Midterm environment looks more like 2010 than 2018 in NBC News poll

WASHINGTON — If it’s Monday ... President Biden unveils his FY2023 budget. ... The White House and Democrats clarify Biden’s “this man cannot remain in power” ad-lib aimed at Putin. ... New NBC News poll shows Biden’s approval rating falling to 40 percent. ... Trump stumps for David Perdue in Georgia Governor. ... Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb., is resigning from Congress after conviction. ... And the slap seen around the world.

But first: At initial glance, the generic-ballot result in our NBC News poll doesn’t seem that bad for Democrats, despite all the other rough numbers in it for Biden and the party.

Republicans hold a 2-point advantage among registered voters, with 46 percent preferring a Republican-controlled Congress, versus 44 percent who want Democrats in charge, which is well within the poll’s margin of error.

But that R+2 result doesn’t tell the whole midterm story.

For starters, the R+2 showing is the GOP’s best score on congressional preference in our poll since 2014.

And you remember what happened in the 2014 midterms.

What’s more, the NBC News poll shows a midterm environment that looks a lot more like 2010 (when the GOP won the House) than 2018 (when Democrats did).

Republicans are ahead among independents by double digits; the GOP has a larger lead with men than Dems do with women; and white voters have gone from R+5 in 2018 to R+17 now.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, our NBC News poll shows Republicans with a whopping 17-point advantage in enthusiasm, with 67 percent of Republicans indicating a high level of interest in the midterms (either a “9” or “10” on a 10-point scale), compared with 50 percent for Democrats.

Going back to 2006, the party with a double-digit edge in enthusiasm in our survey — or close to it — has made substantial midterm gains.

Don’t forget: Enthusiasm ends up mattering more in a midterm environment when turnout is considerably less than in a presidential contest.

Tweet of the day

Data Download: The number of the day is … 36 percent

That’s the percentage of Americans surveyed in the latest NBC News national poll who said they support Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination to the Supreme Court, while 17 percent oppose it. That’s the highest net support rating of any Supreme Court nominee since 2005.

But Jackson is also less well known than other recent Supreme Court nominees. A majority of those surveyed — 56 percent — didn’t recognize her name or weren’t sure how to rate her. Jackson had the lowest name identification rate of all recent Supreme Court nominees since 2005, except for now-Attorney General Merrick Garland, who was nominated to the court in 2016 but was not confirmed (and didn’t even receive a hearing from the Republican-controlled Senate).

Other numbers you need to know today:

20 percent: That’s the new, proposed, minimum tax rate on households worth more than $100 million in the Biden administration’s new budget, which is being released later today.

1 in 8: That’s how prevalent political ads about inflation were between Jan. 1 and March 20, per an analysis of AdImpact data by the Wall Street Journal.

22,000: The number of unionized dock employees out West who could strike if their contract isn’t renewed by the end of June, a possibility that could add new difficulties to the country’s supply-chain issues.

80,143,022: The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States, per the most recent data from NBC News and health officials.

981,853: The number of deaths in the United States from the virus so far.

Midterm roundup: Georgia on Trump’s mind

Former President Donald Trump traveled to Georgia over the weekend to rally his supporters around his preferred candidates, including former Sen. David Perdue, who is challenging GOP Gov. Brian Kemp, and Senate hopeful Herschel Walker.

The gubernatorial race is a key test of Trump’s sway over GOP voters, but Perdue has still trailed Kemp in recent polls, NBC’s Jonathan Allen reports.

For his part, Perdue is embracing Trump’s false claims about the 2020 election, telling the crowd Saturday night that in Georgia “our elections in 2020 were absolutely stolen.”

Elsewhere on the campaign trail:

Nebraska 01: Republican Rep. Jeff Fortenberry is resigning from Congress at the end of the month after being convicted on campaign-finance related charges. The resignation will trigger a special election.

Louisiana Governor: The Advocate is reporting that sources say Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy is considering a run for governor next year.

Alabama Governor: Alabama Republican Gov. Kay Ivey is out with a folksy new spot that rattles off her work on a bunch of red-meat, base issues like sending troops to the Southern border, promoting pro-life legislation, banning critical race theory and opposing vaccine mandates.

Maryland Redistricting: A Maryland judge ruled Friday that the state’s new congressional map was unconstitutional, becoming the first Democratic-drawn map to be struck down in court this year. Legislators have until Wednesday to draw new lines.

Ad watch: Forum spat turns into new spot

Former Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel is out with a new ad attacking investment banker Mike Gibbons and accusing him of diminishing his military service in an altercation at a candidate forum. The two are frontrunners for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate.

In the ad, a Gold Star mother tells viewers, “Mike Gibbons has the nerve to say military service doesn’t count,” before she goes on to talk about her son’s service in the U.S. Marines.

The mother also says, “Marines like Josh Mandel, like my son, Andy, risked their lives for our country. Their work is so much more important than Gibbons just making millions for himself.”

In a video response to the ad posted to Twitter, Gibbons highlighted his son’s military service and accused Mandel of going “too far” with the ad. He added that at the forum, he only noted Mandel’s lack of experience in the private sector.

“I get it, Josh. You’re desperate, you’re flailing, but that doesn’t mean you get to lie to the voters of Ohio,” Gibbons added.

ICYMI: What else is happening in the world

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says he’s open to considering neutrality in the negotiations to end the war with Russia as quickly as possible.

The New York Times has a deep dive into West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin’s ties to the coal industry.

The Utah legislature overrode their governor’s veto on a bill that would ban transgender students from playing girls’ sports.

Former President Trump and his two sons agreed to sit for a deposition in a lawsuit from investors claiming they were tricked into making bad investments.