--CARSON AND TRUMP RISE WHILE CLINTON SINKS: Damaged by increased doubt about her honesty and empathy, Hillary Clinton has lost a third of her support for the Democratic presidential nomination in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, ABC's GARY LANGER reports. Meanwhile, non-politicians Donald Trump and Ben Carson have surged on the GOP side, commanding more than half the vote between them in a crowded field. abcn.ws/1OHSrG7
--TRUMP HITS NEW HIGH FOR ELECTION CYCLE: All told, among registered voters, 33 percent of Republicans and GOP-leaning independents now favor Trump for the nomination, with 20 percent for Carson - up 9 percentage points and 14 percentage points, respectively, since July. Jeb Bush has crumpled to 8 percent, down from a field-leading 21 percent in March and his first single-digit result in ABC/Post polls this cycle. Among others, Scott Walker's tumbled to 2 percent, down 11 points since midsummer. Even as Trump's lead for his party's nomination has grown, six in 10 Americans see him as unqualified to serve as president and as many say he lacks the personality and temperament to succeed in the job. abcn.ws/1OHSrG7
--HILLARY CLINTON CONTINUES HER DOWNWARD SPIRAL: In the Democratic contest, Clinton's drop is dramatic, yet not enough to threaten her clear lead. She's supported by 42 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents who are registered to vote, down from 63 percent in July, while Sanders has gained 10 points, to 24 percent, and Joe Biden's up by 9 points, to 21 percent. Her support in the primary has tanked in particular among women, previously a mainstay of her candidacy, from 71 percent in July to 42 percent now. abcn.ws/1OHSrG7
--SCOTT WALKER CALLS FOR ELIMINATING FEDERAL UNIONS: Scott Walker has unveiled a plan that would take his battle against unions national if he is elected president, ABC's JORDYN PHELPS notes. 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 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."
TODAY ON THE TRAIL with ABC's RYAN STRUYK
On the heels of an ABC News/Washington Post poll that shows Hillary Clinton losing her advantage among women, the Democratic frontrunner heads to the first-in-the-nation caucus state of Iowa for two events with Democratic women this afternoon in Cedar Falls and Decorah. The Republican frontrunner Donald Trump will be in the spotlight again tonight with an rally in Dallas, Texas at a sold-out American Airlines Center.
And Bernie Sanders, who leads Clinton in New Hampshire and has eliminated her lead in Iowa according to polls last week, is now turning his attention to Virginia, wading into normally conservative territory with an event at Liberty University and then a rally later that night.
Meanwhile, Scott Walker, who has now faded into the background of the GOP race, holds as town hall in Las Vegas, Nevada, while canceling events in other states this week to return to Iowa and New Hampshire in an effort to win back the spotlight. Chris Christie is in New Hampshire for two events.
THE BUZZ with ABC's VERONICA STRACQUALURSI
CARLY FIORINA SUPER PAC RELEASES NEW AD 'FACES.' The super PAC for Carly Fiorina, the newest addition to the upcoming GOP primetime debate, released an ad yesterday that features a Trump line of attack, ABC's VERONICA STRACQUALURSI notes. "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. 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. http://bit.ly/1Y1EGrY
IN CHURCH, HILLARY CLINTON LEARNS TO BE 'NICER TO THE PRESS.' Hillary Clinton is looking to scripture to change her tune with the press. During remarks yesterday morning at the Foundry United Methodist Church in Washington, D.C., where Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton were celebrating the church's 200th anniversary, the Democratic presidential candidate said she got some blunt campaign advice from her former pastor, ABC's LIZ KREUTZ reports. "I got some advice from Dr. Wogaman just earlier this morning, which I promise I will put into effect," Clinton, a lifelong Methodist, remarked from the pulpit, referring to former pastor J. Philip Wogaman. "Basically he said, if you're going to read and listen to Romans 12 you got to be nicer to the press." During her speech, Hillary Clinton, who described herself Sunday as a "Methodist both by birth and by choice," thanked the church for being a place where the Clintons "could worship, study, contemplate, be of service, get some good pastoral advice and step outside all the commotion of life in the White House in Washington." http://abcn.ws/1F7osqX
BEN CARSON SAYS HE FEARS FOR FUTURE OF US WITHOUT CHANGE IN DIRECTION. Surging Republican presidential Ben Carson, who has been feuding with rival Donald Trump this week, expressed his concern for the future of the United States yesterday, saying he fears the country "may not survive the future" without a change of direction. The retired neurosurgeon said his comments were not directly aimed at supporters of Trump, but rather voters all across the country, according to ABC's KATHERINE FAULDERS. Carson is second to Trump in several polls in national and early-voting states. "I'm going after everybody in America because, you know, we live in very perilous times," he said on ABC's "This Week." "Our country is in grave danger and if we don't begin to change our direction and change our attitude, I think we may not survive the future." http://abcn.ws/1QazIDi
WHO DONALD TRUMP AND OTHER 2016 CANDIDATES MIGHT CHOOSE TO BE VICE PRESIDENT. The fight for the 2016 presidential nomination is in full swing, but that isn't the only race that's starting to heat up. Although it will be a while before each party's eventual nominee picks a running mate, there are no shortage of choices -- both realistic and more far-fetched. There are even a few who have been pitching themselves for the job. ABC's MADISON JAROS and PAOLA CHAVEZ look at some of the potential contenders for the No. 2 slot on the presidential ticket. http://abcn.ws/1Mi9YHe
'CASE DISRUPTED' AHEAD OF POPE FRANCIS VISIT TO US, SAYS HOUSE HOMELAND SECURITY CHAIR. The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee expressed his concern yesterday about security ahead of Pope Francis's visit to the United States later this month, adding that authorities have already "disrupted one particular case." Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) didn't offer specifics on the case he said was disrupted, only saying he had been briefed by the Secret Service. The pope is scheduled to arrive in the U.S. later this month and will visit New York, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia, ABC's BENJAMIN BELL notes. "The Pope is a very...passionate man. He likes to get out with the people and with that comes a large security risk," McCaul said Sunday on ABC's "This Week." "We are monitoring very closely threats against the pope as he comes into the United States. We have disrupted one particular case in particular, but as that date approaches, I think we're all very, being very vigilant to protect him as he comes into the United States." http://abcn.ws/1J615Jn
HAPPENING TODAY -- OBAMA'S LATEST EFFORT TO MAKE COLLEGE MORE AFFORDABLE. In Iowa today President Obama will announce that he's changing the federal grant system to allow college students to apply for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) earlier, ABC's ALI WEINBERG notes. Beginning in 2017, students will be able to apply as early as October 1, 2016, when under the old system they would have had to wait until January. The hope is that more students will apply if they can start earlier.
CONGRESS TURNS TO PLANNED PARENTHOOD. The House will vote on two Planned Parenthood bills by the end of the week, ABC's BEN SIEGEL reports. The first, from Rep. Diane Black, R-Tennessee, would freeze federal funding to the organization for a year. The second, from Rep. Trent Franks, R-Arizona, would open medical providers up to criminal penalties for refusing to provide care to babies that survive abortions. While both are expected to pass through the House, neither is expected to satisfy House conservatives who want to defund Planned Parenthood in a continuing resolution Congress will have to pass to avert a government shutdown. House GOP leaders haven't yet announced their strategy to avoid a shutdown.
5 STORIES YOU'LL CARE ABOUT IN POLITICS THIS WEEK. Sorry may be the hardest word, if you're Hillary Clinton. But that may be better than nobody knowing your name, which was the case for Martin O'Malley in Independent Journal's video of him strumming a guitar on Wall Street this week. So let's raise our hands and take our overrated doctors and our boring selves. Let's put them all together on a slightly bigger stage, for Round Two of the Republican debate season. It will be in a house that Reagan built, but we'll see how long his famous commandment holds. ABC's RICK KLEIN highlights the five stories the ABC News political team will be tracking in the week ahead. http://abcn.ws/1OMS64Y
INSIDER VS. OUTSIDE MATCHUP FINDS CLINTON, TRUMP NEAR EVEN. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump run essentially evenly among registered voters in a head-to-head matchup for president in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll released Sunday, testament to the strength of party loyalty as well as to Trump's anti-establishment profile and anti-immigration views. The hypothetical contest stands at 46-43 percent, Clinton-Trump, a gap that's within the survey's margin of sampling error. That compares to a clear Clinton lead among all adults, 51-39 percent, indicating her broad support in groups that are less apt to be registered to vote, such as young adults and racial and ethnic minorities. Notably, in the general election matchup, Trump leads by 52-37 percent among men, while Clinton leads by 55-34 percent among women. ABC's GARY LANGER has more. http://abcn.ws/1F2cyyq
WHAT WE'RE READING
FROM THE WASHINGTON POST: WAS TRUMP UNIVERSITY A SCAM? They hoped to get rich off real estate, and who would be a better mentor than one of the richest men in the world? So they enrolled in Donald Trump's university to learn the tricks of the trade, some of them maxing out their credit cards to pay tens of thousands of dollars for insider knowledge they believed could make them wealthy. Never licensed as a school, Trump University was in reality a series of real estate workshops in hotel ballrooms around the country, not unlike many other for-profit self-help or motivational seminars. Instead of a fast route to easy money, these Trump University students say they found generic seminars led by salesmen who pressured them to invest more cash in additional courses. The students say they didn't learn Trump's secrets and never received the one-on-one guidance they expected. http://wapo.st/1EWX7ry
FROM BLOOMBERG: BIDEN SECRETLY MEETS WITH TOP OBAMA BUNDLER: The meeting appeared nowhere on his public schedule. It was held in secret at his hotel in Midtown Manhattan and lasted for more than 90 minutes: a private, one-on-one session with one of the most prominent and powerful fundraising stars in the Democratic firmament - a mega-bundler who happens to be, at least for now, publicly committed to Hillary Clinton. The bundler in question was Robert Wolf: the former chairman and CEO of UBS Americas, a prodigious buck-raker on behalf of Barack Obama in two successive campaigns, a four-time appointee to economic panels in the Obama administration, and perhaps the only person in the American business community -- and certainly the sole Wall Street potentate -- with whom Obama during his time in office has developed a deep and genuine friendship. http://bloom.bg/1EXsAKj
CAMPAIGN 2016 JUST GETTING STARTED: FIVE MYTHS ALREADY. Over the years many myths have developed in politics, and I have written in the past how they get repeated and promulgated as if they are the unvarnished truth, MATTHEW DOWD writes in his latest column. These aren't the deep myths that Joseph Campbell has written and talked about that signal some universal truth about humanity. These are political myths which take us further from truth. http://abcn.ws/1M5mIyf
@GeorgePataki: Let me be very plain, I'm not going to vote for @realDonaldTrump ...He is unfit to be president @chucktodd @meetthepress @FoxNewsSunday #MTP
@AaronBlakeWP: Pretty remarkable that even the "momentum" candidate in the race -- Fiorina -- is at 2% in new Post/ABC poll
@KSoltisAnderson: If they added a "talent component" to the next GOP debate, I would love to see what each of the candidates would choose.
@JimWebbUSA: Letter to the Editor: Webb is a serious candidate http://bit.ly/1QAaEGP #WebbNation
@RyanStruyk: Clinton in ABC/Post polls: 10/12/14 - 64% 12/14/14 - 61% 3/29/15 - 66% 5/31/15 - 62% 7/19/15 - 63% **9/10/15 - 42%** http://abcn.ws/1OHSrG7