Battleground poll shows Dems down by 18 points

Want FOX News First in your inbox every day? Sign up here.

Buzz Cut:
• Battleground poll shows Dems down by 18 points
• Amnesty anxiety grows
• Clintons going big in Iowa to avoid repeat of ’08 defeat
• Still tight in the Tar Heel state
• Nanna, please stop tagging The Grandmaster

If this week’s polling is any evidence, Democrats are facing an even tougher road come November. With President Obama’s approval sinking below former president George W. Bush’s, the latest Fox News poll finds Republicans hold the advantage as they seek to reclaim the Senate. In states with active U.S. Senate races, likely voters say they would back the Republican a 9-point margin. And when looking at the results in just the 14 Fox News battleground states the GOP edge widens to 18-point margin.  Fox News: “The president recently claimed that ‘by almost every measure’ the nation’s economy and American workers are better off now than when he took office. Voters dismiss his boast as ‘mostly false’ by a 58-36 percent margin. That includes 37 percent of Democrats who think it doesn’t ring true.”

[The battleground list: Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, North Carolina, New Hampshire, South Dakota and West Virginia]

Dem base cracks up - WaPo: “Women surveyed [in the WaPo/ABC News poll] said they disapprove of [President Obama ] by a 50 percent to 44 percent margin — nearing an all-time low in the poll. It’s almost the reverse of the 55 percent to 44 percent breakdown for Obama among female voters in 2012, according to exit polls…His approval rating among women has slipped four percentage points from a year ago and 16 points since his second inaugural in January 2013, when his approval was 60 percent among the group. Among younger voting-age Americans, Obama’s approval rating stood at 43 percent. That marked an 11-point drop since June among those 18 to 29 years old.”

National Journal: “The White House has made known its preference for including the Syria authority language in the stopgap, must-pass spending bill to keep government funded beyond the Oct. 1 start of the new fiscal year. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Thursday, ‘I would hope it would be in the CR, because that's the train leaving the station, and the president’ needs this now. Splitting them ‘takes longer,’ she added. However, Pelosi also did not rule out that the authorization could come in ‘some independent vehicle.’ And Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said he is prepared to offer it as a separate measure, although procedurally, doing so would be more complicated in the Senate.”

Dems divided - Politico: “Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) said anything dealing with the ramped-up U.S. attacks on ISIL should be split off from the CR. But, he said, even then he wouldn’t support giving Obama the authority to arm the rebels…Asked multiple times if she would support aiding the Syrian rebels, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) said she would need more information before she could take a firm position. Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) declined to answer questions about Syria.”

Appearing on “The Kelly File,” Michael Foley, brother of slain journalist James Foley, reacted to President Obama’s speech about taking down ISIS militants telling Megyn Kelly, “It didn't sound like much of a plan to me…” Michael Foley voiced intense frustration went on to say, “You know, it went past not doing everything they could. They were actually impedance. They got in our way…You know, we were smart enough to look past it. But it slowed us down. We lost a lot of time trying to regroup.” Watch the full interview here.

[Foley’s mother, Diane, appeared on CNN Thursday, saying “As an American [she] was embarrassed and appalled” at the limited effort to free her son before he was beheaded by Islamist militants.]

How will voter anxieties about national security play out in the midterm elections? See what Political Pros Matt Schlapp, head of the American Conservative Union, and Simon Rosenberg, founder of the New Democrat Network have to say. Watch “Power Play with Chris Stirewalt.”

Fox News Sunday: sounding off on strategy – White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough,Gen. Michael Hayden, former director of the CIA and NSA, Sen.Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I, discuss the way forward in the fight against Islamist militants. “Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace” airs at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. ET on the Fox News Channel. Check local listings for air times in your area.

With the administration reassuring frustrated immigration activists on Thursday that Obama would deliver “significant” steps on amnesty during the lame-duck period, anxieties are high on the right about what’s coming. And a slip by a cabinet secretary did little to calm things down. The mid-term elections were “not the reason” for the delay on taking executive action on immigration. President Obama said it on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” but this week, his own Homeland Security chief contradicted him. “This kind of thing should not be introduced in a politically difficult climate like you had in a run up to an election,” Jeh Johnson said at the Council on Foreign Relations, referring back to overreach by the Clinton administration that gave Republicans control of both the House and Senate in 1994. Said Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala.: “It’s terrifying, really, to think that this individual, Secretary Johnson, the person responsible in America for operating all of our immigration enforcement laws, acknowledges openly that they’re being driven by election politics, rather than law.” See Chief Congressional Correspondent Mike Emanuel’s full report here.

Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., is highlighting her role as head of the Homeland-Security appropriations committee, “voting nine times to block amnesty” in a new ad.  Landrieu fires back at opponent Rep.Bill Cassidy, R-La., saying, “on border security I’ll put my record up against anyone.”

But wait… - The conservative PAC America rising points out that Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., last year bragged about her reversal on the issue of a border fence: “I voted for the dumb fence once, I’m not going to do it again because I learned my mistake.”

Fox News contributor Juan Williams supports a growing chorus of voices to see former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice replace current NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell following the fallout from the Ray Rice scandal, writing, “Rice's tenure in the Bush administration gave her the management and leadership experience to lead the NFL and restore the public’s trust in the league.” She is accustomed to breaking glass ceilings in both politics and sports, serving as NFL commissioner would be no different. This is a challenge that Condoleezza herself has openly suggested would be her dream job in a 2002 interview with New York Times. Williams goes on to say, “If the big boys in Washington like Cheney and Rumsfeld didn’t intimidate Condi, then neither will the boys club of the NFL.”

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

Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval: Approve – 41.3 percent//Disapprove – 54.6 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 26.6 percent//Wrong Track – 65.3 percent 
Generic Congressional Ballot:  Democrats – 42.8 percent// Republicans – 45.3 percent

-- 53 days until Nov. 4 --

Former President Bill Clinton is scheduled to stop by the White House today for an event in honor of one of his programs, but his path to a more permanent return to the executive mansion will take him to Iowa to campaign for his wife’s second presidential run this weekend. The Clintons will be the guests of honor at the annual steak fry hosted by retiring Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa. It’s an opportunity for the Clintons to start exorcising the ghosts of her 2008 defeat there, one which the shadow Clinton campaign is not wasting. Des Moines Register: “…Ready for Hillary will have a huge presence on Sunday, with a custom-decorated bus, signs, T-shirts and bright-eyed organizers looking to harvest e-mail addresses and phone numbers from the crowd. The group has been pushing hard for an enthusiastic turnout among supporters of a Hillary Clinton presidency. It's sent out numerous e-mail blasts encouraging their attendance and even sponsored a national contest to fly a Clinton fan to Iowa for the event.”

Can Biden shake status as Dem family’s Fredo on heels of Hillary rally? - Des Moines Register: “Vice President Joe Biden will make a splash in Iowa with an official White House visit next week, just three days after Hillary Clinton basks in a major media spotlight here…Biden will deliver remarks at a kickoff event for the Nuns on the Bus ‘We the People, We the Voters’ bus tour. He will speak at 10:30 a.m. at the Iowa Capitol's West Terrace.”

Hillary channels Eleanor Roosevelt - Hillary Clinton will address the Eleanor Roosevelt Policy Initiative’s Women and Girl’s Rising Conference this evening in New York. Clinton will take part in a similar event hosted by the pro-Clinton group the Center for American Progress on Sept. 18.

[Panama City Beach Fla.] News-Herald: “Gov. Chris Christie [R-N.J.] is coming to Florida in hopes of helping Florida [Republican] Gov. Rick Scott’s re-election and maybe keeping the embers of his own presidential ambitions alive. Christie is scheduled to do a pair of campaign stops with Scott on Friday in north Florida, according to the Republican Governors Association.”

Sen.Rand Paul, R-Ky., continues his swing through the first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire today. Paul addressed the libertarian-minded youth group Generation Opportunity Thursday and will help to rally the party at a “Unity Breakfast” this morning.  Paul is slated to offer his endorsement of Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown later today.

Gov. Rick Perry, R-Texas., told Bloomberg News “I may not run in 2016, but I’ve spent the last 20-plus months preparing. If I don’t run, it won’t be because I’m not prepared.”

Washington Examiner: “The CBS News affiliate in Denver, Colo., KCNC-TV, is deeply unimpressed with Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Udall’s failure to agree to a live debate with his Republican challenger, Rep. Cory Gardner. The scorned news team noted in [a] three-minute segment that this race will mark the first time in the station’s history that an incumbent senator has failed to show up to debate his opponent live on camera. CBS4 Political Specialist Shaun Boyd called Udall's refusal both ‘disappointing’ and ‘unfortunate’…Udall and his team explained that the Democratic Senator is booked through Nov. 4 and he simply can’t commit to the dates proposed by the Colorado news crew. ‘Unlike attack ads that cost millions of dollars to air, it was free air time. But incumbent Sen. Mark Udall said, ‘No thanks,’ Boyd added.’”

[The latest SurveyUSA poll has Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., leading Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., 46 percent to 42 percent.]

Topeka Capital-Journal: “The Kansas Supreme Court issued an order Thursday retaining jurisdiction of the bare-knuckle ballot dispute regarding [Democratic] U.S. Senate candidate Chad Taylor and setting the expedited schedule for submitting written briefs and conducting oral arguments. Chief Justice Lawton Nuss signed an order rejecting [Republican] Secretary of State Kris Kobach's argument that the issue belonged in Shawnee County District Court. Instead, justices sided with attorneys representing Taylor that the case would appropriately be heard by the state's highest court [Tuesday].”

A new Civitas Institute poll finds Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., leads Republican Thom Tillis 46 percent to 43 percent, with libertarian Sean Haugh taking five percent. In a head-to-head matchup  Hagan and Tillis are statistically tied, with Hagan leading 47 percent to 46 percent. The poll also found 51 percent of respondents hold a negative view of President Obama.

A new USA Today/Suffolk University survey shows Michigan’s Senate race trending towards Democrats, with Rep. Gary Peters, D-Mich., leading Republican Terri Lynn Land, 46 percent to 37 percent.

KATV:“Congressman Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR) will debate on the University of Arkansas campus on October 14 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. The debate will be broadcast live on KATV…”

In the meantime, Pryor stays on Koch - Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., is going after rival Rep. Tom Cotton’s, R-Ark., job record in two new ads, here and here.

In her latest ad, Georgia Democratic Senate contender Michelle Nunn hits her party over its slow progress on passing the Keystone Pipeline XL. “Too many Democrats play politics by dragging their feet on the Keystone pipeline,” Nunn says.

Billionaire Tom Steyer’s NexGen Climate PAC has launched radio ads saying Iowa Republican Senate candidate Joni Ernst’s view on climate change defy “basic science and basic common sense.” The ad also hammers Ernst for receiving support from big oil and the Koch brothers.

Chicago Sun-Times: “Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., is invoking first lady Michelle Obama as a possible 2016 opponent in a recent fundraising appeal, citing the ‘press and rumor mills’ as his source …In a letter dated Sept. 5, Kirk wrote, ‘I’m not one to believe rumors or engage in political gossip, but when it comes to defending the Illinois Senate seat that I’m honored to hold, I take all potential threats seriously… The press and rumor mills ponder the ‘will she or won’t she’ question with regard to Michelle Obama . . . and the circumstances (and denials) are reminiscent of 1999 when First Lady Hillary Clinton was the subject of whirlwind speculation about a run for the United States Senate.”’’

The Hill: “The National Republican Senatorial Committee raised $6.1 million in August, a record-breaking sum for an election-year August. The committee now has $19.9 million cash on hand heading into the final stretch of the midterms as the party tries to flip the six seats it needs for Senate control.  But the committee spent more than it took in over the past month. It started July with $26.6 million in the bank and considerably ramped up spending on its advertising and operational efforts as the primary season came to a close.”

Portman’s priority races - Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, vice chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee said the group does not intend to pump funds into Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Pat Roberts’, R-Kan., respective campaigns. “I don’t think any Republican seats are in great danger. I think, in fact, Pat Roberts is doing fine. I think Mitch McConnell is doing well in Kentucky,” Portman told reporters at a Christian Science Monitor Breakfast Thursday. “I think our focus will be more on some of these states I mentioned earlier: North Carolina, Arkansas, Louisiana, Iowa, Michigan and Colorado, New Hampshire, Alaska.”

[That’s where the money goes - Washington Examiner: “TV advertising spending has spiked over 80 percent this year… The white paper also indicated that there is a shift going on in political advertising, with cable channels becoming the favorites of campaigns trying to focus on specific markets and people.”]

Political pros Matt Schlapp, head of the American Conservative Union, and Simon Rosenberg, founder of the New Democrat Network, both agree incumbent Democrats in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Alaska are in trouble, but say Republicans would be wrong to think winning will be easy against established incumbents. Watch “Power Play with Chris Stirewalt” to hear some of the best in the business Pick Six.

Insurance policy - 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%), West Virginia (12.1%), Louisiana (11.6%), South Dakota (9.9%) and North Carolina (9.6%).  Reader Pat Helton reminds that Republicans could stand to lose seats: “[Republican Senator] Pat Roberts in Kansas is in real trouble. The Georgia seat is a bit better chance but still no lock.  The GOP may need to win seven or eight seats to net six.” But the name of the game is still “Pick Six” because unless the GOP can put six in the win column, the rest are a moot point.

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

The latest Quinnipiac poll finds Democrat businessman Tom Wolf well ahead of Gov. Tom Corbett, R-Pa., 59 percent to 35 percent. According to the poll, Corbett gets “clobbered across the board on issues, leadership and other character traits by a candidate who was unknown to most voters earlier this year,” says Tim Malloy, assistant director of the polling firm. Of those supporting Wolf, 51 percent say their vote is against Corbett.

Reuters: “The election for alderman of a southern Mississippi city ended in a tie, with the winner to be chosen at random, likely by a coin toss or drawing straws, the city's mayor said Thursday. The special election for one of five alderman seats in Poplarville, with a population of about 2,800, ended in a 177-177 tie after one voter who showed up on Tuesday without photo ID, which is required under state law, later produced identification, said Glenn Bolin, one of the candidates. Bolin and his opponent, Stephanie Bounds, a nurse, were not told which candidate the key voter supported, he said.”

#mediabuzz: YO, HARVEY!

TMZ founder Harvey Levin is very much back in the news for the work of his gonzo gossip site. Levin sits down with host Howard Kurtz to talk about the way the site has changed journalism and the ongoing furor in the NFL over TMZ’s scandalous scoops. Watch “#mediabuzz” Sunday at 11 a.m. ET, with a second airing at 5 p.m.

Thanks to Facebook’s auto-tag feature that tries to guess the name of the users to be tagged in a post, lots of grandparents accidently tag hip-hop legend Grandmaster Flash in messages intended for their family members. He has been getting so many accidental messages that a Tumblr page has been created to keep track of them all. Grandmaster Flash has taken the whole thing in stride posting a message on his Facebook page, “It’s true I get a lot of posts from Grandmas. Hilarious now I know why — Respect Grandma and Grandpa. P.S. This is Hip Hop!” Now kids listen to Mr. Flash, respect Grandma and Grandpa and take a little time to help correct their computer skills.

“Clearly, what the president [President Obama] was doing… was to declare war on [ISIS]…You can't play around with language and pretend it is something else and that disturbs me and the tone of the president…and in the follow-up tone…which is all about minimizing what's really going on here you really lose confidence in their seriousness about carrying it out and being open with the American people.” –Charles Krauthammer on “Special Report with Bret Baier Watch here.  

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