Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Drew Angerer/Getty Images and Gary Gershoff/WireImage

It's hard to imagine a better opening for 2020 for President Trump and Mike Bloomberg than the ongoing chaos in the Hawkeye State.

The big picture: Trump's approval rating is at a historic high, Bloomberg is scaling up his campaign, and there's another caucus coming later this month — and they had planned on using that app!

  • Trump's Gallup approval rating hit 49%, his highest rating in that poll since taking office.
  • Bloomberg is doubling his TV ad spending and expanding staff in the field to 2,000 people.
  • Nevada's Democrats say their Feb. 22 caucus will not use the same vote-tallying app that's being blamed for Iowa.
  • “We had already developed a series of backups and redundant reporting systems, and are currently evaluating the best path forward," said a Nevada state party official.

Between the lines: These are the conditions that could help Bloomberg soar past the 15% margin required to pick up delegates in Super Tuesday states, especially if a plentitude of campaigns break the bank over the next month.

What's next: Democrats debate on Friday, and New Hampshire votes Tuesday.

  • Hopefully, we know who won Iowa before then.

Go deeper: What to expect from Trump's State of the Union address

Go deeper

Updated 1 min ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: McConnell urges White House not to strike stimulus deal before election — Republican senators defend Fauci as Trump escalates attacks.
  2. Economy: Why the stimulus delay isn't a crisis (yet).
  3. Health: Studies show drop in COVID death rate — The next wave is gaining steam — The overwhelming aftershocks of the pandemic.
  4. Education: Schools haven't become hotspots — San Francisco public schools likely won't reopen before the end of the year.

The hazy line between politics and influence campaigns

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The recent firestorm over the New York Post’s publication of stories relying on data from a hard drive allegedly belonging to Hunter Biden shows the increasingly hazy line between domestic political “dirty tricks” and a foreign-sponsored disinformation operation.

Why it matters: This haziness could give determined actors cover to conduct influence operations aimed at undermining U.S. democracy through channels that just look like old-fashioned hard-nosed politics.

56 mins ago - World

"I stood up for that": Pope Francis voices support for same-sex civil unions

Pope Francis at St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City. Photo: Vatican Pool - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

Pope Francis voiced his support for same-sex civil unions for the first time as pope in the documentary “Francesco,” which premiered Wednesday at the Rome Film Festival, per the Catholic News Agency.

Why it matters: The pope’s remarks represent a break from the position of the Roman Catholic Church, which has long taught that homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered" and contrary to natural law.