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Buzz Cut:
• Poll-O-Rama: Trump treads water as others rise
• Rubio sweeps up Walker donors
• Biden gets another boost
• Take Five: Bevan's take
• The ‘y’ makes it classy

POLL-O-RAMA: TRUMP TREADS WATER AS OTHERS RISE
After more than a week wandering in the data desert, we have stumbled into an oasis of polls. Three fresh surveys on the GOP race – Fox News, Bloomberg and Quinnipiac University – give us the first reliable snapshot after the second candidate debate.

You already know about one of the main areas of agreement in the polls: Carly Fiorina, Sen. Marco Rubio and Ben Carson all emerged stronger from last week’s contest. And now those three plus frontrunner Donald Trump, journeyman candidate Jeb Bush and Sen. Ted Cruz constitute a clear top tier.

We also see how the road will get tougher for the candidates clearly excluded from the big leagues. How long candidates like Mike Huckabee and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie can keep raising enough cash to stay on the trail looks like an open question.

The polls also agree that Trump is unchanged. In fact, Trump is just the same as he has been since he rode a wave of outrage over his comments about illegal immigrant rapists and murders to the top of the field in July.

Trump’s share of the vote is the same as it was before the Fox News debate seven weeks ago. It’s a flat line. But the lines beneath him aren’t. Trump’s lead over his closest competitor, Carson, in the Real Clear Politics average has fallen from 14 points to 8 points in the past two weeks.

Like Mitt Romney in 2012’s general election, Trump appears to be trying to sit on a lead. And it will likely work out about as well. Trump’s adamant refusal to answer the lingering question before his campaign – whether he is still a birther and whether he believes President Obama is a secret Muslim – reflects a play-it-safe strategy that will not wear well.

While Trump is trying to gin up old controversies, he’s putting his show into re-runs.

Meantime, candidates who take chances and act boldly are making gains. Trump can’t expect to keep replaying his greatest hits of August and keep these competitors from gaining on him.

With Bush out of the hunt for now and the field thinning, Trump has to face the reality that his real rivals now are Carson, Rubio and Fiorina and despite his attacks, they’re still rising. With the most voters again judging him the worst in the debate, he can’t just keep treading water month after month and hiding from the tough questions.

Rubio sweeps up Walker donors - Fox News: “…There has been fresh buzz about [Marco Rubio’s] campaign since what many analysts saw as a stand-out performance at the Sept. 16 debate at the Reagan Library…and he seems to be benefiting the most from Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s decision to drop out of the race Monday. The Wall Street Journal reported that Rubio will inherit about two-thirds of Walker’s big-donor fundraising apparatus, citing a member of Walker’s national finance committee.”

Trump business imports lots of labor - CBS4 News: “A CBS4 News review of U.S. Labor Department records found that Trump businesses have requested hundreds of visas in recent years claiming they were unable to find Americans willing to do even the most basic tasks. And that is particularly true at Trump’s famed Palm Beach estate called Mar-A-Lago. Every year since at least 2008, Mar-A-Lago has requested anywhere from 70 to 90 visas to bring foreign workers into the country as cooks, waiters and housekeepers. The starting pay is between $10 and $12 an hour.” 

Trump and Ailes speak, plan meeting - Trump and Fox News CEO Roger Ailes have spoken and will meet to work out their differences, according to a spokesperson for the network. "Fox News Chairman & CEO Roger Ailes and Donald Trump spoke this morning and plan to have a meeting next week to discuss their differences of opinion regarding Fox's coverage of Mr. Trump's presidential campaign," the spokesperson said. "Ailes will be joined by senior Fox editorial executives. Mr. Trump believes he has been treated unfairly in certain instances. FOX News has held every candidate in this race to the highest journalistic standards throughout our coverage. We believe a candid meeting about our differences is required and that any misunderstandings can be handled without compromising those standards." 

WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE…
Most have heard the joke that punctuation saves lives, but not many have heard that font style can sink your business. The Guardian’s Alice Mazzilli writes about the importance of choosing the right font, and how we developed our various font styles. She explains, “The term font, or fount, goes back as far as the 15th century. A font was a printer’s drawer that contained a specific size and weight of a certain typeface. Now, font is used to refer to a typed word at a certain size and weight. Typeface is the font family, the style of the letters…Good type doesn’t happen by chance. Kerning (letter spacing), tracking (word spacing) and good letter shapes are no laughing matter. Take, for example, the word kerning: ironically, if kerned badly (where two letters are seemingly fused together to create a new letter) you end up with the word keming as r and n become m.”

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

POLL CHECK
Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval:
Approve – 45.7 percent//Disapprove – 49.8 percent
Directions of Country: Right Direction – 27.8 percent//Wrong Track – 63.2 percent

BIDEN GETS ANOTHER BOOST
Amid another cascade of bad news for Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, there’s more good news for Vice President Joe Biden’s potential candidacy. The latest Fox News poll shows the vice president nearly doubled his share of the vote since last month and a new Quinnipiac University poll has Biden outperforming all other Democrats in hypothetical head-to-head matchups against Republican opponents.

Of the top-tier Republicans: Trump, Carson, Fiorina, and Bush, Biden led all except Ben Carson, with whom he was tied. Clinton only performed about as well as Vermont socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders, tying or trailing all candidates except Donald Trump, whom they both beat by single digits. Biden, though, beat Trump like a drum: 11 points.

Biden has deep roots in Iowa - CBS: “In the summer of 2007, Iowa State Rep. Lisa Heddens introduced her mentally disabled son to then-Sen. Joe Biden, D-Delaware. ‘Biden didn’t brush him off and was patient with the way he speaks. You know, it is hard to understand him,’ Heddens said of the meeting with her son, Paul, who was then 12 years old. Biden stayed in touch…And that’s the reason Heddens will wait until Biden makes a decision on whether he'll run before she makes a decision about who she'll support. State Senator Herman Quirmbach publicly endorsed Biden earlier this week, even though Biden has not yet announced his intention to run.”

Biden says Pope Francis is ‘challenging us’ - In an op-ed with Time, Vice President Biden talks about Pope Francis’ new mission for the Church: going back to the basic message of service. Biden writes, “He emphasizes what I have always believed to be the central mission of our faith—Catholic Social Doctrine—that cuts across all confessional faiths: What you do to the least among us, you do unto me…”

The Judge’s Ruling: It’s not all relative - Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano considers Pope Francis’ message and the dangers of moral relativism: “When he is in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City later this week, [the pope] should take note of the recent and beautiful $200 million facelift. It was paid in full by rich Catholic capitalists who employed hardworking artisans and laborers to do the work. The pope probably also will tell Congress that the world is an inherently unhealthy place because of human work. He will embrace the highly questionable green science of those who want the government to tell us how to live, outside our homes and inside -- more Thomas Piketty than St. Thomas Aquinas.” Read here.

TAKE FIVE: Bevan's take
In the latest episode of “Power Play with Chris Stirewalt” Real Clear Politics co-founder Tom Bevan shares his picks of the five most hotly contested GOP held seats in the battle for control of the Senate. While Bevan has Illinois and Wisconsin at 1 and 2, he says Florida’s sure-to-be close White House vote adds an increased level of competition for Marco Rubio’s seat, putting this race in spot three. Rounding out his picks are the seats held by Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey at number four, and New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte and Ohio Sen. Rob Portman tied at fifth. WATCH HERE.

Your picks - The current tally of Fox News First reader votes on the five top battlegrounds for control of the Senate in 2016 are: 1) Illinois; 2) Wisconsin; 3) Pennsylvania; 4) Ohio; 5) Florida.]

Scorcher - With accusations of “shameful lies” and characterizations like “Crips or the Bloods” Sunshine Sate News notes attacks among Democrats vying for Florida’s Senate seat are heating up.

Shun the shutdown - New York magazine writes that GOP Senators up for reelection are not happy about a potential government shutdown.

We Want YOU! - Keep your votes coming!  Let us know whether the current ranking is up to snuff.

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

THE ‘Y’ MAKES IT CLASSY
Fox News: Matthew McConaughey’s older brother Michael, who goes by ‘Rooster,’ may be a self-made millionaire, and a star in his own right with the hit new reality series ‘West Texas Investors Club’ – but he still loves some free merch. Rooster McConaughey loves beer so much that he named his own son Miller Lyte, reports TMZ. … Little Miller is nine now but Miller’s parent company SABMiller, only recently caught wind of the branded moniker. To reward McConaughey’s brand loyalty, SABmiller—which may soon merge with its biggest competitor and fellow beer giant Anheuser-Busch InBev—is sending Rooster 24 cases of Miller Lite, what the beer maker considers to be a year’s supply. At 24 cans per case, that’s 576 beers total—or 1 and a half beers a day... so it might not last the diehard Miller fan more than a few months but hey, free beer is free beer.”

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

Chris Stirewalt joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in July of 2010 and serves as digital politics editor based in Washington, D.C.  Additionally, he authors the daily "Fox News First" political news note and hosts "Power Play," a feature video series, on FoxNews.com. Stirewalt makes frequent appearances on the network, including "The Kelly File," "Special Report with Bret Baier," and "Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace."  He also provides expert political analysis for Fox News coverage of state, congressional and presidential elections.