How young people see the matchup between two senior citizens: From the Politics Desk

Welcome to the online version of From the Politics Desk, an evening newsletter that brings you the NBC News Politics team’s latest reporting and analysis from the campaign trail, the White House and Capitol Hill.

In today’s edition, senior politics editor Scott Bland and national political reporter Ben Kamisar break down a major new poll of young voters. Plus, a critical milestone is met in Donald Trump’s hush money trial.

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How young people see the matchup between two senior citizens

By Scott Bland and Ben Kamisar

The 21st-century Democratic Party relies on big margins with young voters to win elections. And a major new dataset shines a light on just what is going on with a group that has soured on President Joe Biden, but isn’t exactly ready to embrace former President Donald Trump.

If you take one thing away from the new Harvard Youth Poll, it’s that young people are, well, just like everyone else — that is, they are cleaved by the same dividing lines on race and gender (and political engagement) that define the electorate at large. Let’s dive into the survey, which provides one of the most comprehensive looks out there at young voters.

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The poll shows Biden with an advantage, but not a 2020-like advantage. A number of public polls this election cycle, including from NBC News, have shown Trump essentially erasing Biden’s advantage with young voters. That’s not what the Harvard poll shows: Biden leads by 13 points, 50%-37%, among registered voters ages 18-29 and an even broader 19-point (56%-37%) edge among likely voters. Still, it’s not at the 60%-30% levels the Harvard poll showed for Biden at this point in 2020, which aligns with what exit polls found in the fall.

The more engaged, the more Biden-friendly. Not only did Biden’s margin shrink among the under-30 crowd moving from likely voters to registered voters, the results show it shrinking further still among all respondents. That trend reflects broader polling and election data this year showing Biden faring better with regular voters and more engaged poll respondents than irregular and less engaged ones. It shows why 2024 might be more volatile than a rematch election looks at first glance, because the results of a close race might hinge on people who aren’t extremely dialed in.

Mind the gaps. Young women, young people of color and young people with college degrees are all much more likely to back Biden over Trump than their male, white and nondegree-holding counterparts. It’s a good reminder not to hold up this (or any!) voting cohort as a cohesive bloc to be won or lost, but as a complex and changing group affected by a lot of different factors.

This is just a taste of the data. See the full results here — and watch this group closely this year.

Trump’s historic hush money trial seats 12 jurors, plus an alternate

By Adam Reiss and Dareh Gregorian

Donald Trump at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York City  (Jeenah Moon / Pool via AFP - Getty Images)

Donald Trump at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York City (Jeenah Moon / Pool via AFP – Getty Images)

A full 12-person jury was selected Thursday for Trump’s hush money trial in New York City, after both sides had questioned close to 200 potential jurors about whether they can be fair and impartial when it comes to the polarizing president and the criminal charges against him.

“We have our jury,” Judge Juan Merchan said after the 12th juror was selected. One alternate was also selected, and five more still need to be picked. “I am hopeful we will finish tomorrow,” the judge said before swearing the jury in.

If that happens, opening statements in the first criminal trial involving a former president could begin as early as Monday.

The panel is made up of seven men and five women. Among the new additions sworn in Thursday were a retired wealth manager, a speech therapist, a product development manager and a physical therapist. Those sworn in Tuesday included a lawyer, a salesman, a teacher and a software engineer.

The seating of the jury came after a rocky start to the day. Two of the seven jurors who had already been sworn in were dismissed from the case in the morning.

The first was let go after she told the judge she now had concerns that she could not be impartial after friends, colleagues and family members asked her if she was a juror on the case. The second was released after being brought in for further questioning following concerns from prosecutors that one of his answers during questioning was not accurate.

After court was dismissed for the day, Trump complained to reporters that he was supposed to be in states like Georgia, New Hampshire and North Carolina to campaign, but that instead “I’ve been here all day” for an “unfair trial.”

Read more on the third day of the Trump trial here →

That’s all from The Politics Desk for now. If you have feedback — likes or dislikes — email us at

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