U.S. ELECTION WRAP: New Polls Out Amid Oct. ‘Surprise’ Intrigue

The new month begins with an avalanche of revelations as both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton remain vulnerable to the proverbial "October surprise.''

Battleground Polls Show Narrowing Path for Trump

New post-debate polls show that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump remain in a tight race as October kicks off with a slew of revelations.

  • In North Carolina, a former conservative stronghold that’s evolved into a critical swing state, the two major party candidates are running neck-and-neck, a Bloomberg Politics poll found
  • Trump leads Clinton in Ohio, 47%-42%, while the Democratic nominee is ahead in Florida, 46%-41%, according to Quinnipiac University polling; see below for more new poll details
  • October -- famous for the proverbial election “surprise” -- has arrived and so far living up to its reputation; Trump was hit with a New York Times report about how he may have avoided taxes for almost 20 years, a story that arrived just as he ended what at least one Republican strategist said could be the “worst week in presidential history for any candidate” (see story by Bloomberg’s Sahil Kapur here)
  • Meanwhile, Clinton got a surprise in the form of leaked audio in which she talked about Bernie Sanders’ supporters as young people “living in their parents’ basement” who feel stuck in low-paying jobs
    • While Sanders was quick to say he saw no slight in Clinton’s remarks, the report from conservative website Free Beacon as well as the Trump tax documents -- which were secretly sent to the NYT in an envelope claiming to be from Trump Tower -- serve as a reminder that more leaked information could be in store as the presidential campaign moves into the home stretch
    • Fox News reported that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange canceled a planned London balcony address on Tuesday in favor of a video presentation in Berlin after his site developed “specific information” regarding his safety
    • Some Trump supporters have said they believe the announcement will be damaging to Clinton
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  • A new CNN/ORC poll shows Clinton ahead of Trump nationwide 47%-42%, with Libertarian Gary Johnson at 7% and Green Party nominee Jill Stein at 2%
  • In Pennsylvania, Clinton leads Trump 45%-41%; in North Carolina, she draws 46% support to Trump’s 43%, according to Quinnipiac University surveys
    • In North Carolina -- where the new Bloomberg poll shows Clinton with 46% and Trump at 45% -- the race is simply “too close to call,” Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, said in a statement
    • “Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are close when it comes to keeping their respective party bases,” he said. “They are tied among independent voters. He has a nine-point lead among men and she has a 13-point margin among women”
  • In the Bloomberg survey, Trump has a 26-point advantage in North Carolina among independents
  • Clinton got good polling news from Colorado as a Monmouth University survey showed her ahead of Trump 49%-38% among likely voters
  • Bloomberg’s Nafeesa Syeed looks at what misleading opinion polls in the cases of a Colombian peace deal and Brexit may portend for the U.S. presidential election; read story here
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  • Trump won’t release any new tax information in response to NYT story that he claimed a massive tax loss in 1995 which potentially allowed him to eliminate his federal income-tax bill for almost two decades, two people familiar with the campaign’s thinking told Bloomberg; see full story here
  • The Trump tax report predictably prompted Clinton to rip into her GOP rival, saying his possible tax avoidance reveal the real-estate magnate’s failures in business and how he’s gamed a “rigged” system
    • “Trump was taking from America with both hands and leaving the rest of us with the bill,” Clinton said Monday at a campaign rally in Toledo, Ohio. “He’s taken corporate excess and made a business model out of it”
  • Separately, the Donald J. Trump Foundation was ordered to stop fund-raising in New York and turn over all delinquent financial reports in the next two weeks or face possible fraud claims, the state attorney general’s office said in a letter to the presidential candidate’s institute
    • Trump campaign spokesman Jason Miller called New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman a “partisan hack who has turned a blind eye to the Clinton Foundation for years and has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president”; see full story
  • And more not-so-great Trump news: Associated Press reported that he repeatedly demeaned women on the set of his NBC show “The Apprentice,” a charge Trump’s campaign said is false
    • Such news follows what former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a Trump ally, called “a lost week” for the GOP nominee
    • Over the weekend, Trump speculated that Clinton may not be faithful to her husband, former President Bill Clinton; he also mocked his Democratic rival over being caught on camera being helped into a car during a bout of pneumonia
  • Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus on Monday sent out an e-mail to GOP supporters noting that Gingrich is right when he says Trump “wins” when he talks about “big ideas”
    • “It doesn’t just go for Trump. It goes for our entire Party”: Priebus
    • The RNC chair also sent out a survey asking what people think Republicans including Trump should focus on in the last weeks of the election; question #3 asks: “Over the next 36 days, should Trump spend more time focusing on the issues or attacking Hillary?”
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  • NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” opened its new season by lampooning the Sept. 26 presidential debate, with Alec Baldwin playing Trump; view here
  • Clinton in Ohio called out Wells Fargo and Wall Street’s “cowboy culture”; she is proposing a measure to curb “forced arbitration” clauses in contracts that make it difficult for workers to bring legal action against cos.
  • Trump, at a veterans event in Va., said as president he would create a joint task force to “crush” cyber attacks, rooting them out like law enforcement rooted out the Mafia
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SENATE RACES (Republicans have 54-46 majority)

  • RYAN ROAD-TRIPPING: Speaker Paul Ryan will make campaign stops this month for politically vulnerable Republican senators including Pat Toomey in Pa., Roy Blunt in Mo., and Ron Johnson in his home state of Wis., Politico reported
  • AZ: Republican Sen. John McCain and the National Republican Senatorial Cmte released TV ad saying Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick is “too liberal for Arizona” as it links her to the Affordable Care Act and Hillary Clinton
    • Kirkpatrick voted for ACA as a House member in 2009
  • IL: Republican Sen. Mark Kirk and Democratic Rep. Tammy Duckworth held their first debate today before Chicago Tribune editorial board
    • Kirk, who opposes Trump and occasionally bucks GOP leaders, said he’s seeking second full term to be “thoughtful, independent voice that always puts Illinois ahead of party"; noted his support for Export-Import Bank and desire to make his state an ‘‘export powerhouse”
    • Duckworth noted that she voted to repeal Affordable Care Act’s medical-device tax and opposed administration’s 2014 proposal to arm Syrian rebels; she also called for more spending on education and for changing tax laws to provide incentives for business owners to keep jobs in U.S. vs. shifting overseas
    • Nonpartisan political analysts rate Duckworth the favorite to unseat Kirk in Democratic-leaning state where Clinton should easily defeat Trump
  • NH: Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte and Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan will debate at 7 p.m. eastern time at New England College in Henniker; NECN will stream online
    • Ayotte in new TV ad is shown walking with her mother and daughter, as Ayotte says her mother is “my inspiration in the Senate” as she works to protect Social Security, Medicare, and the environment
  • NV: Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto said in statement that Supreme Court declining to revisit Obama’s stalled immigration plan is “significant setback for thousands of Nevada families that continue to live in fear of being torn apart”
  • WI: Democrat Russ Feingold raised $5.2m in Q3, according to campaign release
    • Feingold seeking to unseat Johnson in rematch of 2010 race

HOUSE RACES (Republicans have 246-186 majority)

  • CA-25: Republican Rep. Steve Knight and Democratic lawyer Bryan Caforio were scheduled to debate this afternoon on KHTS AM-1220, which planned to stream event on its Facebook page at 4 p.m. eastern time
    • Knight, Caforio seeking district that includes Santa Clarita and Palmdate and voted 50%-48% for Mitt Romney over Obama in 2012
  • FL-13: Democrat Charlie Crist poked fun at his fondness for fans in TV ad that emphasized his support for Social Security and Medicare, Planned Parenthood, and veterans’ benefits
    • Crist, Fla.’s former Republican governor who switched parties in 2012, seeking to unseat GOP Rep. David Jolly in Pinellas County district in and around St. Petersburg
  • MN-03: DCCC TV ad links Trump to Republican Rep. Erik Paulsen and says Paulsen “opposes equal pay and wants to criminalize abortion”
    • On pay equity, ad cites procedural vote in April 2015 related to a nonbinding budget resolution
    • Ad cites Paulsen’s vote in July 2012 for bill that would have banned abortions in Washington, D.C., after 20 weeks; Paulsen sided with most Republicans and 17 Democrats including Rep. Collin Peterson of Minn.
    • Paulsen opposed by Democratic state Sen. Terri Bonoff in suburban Twin Cities district evenly split between the parties
  • NY-19: Republican John Faso is a “career political insider” who won’t say if he’ll vote for Trump, and Democrat Zephyr Teachout is a “political insurgent” aligned with Bernie Sanders, New York Times reported from New Paltz
    • Teachout in TV ad ridiculed Republican ads describing her as “too dangerous” or wanting to raise property taxes, while referring to Republican John Faso as an “Albany lobbyist” who’s “part of everything that’s wrong with politics”
    • Teachout, a law professor, and Faso, a former state representative, seeking to succeed retiring Republican Rep. Chris Gibson in competitive Hudson Valley district
  • NY-21: Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik and Democratic challenger Mike Derrick will debate tonight at 7 p.m. on Time Warner News Cable
    • Competitive district is N.Y.’s largest in land area, includes state’s North Country and borders Vermont and Canada
  • NY-25: Democratic Rep. Louise Slaughter’s campaign released TV ad saying Republican Mark Assini’s “dangerous right-wing ideas” include tax cuts for the wealthy and opposition to hiking the minimum wage
    • Slaughter and Assini in rematch of 2014 race that Slaughter won by 871 votes; Democratic-leaning district includes most of Monroe County and all of Rochester