The pro-single payer left is taking aim at the same employer tax, but from a different angle. Bernie Sandersargued on Sunday that Warren, by straining to technically avoid new middle class taxes, produced a worse alternative.

"I think that that would probably have a very negative impact on creating those jobs, or providing wages, increased wages and benefits for those workers," Sanders told ABC News on Sunday. "So, I think we have a better way, which is a 7.5 percent payroll tax, which is far more I think progressive, because it'll not impact employers of low wage workers but hit significantly employers of upper income people."

Tweet of the day

Data Download: The number of the day is … 85 percent

85 percent.


That's the share of Democratic primary voters who say they're either very satisfied (31 percent) or fairly satisfied (54 percent) with their choices for Democratic nominee, according to the newest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

Just four percent say they are "not at all satisfied" with the field.

The Lid: All politics isn't local anymore

Don't miss the pod from Friday, when we looked at how nationalized our politics has become - even in gubernatorial and state legislative races.

ICYMI: New clips you shouldn't miss

The impeachment drama hasn't kept pro-Trump allies in Ukraine from keeping up the search for dirt on the Bidens and the 2016 election.

2020 candidates have to compete with one big story every day — whatever's happening in the impeachment probe.


Kellyanne Conway said she doesn't know whether Ukraine aid was in fact held up over requests for an investigation into the Bidens.

White nationalists tried to record a video in front of the Emmett Till memorial.

Trump Agenda: Scorched-earth strategy

The Washington Post looks at Stephanie Grisham's scorched-earth strategy.

The whistleblower is willing to answer written questions from GOP lawmakers, their lawyer says.

Allies of Mick Mulvaney are trying to defy congressional subpoenas and creating a firewall in the impeachment probe.


Trump isn't ruling out a government shutdown before Thanksgiving.

POLITICO lays out all of the legal issues that could be awaiting Trump in court rulings.

2020: Eyes on Kentucky, Louisiana and Mississippi

Here's what you need to know about those upcoming governors' races.

Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are both making careful attempts to create some daylight between them.

Andrew Yang talked about his "realism" about the U.S. economy on Sunday's "Meet the Press."


Another day, another story about Wall Street's concern about Elizabeth Warren.

New Hampshire's Bill Gardner is back in the spotlight after nearly losing his job.

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