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POLL: Equal Treatment Prevails in Views on Gay Marriage

Charles Bertram/Lexington Herald-Leader/TNS via Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Most Americans say equality under the law trumps individual religious beliefs — a view that leads to broad support for requiring recalcitrant County Clerk Kim Davis to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples.

In general, 74 percent in this ABC News/Washington Post poll say that when a conflict arises, the need to treat everyone equally under the law is more important than someone’s religious beliefs. In the specific case at hand, 63 percent say Davis, of Rowan County, Kentucky, should be required to issue marriage licenses despite her religious objections.

See PDF with full results and charts here.

Davis was jailed briefly by a federal judge for refusing to obey his order to issue marriage license to gays and lesbians, as required by the Supreme Court’s decision on this matter in June. She was released after others in her office began issuing the licenses.

Among those who say Davis should be required to issue the licenses, 72 percent also favor the decision by U.S. District Judge David Bunning to jail her. That’s less than a majority of the public overall, however: 45 percent both say she should have to issue the licenses and support her jailing; 16 percent agree she should have to issue the licenses but oppose her being jailed; and 33 percent oppose her having to issue the licenses in the first place.

Davis was released last week, shortly before this survey, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, was fielded, after spending five days in jail for contempt. Upon her return to work Monday she did not prevent a deputy clerk from issuing a license to a lesbian couple.

Views on the line between religious beliefs and equality under the law are linked to preferences on this issue, but not exclusively. Among those who emphasize legal equality over religious beliefs, 74 percent say Davis should have to issue the licenses. Among those who see religious beliefs as more important, just 28 percent agree.

Majorities of Americans have supported gay marriage in ABC/Post poll consistently since 2011, with six in 10 saying so as recently as April. Opinions on the Supreme Court ruling were more closely divided, 52-44 percent in favor, in an ABC/Post poll in July.

Groups

Majorities prioritize legal equality over religious beliefs across many groups, including gender, age, race, education, income and region. Equality also prevails across party and ideological lines, save for “strong” conservatives and evangelical white Protestants, both of whom divide about evenly on the question.

Further, majorities of evangelical white Protestants and strong conservatives (61 and 66 percent, respectively) say Davis should not be required to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. That view also is more prevalent – without reaching majorities – among Republicans, those with less education and lower-income Americans, compared with their counterparts.

Support for the further step of jailing Davis peaks among liberals, those who are financially better off, college graduates, younger adults, Democrats and those who are not religiously affiliated.

Methodology

This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by landline …read more […]

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Hillary Clinton Does Her Best Donald Trump Impression

Scott Olson/Getty Image(DECORAH, Iowa) — Hillary Clinton has reached new levels with her attacks on Donald Trump.

During a campaign stop at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa on Monday, the Democratic presidential candidate mocked Trump’s “Make America Great Again” stump speech by doing her best impression of the billionaire Republican presidential front-runner.

In front of a crowd of college students, Clinton first went after the seriousness of Trump’s candidacy.

“I have to admit, Donald Trump is entertaining,” she conceded.

Trump is often criticized by his opponents for promising big results without explaining the policies he would use to achieve them. Clinton, who refers to Trump as the “flamboyant front-runner,” expressed mock regret that she couldn’t follow his lead.

“I have to say, I kind of wish I had this same sort of mentality,” she said.

Clinton then launched into a brutal imitation of Trump’s campaign rhetoric.

“Oh, listen, I don’t need to tell you anything. When I get there, peace will be breaking out everywhere, prosperity will be raining down upon you, we will have the new age,” she said, pretending to be the Donald.

Clinton concluded her assault on the real estate mogul by saying, “Well, I would like to do that. But I don’t think that is how a great democracy makes its decisions about who will lead us.”

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Large Protest Gathers in Dallas Outside Donald Trump Event

Tom Pennington/Getty Images(DALLAS) — Protesters and supporters of Donald Trump’s immigration policy face each other outside a rally for Trump in Dallas.

Donald Trump spoke to supporters in Dallas on Monday night where he hit his usual topics of building a wall separating Mexico and the United States, while also taking jabs at fellow GOP competitors.

Outside the rally at American Airlines Center, a huge protest broke out over immigration, with protesters against Trump chanting, “Dump the Trump,” and supporters of Trump telling the others, “Leave our country.”

The heated debate led to police mounted on horses storming the crowd, to try to push them into the street.

No one was arrested, and police have so far broken up the protest.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Hillary Clinton Responds to Drop in Support Among Women

Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images(CEDAR FALLS, Iowa) — Hillary Clinton brushed off a new poll number showing a significant drop in support among women on Monday, telling reporters at a campaign stop in Iowa that the numbers are simply part of the natural “ebb and flow” of campaigns.

“You know, I’m not one of those who ever thought this was going to be a straight shot,” the Democratic presidential candidate told reporters following a “Women for Hillary” rally at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls. “I’ve been and around enough campaigns to know there’s an ebb and flow. Polls go up and down, people’s attention and decision making changes over time.”

Clinton’s remark came in response to a reporter’s question about a new ABC News/Washington Post poll showing Clinton with 42 percent support among women — a 29-point drop since mid-summer. (In July, the poll showed Clinton with 71 percent support among women.)

In addition, the poll shows Clinton virtually neck-and-neck with Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in a hypothetical match-up.

Despite these dropping numbers, which many attribute in part to her handling of the email controversy throughout the summer, Clinton told reporters she remains “very confident” about the trajectory of her campaign.

“I feel very confident about where we are in the campaign and very committed to doing everything I can to make my case as effectively as possible to women and men, and I think that will be successful,” Clinton added at her event on Monday — the focus of which was women.

During her prepared remarks, which she delivered before a crowd of roughly 500 people at an auditorium on the college campus, Clinton outlined her plan to combat sexual assault on universities across the country.

“I want to send a message to every survivor of sexual assault,” Clinton said. “Don’t let anyone silence your voice. You have the right to be heard. You have the right to be believed, and we are with you as you go forward.”

Following the speech, Clinton was also asked twice — once by a 20-year-old sophomore at the university and once by a local reporter — about Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who is gaining on Clinton in the polls and seeing growing support among young people.

Clinton once again declined to note policy differences between the two candidates, but said she is not threatened by his surge.

“I’m not,” Clinton said when asked by a reporter if she is worried about him in Iowa. “I’m not because you’re supposed to have an election, you’re supposed to have a contest and I think it’s great there’s so much interest on the Democratic side.”

Earlier, Clinton noted that “he’s doing a great job” and said “there will be plenty of times for us to debate” (referring to the first Democratic debate next month).

Alexander Fox, the student who asked Clinton about Sanders, later told ABC News that he was hoping Clinton would have named some specific policy differences between the two candidates because he’s “kind of undecided.” But in the end, he’s “really …read more […]

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Bernie Sanders Gets Respectful Welcome at Conservative Christian College

Adam Bettcher/Getty Images(LYNCHBURG, Va.) — Liberty University, the conservative, religious college that has been a mainstay for Republican presidential hopefuls for decades, got its first visit of the 2016 election cycle from a Democratic presidential candidate on Monday.

A Christian rock band welcomed Vermont’s independent, fiercely liberal Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is the first Democratic candidate to accept the university’s standing invitation to all presidential contenders to address its student body.

At Liberty, the college where Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) announced his candidacy, Sanders did not placate or sidestep his on stance on social issues like gay marriage or abortion, but instead began his speech by asking the crowd to look past them.

“We disagree on those issues. I get that,” he said. “But let me respectfully suggest that there are other issues out there that are of enormous consequence to our country and the world and that maybe, just maybe, we don’t disagree on them.”

He went to challenge the student body to think about the morality of income and wealth inequality in the country, quoting scripture and Pope Francis.

The student body, who filled the large auditorium, most required to attend, listened quietly and respectfully throughout his remarks, but stood loudly and cheered in support for a question about abortion posed to Sanders.

“You’ve talked in your campaign about how it is immoral to protect the billionaire class at the expense of the most vulnerable in society – obviously children,” moderator David Nasser, the school Senior VP for Spiritual Development, said to Sanders. “A majority of Christians would agree with you…but would also go further and say that children in the womb need our protection even more.”

Sanders met the crowd’s passion in his response, saying loudly, “I understand this as an area where we disagree… But I would hope that other people respect the very painful and difficult choice that many woman feel they have to make and don’t want the government telling them what they have to do.”

In an interview earlier this month, Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr., son of famed evangelist and the school’s founder Jerry Falwell Sr., said he admired Sanders’s “courage” to come.

Rebekah Carley, 21, said she was proud of her school for listening politely.

“I think it will generate much needed conversation on campus,” she said in an interview with ABC News.

Her classmate DJ Marsh, a fan of Sanders, had the senator’s book in his hand. He said he worried his classmates tuned Sanders out. “Unfortunately, I think there are just too many single-issue voters here,” he said.

But way up in the nosebleeds, another sophomore, John Wringham, sat for a long time after the room emptied. Wringham said he was from a conservative, Republican family, but thought Sanders sounded wise and compassionate.

“I was just praying that everyone would be able to really soak it in,” he said, near tears. “I sense great compassion with him.”

“All Christians should be able to relate,” Wringham continued. “We should have that compassion for the lowly, the ones who are in need, the undesirables, …read more […]

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Congress’ Planned Parenthood Fight Complicated by Leadership Challenge

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — It could be a long September for House Speaker John Boehner.

The Ohio Republican must balance the demands of angry members who want to defund Planned Parenthood with the need to keep government funded beyond Sept. 30.

And he must do it against the backdrop of a looming threat to his speakership.

Republicans are upset about secretly recorded videos of Planned Parenthood officials discussing the sale of tissue from aborted fetuses, which Democrats claim are doctored and misrepresent the organization’s work.

The House will also vote later this week on two Planned Parenthood-related bills: one from Rep. Diane Black, R-Tennessee, to freeze federal funding for a year during congressional investigations, and another, from Rep. Trent Franks, R-Arizona, that targets medical providers that don’t extend services to babies that survive abortions.

But a growing number of Republicans want to link the issues of Planned Parenthood and government funding, saying they are willing to allow a partial shutdown of the government unless new funding is denied to the organization.

“Taxpayer dollars shouldn’t go there, not another penny,” said Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, a member of the House Freedom Caucus. “You have to use the power of the purse.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, has called that effort an “exercise in futility,” given that Senate Democrats can block any effort to punish Planned Parenthood with a filibuster.

He told Politico last week that he would support a “clean” funding resolution that wouldn’t defund the organization.

Boehner would have to send the Senate a clean measure with the help of Democrats: 31 Republicans have signed onto a July 30 letter from Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-South Carolina, pledging opposition to any measure that doesn’t defund Planned Parenthood. The conservative House Freedom Caucus has also promised the same.

“He either has to make a bad deal with Democrats, or shut the government down,” said Franks, arguing that Senate Democrats should be held responsible for any shutdown.

Boehner’s political calculation is made riskier by a potential vote to depose him introduced by Rep. Mark Meadows, R-North Carolina.

Meadows, who filed a symbolic measure protesting Boehner’s leadership in July, has said he or another conservative could force a vote to replace Boehner if they’re unhappy with his leadership through the month. It’s unclear how such a vote would shake out.

Boehner, who is supported by the majority of the conference, has faced resistance from House conservatives in the past. He dismissed Meadows’ challenge last week.

“I have widespread support amongst my members,” he told reporters. “The goal here is not to shut down the government. The goal is to stop these horrific practices of organizations selling baby parts.”

The Planned Parenthood debate comes a week after the House voted to reject President Obama’s Iran nuclear deal.

The conference shifted its longstanding strategy of dealing with President Obama’s agreement to contain Iran’s nuclear program after members signaled support for a more aggressive positions advocated by Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Illinois. Instead of a single vote of disapproval, Republicans ended up taking three votes to reject the agreement, and left the door …read more […]

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Carly Fiorina Releases New Ad ‘Faces’

Laura Segall/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Carly Fiorina, the newest addition to the upcoming GOP primetime debate, released an ad Sunday that features a Trump line of attack.

“Ladies, look at this face. Look at all of your faces. The face of leadership. The face of leadership in our party, the party of women’s suffrage. The face of leadership in your communities, in your businesses, in your places of work and worship,” the former Hewlett-Packard executive says in the ad.

“Ladies, note to Democrat Party: We are not a special interest group; we are the majority of the nation. This is the face of the 61-year-old woman. I am proud of every year and every wrinkle.”

The video is a counter to Trump’s comments he made about Fiorina in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine: “Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?”

Trump said he was talking about Fiorina’s “persona,” not her looks.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Scott Walker Calls for Eliminating Federal Unions

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — Scott Walker has unveiled a plan that would take his battle against unions national if he is elected president. Under the plan, Walker calls for eliminating “big-government unions” and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), a federal agency that overseas union elections and labor practices.

While the plan most directly affects federal public unions, it also advocates for a federal law that would make all states “Right to Work” by default, meaning union dues are optional for employees, and requires the states to opt out of their “Right to Work” status should they choose to do so.

“Workers deserve to have the freedom to choose whether they want to be in a labor union or not,” Walker says in the plan. “States would have to affirmatively vote to opt out of Right to Work status. Individuals should not have to pay union bosses for the right to earn a living.”

Walker also pledges that he will direct the Department of Labor to disclose to states how much they spend on collective bargaining in their states, so they can see “how much could be saved if they reformed those policies.”

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Improving Trend for Obama on the Economy

Isaac Brekken/Getty Images for National Clean Energy Summit(NEW YORK) — Numerically more Americans approve than disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling the nation’s economy, only the fifth time that’s occurred in ABC News/Washington Post polls since the second year of his presidency.

While the 49-47 percent division on his economic performance is within the poll’s margin of error, it’s a rare result: Obama’s been numerically in the black on this measure in just five out of 53 ABC/Post polls since 2010: that June, twice after his re-election in 2012, last March and now.

See PDF for full results.

The result reflects an easing of the public’s economic anguish, reflected by lower unemployment – from 10.0 percent after Obama took office to 5.1 percent now. It’s helpful to his overall job approval rating, now 49-46 percent, numerically positive for only the second time in two years.

Approval of Obama’s work on the economy is 14 percentage points higher than his career low, 35 percent in October 2011. His overall approval rating is 9 points above its low, in October 2014, and 16 points higher than George W. Bush’s at this point in his presidency.

This poll was conducted for ABC by Langer Research Associates. Two separate analyses have been released previously, one testing Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump, here, and another taking a fuller look at the 2016 election, here.

Obama’s virtually even scores leave him slightly shy of majority approval overall and on the economy alike. And intensity of sentiment remains against him – 10 points more have “strongly” negative than strongly positive opinions of his performance. Bush’s overall rating at this point – in the throes of the Iraq war – was strongly negative by a 33-point margin.

Among groups, the gender gap in Obama’s overall approval rating is the largest of his career: He has 56 percent approval among women, his highest in this group since January 2013, vs. 42 percent among men, four points from his low in September 2011.

Other differences are even sharper, for instance, 58 percent approval in the Northeast and West alike vs. 39 percent in the Midwest, 63 percent among young adults vs. 35 percent among seniors; 91 percent among blacks and 70 percent among Hispanics vs. 35 percent among whites; and 60 percent in urban centers vs. 31 percent in rural areas.

The sharpest gaps, of course, are political and ideological. At the high and low ends, 88 percent of liberal Democrats approve of his job performance, while just 7 percent of conservative Republicans agree.

Methodlogy

This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by landline and cellular telephone Sept. 7-10, 2015, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 1,003 adults. Results have a margin of sampling error of 3.5 points for the full sample, including the design effect. Partisan divisions are 33-22-35 percent, Democrats-Republicans-independents.

The survey was produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates of New York, N.Y., with sampling, data collection and tabulation by Abt-SRBI of New York, N.Y. See details on the …read more […]

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4 Things That Took Scott Walker From Frontrunner to Longshot Candidate

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — When Scott Walker entered the 2016 presidential contest, he was considered one of the most promising Republican contenders for the White House.

A governor with a record of conservative reforms in the purple state of Wisconsin, Walker launched to the top of the polls in Iowa following a fiery speech at January’s Iowa Freedom Summit and stayed there for the better part of the year. So when he officially entered the race in July, Walker seemed like a near shoe-in to win the first in the nation caucuses in the neighboring state.

But Monday, just two months after launching his campaign, the polls tell a very different story. Walker ranks near the bottom both nationally and in Iowa. A new ABC News/Washington Post poll ranks Walker with 2 percent support nationally, down from 11 percent midsummer. And in Iowa, Walker garnered just 3 percent in the latest Quinnipiac poll released Friday compared to 18 percent at the beginning of July.
While Walker’s campaign points out that his likability remains strong, such as Friday’s Quinnipiac poll giving Walker a 62 percent favorability rating, the narrative driven by polling has been a downward spiral for Walker’s White House ambitions. So what happened? Here’s a look at some of the factors that have contributed to Walker’s fall:

1. Trump’s Rise

Walker’s fall in the polls has coincided with Trump’s unpredictable rise.

Walker is not the only candidate to have taken a hit in the polls since Trump’s climb, but he has fallen the furthest. And it’s taken some of Iowa’s most seasoned political watchers, including the former chairman of the Iowa Republican Party Richard Schwarm, by surprise.

“Everybody including me fully expected him to be fighting it out in the top spot in Iowa and he still may,” Schwarm told ABC News. “He has a good organization and working hard, but the poll number collapse is mind boggling, and I don’t understand it.”

“The only thing that I can see is that when he made that speech in January that I felt was really inspirational,” Schwarm continued, referring to Walker’s speech at the Iowa Freedom Summit, “Iowans hadn’t seen Trump on the stump yet and he changed the dynamic.”

But if it’s a Trump-like candidate that the Republican electorate decides it wants, it’s hard to imagine how Scott Walker will again find appeal. In many ways, Walker is the anti-Trump. The Wisconsin governor has a low-key Midwestern persona and almost exclusively wears clothes bought on sale at Kohl’s department store. By comparison, Trump flaunts his lavish wealth and has found success in applying his brash style of doing business to the campaigning.

2. The First Debate

Walker’s lackluster performance in the first Republican debate on FOX News did not help his candidacy.
While Walker didn’t have a major stumble in the first debate, he also wasn’t able to break through and stand out on the crowded stage. Part of the problem of course was that he found himself standing beside Trump, but taken on its own merits, Walker’s performance came across to …read more […]