Fox News First

Another avalanche of bad polls for Senate Dems

In this Jan. 28, 2014 photo, Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., speaks with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington.

In this Jan. 28, 2014 photo, Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., speaks with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington.  (Reuters)

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Buzz Cut:
• Another avalanche of bad polls for Senate Dems
• If you like your war plan you can keep it
• Lew touting whopper of a pen plan
• Boehner to frame election on jobs push
• Your résumé looks good, but how do you feel about animal costumes?

Denver Post: “A new poll by Quinnipiac University has Republican Cory Gardner ahead of Democrat Mark Udall by a striking 8 percentage points in their race for U.S. Senate — the challenger’s largest lead to-date among public polls. The survey of more than 1,200 likely Colorado voters favored Gardner 48 to 40 percent to the incumbent Udall, with independent, or unaffiliated, candidate Steve Shogan taking home 8 percent.”

[A new Gallup survey released this morning finds Republicans are now viewed just as favorably as Democrats, rebounding from their low of 28 percent during last fall’s government shutdown. Respondents held equal favorable views of both parties, at 40 percent.]

Buuut… - “Quinnipiac’s findings depart significantly from a Denver Post poll conducted last week that found Udall leading Gardner by 4 percentage points. Similarly, Gardner's biggest advantage over Udall before the latest Quinnipiac results was 2 percentage points, according to a tally of more than dozen polls of both likely and registered voters recorded by Real Clear Politics. Other recent polls have shown the Udall and Gardner in a statistical tie or even a Udall advantage.”

The latest batch of Fox News battleground polls show close contests in several pivotal Senate races, including the showdown for the Republican-held seat in Kansas as well as Democratic defensive efforts in Iowa and North Carolina. But the stunner is in Louisiana where Republican Congressman Bill Cassidy leads Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., 35 percent to 31 percent. The best news for the GOP seems to be that the Sarah Palin-backed candidate in the race, Rob Maness, hasn’t been able to gain traction despite relentless attacks on Cassidy.

Welcome to the jungle - If no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote on Election Day, the top two finishers head into a Dec. 6 runoff. In a two-way match up, Cassidy topples Landrieu 51 percent to 38 percent. Landrieu’s best hope to survive is to win in the first round, which would require Maness drawing Cassidy into a firefight that drives voters away from the GOP. This result suggests that’s not happening.

Pick Six: Bordering on a Senate flip - Republicans need to flip an additional six Senate seats from blue to red to gain control of the upper chamber. Fox News First readers think the most likely states to switch are: Arkansas (13.7%), Montana (13.0%), West Virginia (12.1%), Louisiana (11.7%), South Dakota (9.9%) and North Carolina (9.6%). Reader Wayne Peterkin of Evangeline, La., feels Pelican State voters will not buy Sen. Mary Landrieu’s, D-La., recent ads touting her toughness on immigration.

Share your top six picks. Email them – just your top six, please – to FOXNEWSFIRST@FOXNEWS.COM or tweet @cstirewalt.

-- 47 days until Nov. 4 --

The Nation’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, is taking to the airwaves criticizing Iowa Republican Senate nominee Joni Ernst over her pro-life positions on employer covered birth control. Conservative group American Crossroads hammers Democratic Congressman Bruce Braley for voting against building the Keystone Pipeline XL.

Snowmobile stunt champion Cory Davis is featured in Alaska Republican Senate nominee Dan Sullivan’s latest ad.  Davis slams Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, saying he “acts like Mr. Alaskan when he wants our vote, but the truth is, he votes with Obama and his D.C. friends, not Alaska. I’m tired of the phony politicians and Mark Begich’s lame tricks.”

Former Gov. Sonny Perdue, R-Ga., appears in an ad for his cousin, Georgia Republican Senate candidate, David Perdue. Says the former two-term governor of his cousin: “he grew up modestly like we all did here…he got the real deal stuff here, the morals, the values, the work ethic.”

[The controversy is still swirling about another Perdue spot that uses worries recorded in a Nunn campaign memo about an opponent making an attack ad over a her former foundation’s slight connection to a group with unsavory ties to Islamists to… make a campaign ad.]

President Obama
’s strategy to combat ISIS, faces tough scrutiny from the House Foreign Affairs Committee today as Secretary of State John Kerry tries to sell the plan, which seems to require a daily redefinition from the White House. Committee Chairman Ed Royce, R-Calif., has accused the administration of sending “mixed messages” about the threat posed by the Islamist militant group. Wednesday’s performance of the administration’s semantic circus featured the White House acknowledging that Obama would consider putting U.S. troops in “forward-deployed positions” to advise Iraqi forces in the fight against the Islamic State – even while insisting U.S. troops would not be sent back into a “combat role” in Iraq. The House voted to fund the his request to train and arm Syrian rebels, but with his generals telegraphing the need for more decisive action, political pressure from the right and left and sinking poll numbers, the president’s ability to defend his evolving strategy is very much in doubt.

[“Issues of this magnitude should not be rolled into an unrelated ‘must-pass’ spending bill for the sake of expediency.” – Rep. Robert Hurt, R-Va., in his statement on his vote opposing the funds for Syrian rebels.]

“What’s in a phrase? A lot. First of all, ‘boots on the ground’ is a term most members of the military hate. But let’s stipulate that it’s the phrase du jour for describing troops in a combat zone. When President Obama and his administration continue to adamantly insist that the U.S. will NOT put combat troops on the ground in Iraq or Syria, many people might start hearing “Hamlet” and think that the president ‘doth protest too much.’ Wednesday brought a caveat to the president’s pledge. Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, provided the asterisk in remarks to Congress. Now, administration officials concede that ‘forward deployed advisors’ may consult with Iraqi forces in their fight and may call in U.S. air strikes. If you talk to some of those ‘advisors’ – aka U.S. Special Operators or U.S. Special Forces – they will tell you that if they are sitting next to an Iraqi, Peshmerga or a Free Syrian Army fighter as they’re taking fire from the enemy and the ‘advisor’ is directing a laser guided GBU (a laser guided bomb) to be dropped from an F16 – they are IN COMBAT, no matter what the administration says.

So now the question is: what are the rules of engagement for these ‘advisors?’ The officers I talk to can already see the shackles being placed on their ability to bring the fight to ISIS. That’s a serious issue, no matter what words are used.” – Bret Baier

The Judge’s Ruling:
Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano examines the legal rationale for President Obama’s war: “As the debate rages over whether the president needs congressional authorization for war prior to his deployment of the military to degrade or destroy ISIS, the terrorist organization that none of us had heard about until a few months ago, the nation has lost sight of the more fundamental issue of President Obama’s infidelity to the rule of law.”

[The Atlantic’s Peter Beinart takes a look at how “Security Moms” are back and how that’s bad news for Democrats:  “In a time of national anxiety, women voters are again turning to Republicans to protect the country. “In 2002, women trusted a Republican president to keep them safe. In 2014, with anxiety heightened again, they don’t trust a Democrat to do the same.”]

Is it a bonny day as valorous sounds echo in your mind?  Or will you dree this day with melancholy thoughts of parting? Then you must be an American, because for actual Scots, today’s vote on independence is not the stuff of “Brigadoon” but more of an extreme version of the left-right fight that roils America’s voters. Scotland is far more liberal than England and resentments over changes to the United Kingdom’s government health system are at the center of the fight as are resentments over British militarism and defense spending. Imagine New England breaking away from the United States over Medicare and Iraq. It’s ugly. And it’s surely going to get uglier. The polls are open until 5 p.m. ET.  Here’s a primer on how the vote will work.

Got a TIP from the RIGHT or LEFT? Email FoxNewsFirst@FOXNEWS.COM

Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval
: Approve – 41.2 percent//Disapprove – 53.8 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 26.6 percent//Wrong Track – 65 percent
Generic Congressional Ballot:  Democrats – 42.7 percent// Republicans – 46.2 percent

Speaking at UCLA Wednesday, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew told his audience that he was “hopeful that we’ll be able to take action very, very soon” on what tax lawyers call “inversions” – which is when U.S.-based companies move their headquarters overseas to beat America’s enormous corporate tax rate. This is part of President Obama’s effort to put the focus on his executive action on issues to rally the Democratic base. Obama was forced to table his plan for ordering amnesty for illegal immigrants until after Election Day. But Lew sounds committed to busting some corporate chops.

[Out of ink - National Journal: “Americans are afraid. The White House is afraid. Democrats are afraid. President Obama's "Year of Action" has turned into a Year of Fear. The country seems mired in dread. And that could have mortal consequences for midterm Democrats.”]

Base drum or a snare? - Tax havens are a fraught topic for Lew and others in the administration as well as Senate Democrats who seem to have scrapped a symbolic vote on the subject. Worst, though, is Warren Buffett, a key Democratic patron and Obama’s oft-invoked exemplar for socially conscious billionaires. Buffett’s company last month orchestrated a corporate tax flight for Burger King, something the president a month earlier called unpatriotic. The question: Will Lew go for a risky move that might get blocked in court as well as risking serious backfire, or just make a symbolic gesture to placate ornery liberals?

Grimes ditches Buffett - Kentucky Democratic Senate Candidate Allison Lundergan Grimes disconnected her billionaire backer, Warren Buffett, from a conference call with her donors at a San Francisco Bay Area fundraiser on Wednesday. Grimes hung up on one of her party’s most important benefactors after the campaign of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called her out over the fact that one of the companies owned by Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway is laying off 600 workers at a Kentucky underwear plant and moving its operations to Honduras. Grimes campaign blamed the host of the event for Buffett’s involvement.

Today at the American Enterprise Institute, House Speaker John Boehner will offer his five-point agenda for a Republican Congress focused on job growth and “resetting America’s economic foundation.” You can watch Boehner briefly lay out his reason for the speech the will frame the GOP’s midterm push for an expanded House majority.

Excerpts - “Washington’s approach is so top-down, and the bureaucracy so lumbering, that the government is keeping us from where we need to be. Look at the state of things: flat wages, higher prices, a six-year slog to regain the jobs lost during the recession, and millions still asking, ‘where are the jobs?’  So we can do this the Washington way, move around some dirt, see what happens.  Or we can lay a solid foundation for growth and mobility… Bring these good-paying jobs home, get our workers off the sidelines. Build a culture of hard work and responsibility around them. Make America the best place to work, save and invest.”

[You can watch live starting at 2:15 p.m. ET.]

Today, 2016 Democratic frontrunner, Hillary Clinton, will join House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Sens. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., at the pro-Clinton Center for American Progress for a presentation on women’s issues today. Later this month, Clinton will address a forum hosted by female members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

[Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., will headline a fundraiser for the pro-Hilary supper PAC, Ready for Hillary, Sept. 23 in Washington.]

What business would count getting arrested in a chicken suit as a resume builder? Politics, of course. Just ask 23-year-old Michael Zona a New Hampshire Republican campaign worker who got the front-page WSJ treatment today for his arrest and subsequent exoneration for flapping his fake feathers too close to embattled Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., over her, ahem, ducking town hall meetings. The piece explores the growth of the animal costume as campaign ploy over the last decade and even talked to the man who has made a reputation in the party, among other things, for convincing people that going about in animal costumes is a good idea: “But, said Danny Diaz, a Republican operative, ‘it just so happens that politics is an industry that is full of young and eager individuals that allows for undertakings such as these.’ He dispatched a human dolphin named Flipper to tail presidential candidates John Kerry in 2004 and Mitt Romney in 2008—evoking their shifting policy stances—and a squirrel to dog President Barack Obama for the Acorn scandal in 2008.”

“[Joint Chiefs head Martin Dempsey] did not look as if he had prepared his answer…It looked entirely off the cuff and made up.” – Charles Krauthammer on “Special Report with Bret Baier

Chris Stirewalt is digital politics editor for Fox News.  Want FOX News First in your inbox every day? Sign up

Chris Stirewalt joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in July of 2010 and serves as politics editor based in Washington, D.C. Additionally, he authors the daily Fox News Halftime Report political news note and co-hosts the hit podcast, Perino & Stirewalt: I'll Tell You What. He also is the host of Power Play, a feature video series on Stirewalt makes frequent appearances on network programs, including America’s Newsroom, Special Report with Bret Baier and Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace. He also provides expert political analysis for FNC’s coverage of state, congressional and presidential elections.