On immigration debate, it's quantity not quality

On the roster: On immigration debate, it’s quantity not quality - Time Out: Something about Saturday - FBI releases Hillary email probe notes – FNC’s Wallace gets nod for presidential debate - More than a kernel of evidence

Some Americans care very much about the issue of immigration. But not many.

The latest Fox News poll tells the tale. Asked to name the most important issue facing the country, 30 percent of respondents said the economy and 18 percent said terrorism. After that, it falls off dramatically. Just 4 percent named immigration, the same as the number who picked global warming.

Now, that’s not to say that immigration doesn’t matter to a heckuva lot more than 4 percent of the electorate. And it’s also not to say that voters who care about the economy or national security or education don’t also place a great deal of significance on the issue of immigration. Immigration policy seeps into almost everything else.

For big chunks of voters in both parties, it’s a driving issue. Donald Trump’s primary success with the hardest of hardline stances on the subject is evidence enough of that.

But those voters are presumably spoken for by now. If immigration is your number one issue, you’re probably not an undecided voter at this point.

So why is Trump still talking about it loudly and at great length?

It can’t be that he and his campaign think that hardline immigration voters are up for grabs. The poll makes clear that Trump has little to lose and much to gain from “softening” on the issue, especially on the issue of deportations. The poll found that 68 percent of white males without college degrees favored a pathway to legal status for illegal immigrants. That’s Trump’s base, and those fellows don’t seem to mind much.

And just 15 percent of Republicans said they would be less likely to back Trump if he softened his stance with a similar number of independents saying the same.

Trump seemed to be trying to oblige over the past two weeks as he has undertaken a “softening,” and did eventually get there. Trump now stands in favor of the traditional “enforcement first” Republican policy of dealing with the border and internal controls before rounding up otherwise law-abiding illegals. But not only did Trump do it in such a way that you had to listen very closely to hear, it took him a long time to do it.

Trump’s problem on immigration isn’t so much what he’s saying but how much he is saying it.

Rather than holding rallies with Sen. Jeff Sessions and Joe Arpaio and debating who will pay for the generally unpopular proposal to build a wall at the Mexican border, Trump ought to be figuring out how to win with the suburban voters who are so far spurning his candidacy.

Trump scores even with Hillary Clinton on handling of the economy and only a few points behind on terrorism. He needs to shift the election to these issues instead of endlessly reassuring his base on immigration.

Immigration won Trump his party’s nomination, but it won’t do the same for him in the general.

Did you feel it? There was a little something in the air this morning. And then at once, you knew what it was: College football starts on Saturday.

Baseball is surely America’s pastime but America’s sport is college football. Not the pros with their garish productions, Ali-sized egos and slow play, but the old-fashioned joys of Saturday afternoon.

Halftime Report readily admits the iniquities of big-time college football and holds fast to a belief in the superiority of the small-school football experience. But there is so much that is truly wonderful in it at every level.

It doesn’t matter if you know the joys of rooting for one of the truly great programs, there is no place so far out in the country or so close to the center of the biggest city that there isn’t a team to call your own. Whether you went there or not, college football team loyalties are among the very strongest regional and cultural identifiers we have in an increasingly rootless culture.

Perhaps best of all is the music. While the pros are all booty-quaking bass lines and face-melting guitar riffs, college ball is all about the marching band. The feeling of being of a stadium of 70,000 people gone silent as the band takes the field is as pure a pleasure as there is.

From the first marching band halftime show in 1907 – the University of Illinois Marching Illini at the school’s opening game against the University of Chicago – right up until this Saturday’s kickoff games, those bands and those fans have been part of something that is perhaps as perfectly American as anything in the world.

Have a great day and, of course, let’s go Mountaineers!

Flag on the play? - Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM with your tips, comments or questions

Average of national head-to-head presidential polls: Clinton vs. Trump
: Clinton  +6.2
Average of national four-way presidential polls: Clinton vs. Trump vs. Johnson vs. Stein: Clinton +4.6
Generic congressional vote: Democrats +4.2

WSJ: “On Friday afternoon, the Federal Bureau of Investigation released a summary of its investigation into allegations that classified information was improperly stored or transmitted on a personal e-mail server Hillary Clinton used during her tenure as secretary of state.  The FBI also released its summary of former Mrs. Clinton’s July 2, 2016 interview with the FBI.The FBI concluded its probe earlier this year and recommended not bringing charges in the matter.

Here are the documents released Friday:
Summary of FBI investigation
Summary of FBI’s Clinton interview

Veteran journalist and “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace will moderate the third and final presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump - the last time voters will have the opportunity to size up the candidates in a face-to-face matchup this cycle. WashEx: “ The Commission on Presidential Debates announced the moderators of the three presidential debates Friday, along with details about what formats those debates would include. Lester Holt of NBC News is slated to moderate the first debate on Sept. 26, followed by Martha Raddatz of ABC News and Anderson Cooper of CNN as moderators of the second, town-hall-style debate on Oct. 9. Chris Wallace of Fox News will moderate the third presidential debate on Oct. 19. Elaine Quijano of CBS will moderate the lone vice-presidential debate on Oct. 4. Participants in the town-hall debate will be undecided voters selected by Gallup, and candidates will receive two minutes each to respond to questions at every event.”

[Ed. note: Way to go, Mr. Sunday! And here’s the full release, including locations, times, rules and formats.]

Donald Trump
heads to Detroit on Saturday for a scripted discussion with a prominent but controversial black pastor as part of a larger bid by Trump to ease perceptions that he is a racist. The Detroit Free Press lays out the challenge he’s facing: “When Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump comes to Detroit Saturday in search of votes from a more diverse audience, he’ll face some long odds with the black community. Nationally, Trump is polling in the low single digits among African Americans in many polls. In Michigan, among African Americans statewide, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is getting 91% of the vote in the latest poll from the Lansing-based polling firm EPIC/MRA which was done last month. In Detroit, where the sample size is much smaller and the margin of error is greater, she gets 92% of the vote with 8% of those surveyed undecided. Trump did not get any support in the poll from Detroit voters.”

New Fox News polls show Donald Trump is closing the gap with Hillary Clinton in a head-to-head match-up. Is Trump poised for a post-Labor Day comeback and can Clinton counter? Democrat Eddie Vale and Republican Ruth Guerra weigh in. WATCH HERE. Plus, how are Republican efforts to hold the Senate shaping up? Vale and Guerra duke it out. WATCH HERE

Poll: Fear, not excitement, driving Clinton, Trump supporters - USA Today

Trump taps David Bossie as deputy campaign manager - CBS News

Latinos for Trump founder warns of ‘taco trucks on every corner’-

State to give up Hillary’s schedules before election - AP

McCain tells voters to keep him as a check on President Clinton -  WaPo

In Fla. House race, Jolly won’t endorse, may not vote for Trump - Sunshine State News

Hillary rakes in $143 million in August contributions - NYT

Continetti: Conservatism Trumps Populism everywhere but at top of the ticket - Free Beacon

“The single biggest challenge in the [debates is] Trump has to debate both Hillary and the moderators simultaneously.” – Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich on “FOX & Friends.”

2016 tops the bill as Mr. Sunday hosts Trump advisor, Dr. Ben Carson and Green Party nominee,  Jill Stein. Join “Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace.” Check local listings for broadcast times in your area.

[#mediabuzz - Host Howard Kurtz has the latest take on the week’s media coverage. Watch #mediabuzz Sundays at 11 a.m. and a re-airing at 5 p.m. ET.]

“Chris, I’m genuinely confused about why Trump’s advisors are newly upset over his Wednesday speech on immigration. Other than new details, what did he say that he hadn’t said before in broad strokes, even more harshly?” Kathy McKenzie, Long Beach, CA

[Ed. note: Thanks for the question, Ms. McKenzie. I gather you mean members of Trump’s Hispanic outreach team who either departed or expressed concerns following his Wednesday speech in Arizona. One supposes that they had been told to expect something different than what Trump delivered. Trump’s shift on mass-deportations was real, but it was done in such a way that you had to listen closely to hear it. Trump met with Latino leaders last week and reportedly made assurances about the shift in policy and tone. Perhaps he decided to make only a partial pivot. Whatever the case, the political lesson is the same: Be careful about making promises.]

“Chris, my dream .....right after Trump is sworn in he turns to the microphone and says ( like Marlon Brando in ON THE WATERFRONT) ‘let’s get to work’ .....walks directly to the oval office and starts to reverse BO’s executive orders.  No balls, fancy dinners & dances,etc.   The elite of BOTH parties will then understand there is a new sheriff ( of the people) in town !!!!!” – Bill McIver, Brooksville, FL.

[Ed. note: Well, a word of caution about that scene, Mr. Iver. While presidents need to be careful about seeming too interested in pomp and puffery, it’s also important to celebrate. The presidency is a long slog and results are hard to come by. After an hour signing orders vacating executive orders, what would Trump do then? The inaugural festivities help presidents thank their supporters and send a message to other Americans about what kind of administration theirs will be. Jimmy Carter famously carried his own bags and turned down the thermostats in order to show thrift and solidarity with struggling Americans. When the Reagans arrived, the first family brought Hollywood glamour with them to the White House and most certainly the 1981 inaugural. While the press scolded the Reagans, voters didn’t seem to mind.]

“Chris, please clarify. If candidate A and B are reported to be tied at 45 to 45 with a margin of error of 3 points, is it possible that say candidate A actually has a 6 point lead 48 to 42 for example?  Likewise, if it is reported that candidate B is leading candidate A 47 to 44 with 2 point margin of error, could candidate B actually be losing 46 to 45? I am sure a random (fav) network wouldn’t think manipulating poll results although cherry picking which polls to use seems to be a common practice. Say it isn’t so Joe. – Jim Feakes, Colorado Springs, Colo.

[Ed. note: Great question, Mr. Freakes. When you think of a poll result and margins of error, picture a toy bow and arrow that shoots suction cups. The shaft of the arrow is the result, but the margin of error is full footprint of the cup. Where would you say the arrow landed? Where the shaft is pointing. The number pollsters give is the most likely result, but the margin of error reflects the fact that polls are imperfect. To use your example, if two candidates were tied at 45 percent in a poll with a margin of error of 3 percent, the range for each candidate would be from 43.5 percent to 46.5 percent – exactly the same for both of them. The listed result is the center of the range of 3 points, not the start of a three-point range in either direction. That’s why when we refer to polls with differences within the margin of error, we say “statistically tied.”]

Share your color commentary: Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.

AP: A 50-year-old Westerly [R.I.] man is charged with shooting corncobs at his neighbor’s home. The Westerly Sun reports that Jeffrey Osella was arrested Tuesday night. Police say he answered his door shirtless and had corn kernels stuck to his chest. Police say Osella used a potato gun to shoot corncobs at his neighbor’s house, which is up for sale. The gun is made of PVC pipe and uses a light accelerant such as hair spray that can be ignited. Police say Osella and his neighbor have long-running disputes. Osella is charged with disorderly conduct and firing in a compact area. He’s free on bail and is to be arraigned [today]. A phone number for Osella could not be found. Osella’s attorney says he can’t comment until he reviews the case.

“And the reason she isn’t holding a press conference is you wouldn’t either if you had the last year or so of her answers to other questions. The old Washington adage is: I prefer to tell the truth, it's easier to memorize.  She has a lot of memorizing to do, and I'm not sure she can do it.” – Charles Krauthammer  on “Special Report with Bret Baier

[Ed note: Fox News Halftime Report is going to be on the bench Monday, but back in the game Tuesday. Enjoy your Labor Day weekends and we will talk to you soon!]

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