By Chris Stirewalt
Published October 31, 2018
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On the roster: Sometimes it’s a full size Rolo, sometimes it’s pennies - I’ll Tell You What: Beware the purple blob - Poll check - Audible: Fired up and ready to... Consult his attorney - Toot, toot, beep, beep
SOMETIMES IT’S A FULL SIZE ROLO, SOMETIMES IT’S PENNIES
A little something for everyone in our Halloween edition of campaign nuggets. Have fun this evening and enjoy a break from our ghoulish politics.
- The last batch of Fox News battleground state polls will arrive with the suddenness of a canister in a pneumatic tube tonight at 6 pm ET on “Special Report with Bret Baier.” Shhhhhhhhhhhhwack! A word also of thanks to our great pollsters Daron Shaw and Chris Anderson, a bipartisan dynamic duo. Amazing how much we like a Longhorns fan and a Red Sox fan…
- The arbitrary nature of President Trump’s decision to dust off the fight over presidential power and birthright citizenship seemed like an odd one to us from the start. Yes, it excites GOP base voters. But he already is whipping them into new ecstasies of fear and anger with the caravan, an issue that has serious downsides for Democrats. Conversely, the so far entirely hypothetical argument over whether Trump can pen and phone his way around the current interpretation of the 14th Amendment causes problems with conservatives and divides the GOP at just the wrong moment. Our suspicion was proven right today when the president rebuked the speaker of the House for having been dismissive of the Trump’s expansive view of executive authority. That’s a pointless fight to have the week before an election that will substantially be contested in places where these kinds of hijinks are exactly what voters don’t like.
- With so many important races so close, we have to consider the possibility that Tuesday night will end with uncertainty. If, Heaven help us, we end up with evidence or accusations of substantial vote tampering or fraud, be it foreign or domestic, think back on these new numbers from the Pew Research Center. Among a lot of interesting findings about partisan and demographic attitudes about ballot access and election security, there are some worrisome figures about the confidence American’s have in our electoral process. While voters in both parties are broadly confident that votes will be properly counted in their local elections, only 77 percent of Republicans and 69 percent of Democrats feel the same about the nation as a whole.
- The Michael G. Scott award for discussing diversity goes to Sen. Joe Donnelly. In his final debate with Republican challenger Mike Braun, Donnelly was seeking to burnish his credentials as a friend to minority Hoosiers. “Our state director is Indian American, but he does an amazing job,” Donnelly said during the debate. “Our director of all constituent services -- she’s African American, but she does an even more incredible job than you could ever imagine.” Sweet fancy Moses! We absolutely take Braun at his word that he meant that the ethnicity of his staff members was irrelevant to their performance rather than the racist “even though” sense. But in a race where Donnelly is counting on high turnout among African American voters in Indianapolis and northwest Indiana that was a doozy.
- “I try to reassure him we’re backing him, we admire him, and we love and care about him.” So said 75-year-old Conrad Peirce about his weekly calls to his friend and fellow congregant, Jeff Sessions. That’s in Sadie Gurman’s very lovely story from today’s WSJ about how Sessions’ friends back in Mobile, Ala. have tried to bolster their the attorney general through was has now been years of abuse from President Trump. It’s a revealing, yes. But more importantly, it’s a good study in how friends should act in times of trouble.
- Ben & Jerry’s “New York Super Fudge Chunk” ice cream flavor will henceforth be called “Pecan Resist” to show opposition to “President Trump’s regressive agenda.” The company, a subsidiary of $70 billion conglomerate Unilever, is also donating a combined $100,000 to liberal activist groups. So if you are a Republican who bought a Kanye West song because he liked the president’s “dragon energy,” just know that you are not alone.
THE RULEBOOK: STILL TRUE TODAY
“A nation, without a national government, is, in my view, an awful spectacle.” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 85
TIME OUT: PUMPED UP
Atlas Obscura: “Kenova is in far west West Virginia, at the split of the Ohio and Big Sandy Rivers. At last count the population was just over 3,000, so maybe it’s no coincidence that Ric Griffith, owner of the Queen Ann style house on Beech Street (it’s on the National Register of Historic Places) settled on 3,000 as just the right number of pumpkins—that’s one for each Kenovan. Ric used to be the town’s mayor, and he owns the town’s pharmacy too. … Hundreds of volunteers help with the drilling, scooping, rinsing and carving of each pumpkin, and it takes another legion of carpenters and electricians to build-out and rig-up the displays. During the first week of October a local farm delivers the pumpkins, and from then until the town’s C-K Autumnfest it’s a flurry of pumpkin guts, bleach baths and jigsaws to get ready for the lighting. After all that work, the display comes down after Halloween night.”
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Trump job performance
Average approval: 42.2 percent
Average disapproval: 53.2 percent
Net Score: -11 points
Change from one week ago: down 3.2 points
[Average includes: Gallup: 40% approve - 54% disapprove; NPR/PBS/Marist: 41% approve - 53% disapprove; USA Today/Suffolk: 43% approve - 54% disapprove; NBC/WSJ: 45% approve - 52% disapprove; CBS News: 42% approve - 53% disapprove.]
Control of House
Republican average: 41.6 percent
Democratic average: 50.6 percent
Advantage: Democrats plus 9 points
Change from one week ago: Democratic advantage down 0.6 points
[Average includes: NPR/PBS/Marist: 50% Dems - 40% GOP; USA Today/Suffolk: 51% Dems - 43% GOP; NBC/WSJ: 50% Dems - 41% GOP; Fox News: 49% Dems - 42% GOP; ABC/WaPo: 53% Dems - 42% GOP.]
I’LL TELL YOU WHAT: BEWARE THE PURPLE BLOB
This week Dana Perino and Chris Stirewalt discuss which party has grabbed momentum for next week's midterm election. Plus, mailbag questions and trivia, of course! LISTEN AND SUBSCRIBE HERE
Arizona: Martha McSally (R) 47% vs. Kyrsten Sinema (D) 51% - CNN
Nevada: Dean Heller* (R) 45% vs. Jacky Rosen (D) 48% - CNN
Tennessee: Marsha Blackburn (R) 51% vs. Phil Bredesen (D) 46% - NBC News/Marist
Wisconsin: Tammy Baldwin* (D) 54% vs. Leah Vukmir (R) 43% - Marquette University
NC-09: Mark Harris (R) 45% vs. Dan McCready (D) 44% - NYT
NJ-07: Leonard Lance* (R) 44% vs. Tom Malinowski (D) 47% - Monmouth University
Arizona: Doug Ducey* (R) 52% vs. David Garcia (D) 45% - CNN
Nevada: Adam Laxalt (R) 45% vs. Steve Sisolak (D) 46% - CNN
Oklahoma: Kevin Stitt (R) 46% vs. Drew Edmondson (D) 42% - Sooner Poll
Wisconsin: Scott Walker* (R) vs. Tony Evers (D) 47% - Marquette University
AUDIBLE: FIRED UP AND READY TO... CONSULT HIS ATTORNEY
“To be honest, I haven’t made the final decision yet. And if I say I’m absolutely going to there are all kinds of legal ramifications. So let’s say I’m leaning strongly.” – Gov. John Hickenlooper, D-Colo., immediately after telling employees at a New Hampshire café that he was running for president.
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TOOT, TOOT, BEEP, BEEP
Palm Beach Post: “The Florida Commission on Ethics said it has found probable cause that Lantana Mayor David Stewart violated state statutes in a case where a resident alleged he said he’d ‘make sure’ her neighborhood would get speed humps, which she was petitioning the town for, if she had sex with him. … Stewart, Lantana’s mayor since 2000, has the option to settle the case or have a hearing before an administrative law judge to determine if he violated the statutes. … If he opts for the hearing, and it is determined he did violate the statutes, Stewart could face punishment ranging from a reprimand to suspension to removal from office. The most common penalty is a civil one… The penalty could be up to $10,000 per violation. The governor imposes the penalty based on the commission’s recommendation... Stewart has steadfastly denied the allegations.”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“I suspect that neither Jefferson’s Providence nor Washington’s Great Author nor Lincoln’s Almighty would look kindly on the exploitation of religious differences for political gain. It is un-American.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in the Washington Post on Dec. 7, 2007.
Chris Stirewalt is the politics editor for Fox News. Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.