Ahead of the first debate with Biden on Tuesday night, our new NBC News/Marist battleground state polls shows Biden with leads in battleground states Michigan and Wisconsin.
- Good Sunday morning. With coronavirus cases surging again and the president's poll numbers stalled, Republicans thought they had finally caught a break with the surprise Supreme Court vacancy serving as the October or-- shall we say, September surprise-- they needed to unite the party. But just as they were teeing up comfortable talking points in the court, preparing to announce judge Amy Coney Barrett, once again, the president changed the subject, not just veering off message, but creating yet another crisis.
The president's comments casting doubt on whether he will commit to a peaceful transfer of power. We're going have to see what happens-- Dominated front pages and rattled folks all across Washington, including across the river at the Pentagon. Republicans were forced to distance themselves, though few condemn the president by name-- rushing out statements calling for an orderly transition of power, noting, it's "a hallmark of our democracy;" "a fundamental principle;" "it's happened forever;" "we're not a banana republic." And this from Senator Ben Sasse-- "the president says crazy stuff." All this taking the focus away from his announcement late yesterday of a Supreme Court pick.
Hearings on her nomination are scheduled to begin two weeks from tomorrow on October 12, with Senate Republican leadership pushing for a vote just before the election. It comes at a time when President Trump has largely failed to close the gap with Joe Biden in the polls. In our new NBC news Marist battleground state polls, Biden leads Trump by 10 points among likely voters in Wisconsin, and he's up eight in Michigan, above 50% in both states, most importantly. And it also comes as the president desperately grasp for something, anything, to shake up this race ahead of the first debate with Biden on Tuesday night.