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Midterm sirens for Dems: Trump approval and gun voters

Nancy Pelosi and Paul Ryan are guiding their parties into a competitive midterm election. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Democrats' advantage over Republicans has slipped from a +12 to a +4 advantage in just three months, per a new Washington Post/ABC News poll.

The big picture: Several factors have led to this shift. President Trump's approval rating has increased slightly to 40% since January; enthusiasm is now at equal numbers among Republican and Democratic voters (68%); those who think it's "extremely" important for a candidate to share their opinion of Nancy Pelosi favor Republicans by 16%; and voters who consider gun policy the top issue are split nearly equal.

Why this matters: Democrats are increasingly feeling more certain that they'll take control of the House come November, but this poll shows the important factors that could shift the results between now and then.

By the numbers:

  • 58% of adults say they will vote, but only 40% of voters under 30 say the same. Fewer African-American voters (54%) and Hispanics (39%) say they'll vote, compared to white voters (64%).
  • Pelosi might not be the election issue Republicans are banking on. Although 70% of Republican voters view her unfavorably, 60% of voters don't consider a candidate's stance on the House Minority Leader important.
  • Democrats are hoping strong turnout among women voters will help them. 56% of women surveyed are planning to vote and 55% of registered female voters favor Democratic candidates.
  • 75% of voters who want new gun laws support Democrats, while 80% who prioritize protecting gun rights support Republicans. The group that views gun control as the top issue is split, with 47% supporting Democrats and 46% favoring Republicans.

Be smart: There will be countless polls leading up to the 2018 election tracking these small movements among voters. Look for how specific issues (like tax reform and gun control) are shifting things for each party and how the candidates are adjusting their campaigns to reflect that.

Mike Pompeo’s first foreign trip

Mike Pompeo
CIA Director Mike Pompeo testifies on worldwide threats. Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

If he is confirmed as Secretary of State tomorrow, Mike Pompeo will embark on his first foreign trip as secretary to Brussels for the NATO Summit, Axios has learned. Bloomberg first reported the contingency planning for the potential trip.

The details: “The acting secretary John Sullivan is ready to go to the NATO summit in Brussels Thursday,” a senior administration official told Axios. “The secretary-designate Mike Pompeo is prepared to travel to the meeting of foreign ministers to reaffirm our commitment to NATO and coordinate the alliance’s response to Russian aggression.”

Haley Britzky 14 hours ago
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Cohen is pleading the Fifth in Stormy Daniels case

Michael Cohen walking next to photographers.
Michael Cohen. Photo: Yana Paskova/Getty Images

Michael Cohen is excersising his Fifth Amendment rights regarding his role in the payoff of former porn star Stormy Daniels, according to court papers he filed on Wednesday, CNN reports.

What they're saying: Cohen wrote in the filing that "[b]ased upon the advice of counsel, I will assert my 5th amendment rights in connection with all proceedings in this case due to the ongoing criminal investigation by the FBI and U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York." Trump has previously said, "If you're innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?"