IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

What Planned Parenthood and the NRA have in common

If you want to know why the defund-Planned Parenthood effort went nowhere in the Senate -- look no further than our poll.

Our NBC/WSJ poll: It’s rough for almost the entire 2016 field… Now you know why Hillary is up with new TV ads in August… Jeb’s in rougher shape than the CW suggests… Rubio’s upside… Your most popular figures/institutions in the poll: Planned Parenthood and the NRA… Updated: Who’s in (and who’s out) of that first GOP debate.

Your most popular figures/institutions in the poll: Planned Parenthood and the NRA: As mentioned above, the most popular politicians and institutions in the NBC/WSJ are -- drum roll, please -- Planned Parenthood and the NRA. And here’s the reason why: Independents view Planned Parenthood favorably by 20 points, 45%-25%. And they view the NRA positively by 15 points, 40%-25%. So you want to know why the defund-Planned Parenthood effort went nowhere in the Senate yesterday and why background checks also failed to move through the Senate in 2013 -- look no further than our poll.

A rough poll for almost the entire 2016 field: Here’s our top takeaway from the new NBC/WSJ poll we released last night: Almost everyone is in lousy shape. Hillary Clinton's fav/unfav numbers dropped from 44%-40% (+4) in June to 37%-48% (-11) now -- which gives her a worse popularity rating than President Obama has ever had during his presidency. Jeb Bush’s fav/unfav rating, at 26%-40% (-14) is even worse -- and it’s worse than Mitt Romney ever had at any point in the 2012 race. And Donald Trump, who leads the GOP horserace, is at 26%-56% (-30). Ratings for other Republicans: Chris Christie (-13), Ted Cruz (-12), Rand Paul (-10), Mike Huckabee (-8), Scott Walker (-1), and Marco Rubio (+1).

Even President Obama, who has enjoyed a renaissance in his poll numbers as of late, has seen his overall job-approval rating tick down three points to 45%. So the American public is down on almost every political figure and institution in our NBC/WSJ poll. The exceptions: Bernie Sanders (+5), John Kasich (+5), the NRA (+11), and Planned Parenthood (+15). We’ll have more on those Planned Parenthood and NRA numbers below.

Now you know why Hillary is up with new TV ads in August: As for Clinton, our poll and the crosstabs in it make it clear why she’s going up with TV ads in August: She has some work to do. Yet despite Hillary’s sinking favorability rating, she continues to lead the Democratic horserace by a wide margin. She’s the top choice of 59% of national Democratic primary voters, while 25% pick Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. They’re followed by former Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, who are tied at 3% each. That margin, however, is smaller than her 60-point national advantage over Sanders a month ago, 75%-15%. What’s more, Clinton’s fav/unfav numbers among Democratic primary voters -- 73% positive, 13% negative -- remains strong.

Jeb’s in rougher shape than the CW suggests: The timing of our NBC/WSJ poll (conducted July 26-30) can possibly explain why Clinton’s numbers dropped so much in one month -- it came right after the New York Times and other outlets (including NBC News) originally reported that she was facing the possibility of a criminal inquiry over her use of email while secretary of state. That particular storyline turned out to be incorrect. But the timing doesn’t explain why Jeb’s standing took a hit. In one month, he went from first to third in the GOP horserace; his fav/unfav ticked down from 27%-36% (-9) to 26%-40% (-14); his fav/unfav among GOP primary voters declined, too, from 53%-15% (+38) to 50%-23% (+27); and the drop was even sharper among those very conservative – from 61%-13% (+48) in June to 46%-29% (+17) now. Folks, these aren’t just tough numbers for Jeb; they’re hard-to-get-the-nomination numbers.

Rubio’s upside: Here’s a final point on the 2016 race when it comes to our NBC/WSJ poll: Marco Rubio still has TONS of potential. Despite being in 8th place in our GOP horserace at 5% among GOP primary voters, 62% of these Republicans say they can see themselves supporting Rubio, versus 29% who can’t (+33). That’s a higher margin than any of the other 2016 Republicans on this scale: Walker (+30), Carson (+22), Bush (+17), Cruz (+14), Huckabee (+9), and Fiorina (+2). Where is Donald Trump? He’s at minus-2 on this scale, though that’s better than Christie (-18) and Lindsey Graham (-53).

Updated: Who’s in (and who’s out) of that first GOP debate: So a slew of national polls have come out over the last 48 hours (NBC/WSJ, Monmouth, Fox, Bloomberg, and CBS), and here are the updated polling averages to see who’s in the Top 10 -- the criteria being used to qualify in that first GOP debate Thursday in Cleveland:

  1. Trump: 23.2%
  2. Bush: 12.8%
  3. Walker: 10.6%
  4. Carson: 6.6%
  5. Huckabee: 6.6%
  6. Cruz: 6.2%
  7. Rubio: 5.2%
  8. Paul: 4.8%
  9. Christie: 3.4%
  10. Kasich: 2.8%
  11. Perry: 2.0%
  12. Santorum: 1.4%
  13. Jindal: 1.2%
  14. Fiorina: 1.0%
  15. Graham: 0.4%
  16. Pataki: 0.2%
  17. Gilmore: 0.2%

Note: Fox News has set today at 5:00 pm ET as the deadline for polls to be considered in the average it’s taking for the last five national polls.

OFF THE RACES: Wrapping last night’s GOP forum in NH

Our coverage from NBC's Andrew Rafferty: "Ahead of the first Republican presidential debate, 14 GOP candidates gathered in New Hampshire for a forum that both served as a warmup for the upcoming showdown and a reminder of the clunkiness that comes with such a crowded field of competitors."

How it played in the Union Leader: "All eyes turn to nation's first primary state as Republican candidates take the stage"

The dispatch from NBC’s Kailani Koenig from the post-forum spin room: “John Kasich, Ben Carson, Rick Santorum, and Bobby Jindal stopped by the ‘spin room’ that wasn’t supposed to be a spin room after the New Hampshire Voters Forum at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. Kasich talked about the jabs candidates gave each other while they were sitting down, and said it would have been great if Trump was there. Santorum said Fox should apologize for limiting the number of candidates in the debate and was very heated, saying voters probably couldn’t tell tonight who was polling better than others. Many of them hit Planned Parenthood.”

The big headline from our latest data from the NBC/WSJ poll, from one of us(!): "Hillary Clinton's Popularity Drops Sharply in NBC/WSJ Poll"

From another one of us(!): "Even as Donald Trump leads in the GOP presidential horse race, nearly half of Republicans believe that he is hurting their party's image, according to a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll."

Two more horserace polls out this morning from CBS News and Bloomberg.

Here's a great read from's Jane Timm on IJReview, "the three-year-old news site best described as the conservative version of Upworthy, the viral news factory that repackages progressive-leaning content with click-compelling headlines."

And from the New York Times: "After weeks of preparing for a smash-mouth debate with Donald J. Trump, 14 Republican candidates found themselves instead Trump-less but sandwiched into a constricting format on Monday night, delivering strikingly uneven performances just days before the first big test of the presidential primary contest."

Byron York asks: Could the "kiddie table" debate actually be the better show? "The winner of the kids' table debate won't stay at the kids' table."

BIDEN:'s Alex Seitz-Wald lays out the big questions that remain for Joe Biden.

NBC's Perry Bacon Jr. reports on how many Democrats are hesitant about a Biden run.

CRUZ: Ted Cruz is the latest 2016 candidate to Guest Skimm.

SANTORUM: He's shaken up his staff amid slow fundraising, POLITICO reports: "Campaign manager Terry Allen, Iowa state coordinator Jon Jones and digital strategist Steve Hilliard — Allen’s son-in-law — departed several weeks ago, leaving the winner of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses without a campaign manager and raising questions about whether Santorum can last until Iowa votes on Feb. 1 next year."

WALKER: He's paying 27% interest on more than $10,000 credit card debt, National Journal reports.

CONGRESS: Effort to defund Planned Parenthood is blocked in the Senate

The latest on the Planned Parenthood fight in Congress, from the Washington Post: "Senate Democrats on Monday blocked a Republican-backed effort to end federal funding for Planned Parenthood following the release of undercover videos that raise questions about the practice of harvesting tissue from aborted fetuses for research. The 53-46 procedural vote fell short of the 60 ayes needed to proceed with a bill that would immediately stop funding for the beleaguered women’s health-care provider. But the willingness of GOP leaders to bring the measure to a vote showed the new political importance of a social issue that had been sidelined just a month ago and heralded higher-stakes showdowns to come."

More, from POLITICO: "On one side is presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who’s pushing Republicans to do everything within their power to strip the organization of federal support after Monday’s bill failed to clear a filibuster, 53-46. But a group of veteran Republican legislators is urging a more cautious approach, and reminding GOP colleagues that just two years ago their fight to defund Obamacare via a government funding bill produced a disastrous shutdown without making a dent on the Affordable Care Act."

Planned Parenthood leader Cecile Richards is fighting back against the group's foes, saying "There hasn’t been a moment in our history, when we were pushing forward on reproductive health care rights and access for women, that someone wasn’t after us."

Additional reporting by Carrie Dann and Mark Murray.