New Polling Shows Trump, Cruz on Top on Eve of 5th GOP Debate

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump attends a rally Monday, Dec. 14, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump attends a rally Monday, Dec. 14, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

The United States now considering a big overhaul of the foreign visa program in the wake of the San Bernardino terror attacks.  Damian Paletta and Siobhan Hughes reporting in the Wall Street Journal today that,

“The Department of Homeland Security is working on a plan to expand scrutiny of social-media posts as part of its visa application process before certain people are allowed to enter the country, a person familiar with the matter said.
The move is part of a new focus on the use of social-networking sites following the shooting rampage in San Bernardino, Calif., two weeks ago.
Currently, DHS looks at postings by visa applicants only intermittently, as part of three pilot programs that began in earnest earlier this year. It is unclear how quickly a new process could be implemented, and other details couldn't be learned.”

The L.A. Times today reporting Tashfeen Malik sent Facebook messages pledging support for terrorism at least twice to Pakistani friends in 2012 and 2014. She was allowed into the U.S. in 2014 on a K-1 fiance visa. Meantime, the terror couple’s former neighbor and friend continues to be interrogated over the attack and his relationship with the couple. He is so far cooperating and hasn’t been charged.

The Wall Street Journal and NBC News have new polling showing terrorism has become the number one issue heading into the 2016 election. 40% say national security and terror should be the government’s #1 priority. More than 60% put it in the top two issues.

The Wall Street Journal writes in today’s paper, “More than one quarter worry they or their family will be a victim of a terror attack. The most prominent news event of 2015, in the public's mind, was the terrorist attack in Paris.”

There’s brand new polling today on the presidential race as the GOP candidates prepare for a big debate tonight in Las Vegas.

The Washington Post and ABC News polling shows Trump surging in the wake of his anti-Muslim comments. He now captures 38% of the votes of registered Republicans and GOP-leaning independents. That’s an increase of six points since October and November. Ted Cruz has doubled his numbers to 15%. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Ben Carson are tied for third, with 12 percent each. Former Florida governor Jeb Bush stands at 5% despite having spent millions upon millions of dollars on campaign ads.

Trump does not fare so well though when matched against Hillary Clinton in the polls.. losing to her by double digits.

We’ve got Fox team coverage on tonight’s fifth GOP debate and some analysis. No campaign events during our hours.

Hillary Clinton is unveiling a plan to strengthen the nation’s defenses from terrorism today in Minnesota.. home to one of America’s largest Muslim populations. A dozen of Minnesota residents have travelled to Syria to join terror groups.

The BBC is reporting the FBI arrested a Maryland man who is accused of taking about $9,000 from ISIS terrorists to carry out an attack in the U.S. 30-year-old Mohamed Elshinawy is being held on several terror charges.

France says it has arrested three men on terror related charges. At least one may have been involved in the Paris terror attacks that left 130 dead. More details as we get them.  

Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl is being court martialed in connection with his 2009 disappearance from his Afghanistan base. He could face life in prison for desertion and other charges. He was held by the Taliban for five years and exchanged for several Taliban prisoners in a prisoner swap.  

President Obama is speaking at 11:25 ET at a naturalization ceremony in Washington.

Jury deliberations resume in the trial of Officer William Porter. He’s the first of six officers being tried for their alleged roles in the death of Freddie Gray.

House republicans set to begin pushing a massive spending plan. Ryan says the $1.1 trillion dollar budget has things both republicans and democrats can support. Lawmakers will likely need to pass a short term spending bill to keep the government funded. Mike Emanuel reporting.

A successful launch today to the international space station. A Russia Soyuz rocket carrying three men including a British astronaut successfully launched from Kazakhstan.  

Clint Henderson is the Executive Producer for “Happening Now” and an avid traveler. Follow his adventures on Twitter, ClintPHenderson, and Instagram, clintpage1.