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Fox News Poll: Biden holds commanding lead among South Carolina Democrats

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Biden tells crowd he spent weekend celebrating granddaughter’s graduation with Obama

South Carolina Democratic primary voters, more than half of whom are expected to be African American, say former Vice President Joe Biden is the best candidate to handle racial issues.  Even among black voters, he bests California Sen. Kamala Harris, who pressed Biden on the issue during the first Democratic debate.  Biden apologized for remarks he made about working with segregationist senators in the 1970s at a Saturday campaign event in Sumter, S.C.

A Fox News Poll released Thursday finds Biden leading on an array of other key issues as well.

Overall, Biden garners 35 percent among South Carolina Democratic primary voters in the race for the party’s nomination — over twice the support of any other candidate.  Bernie Sanders receives 14 percent and Kamala Harris is close behind at 12 percent.

All others trail, including Elizabeth Warren (5 percent), Cory Booker (3 percent), Pete Buttigieg (2 percent), and John Delaney, Marianne Williamson, and Andrew Yang (1 percent each).  One in five is undecided — a group that includes twice as many women (25 percent) as men (12 percent).

CLICK HERE TO READ THE POLL RESULTS

South Carolina’s Democratic primary is Feb. 29, 2020.

Among black voters, Biden’s support hits 41 percent, with Sanders at 15, Harris 12, Booker 4, Warren 2, and Buttigieg, Tim Ryan, and Williamson at 1 percent each.

Among white voters, Biden receives 25 percent support, followed by Harris at 13, Sanders 12, and Warren 11.

Biden holds wide leads among voters over age 65 (+36 points), moderates (+25), and both men (+17) and women (+25).

Asked which candidate can best handle racial issues, the largest number (24 percent), pick Biden.  They also prefer him on the economy (36 percent), immigration (33 percent), and health care (32 percent).

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Harris comes in second on racial issues (21 percent) and immigration (12 percent) and is fourth on health care (8 percent, just behind Warren’s 9 percent) and the economy (6 percent, behind Warren’s 9 percent).

Sanders is second on the economy (15 percent) and health care (19 percent) and is third on immigration (11 percent, one point behind Harris) and racial issues (15 percent).

While Biden is preferred over Harris by 3 points on which candidate will best handle racial issues, his advantage increases to 10 points among black voters.  White voters pick Harris by nine.

When asked specifically whether Biden would be better or worse on racial issues than the other candidates, primary voters express confidence in the former vice president.  Thirty-four percent think Biden would be better, including 40 percent of blacks and 23 percent of whites.

Only 8 percent think Biden would be worse on racial issues than the other candidates, while 48 percent say about the same.

On which candidate is “most in touch with the concerns of people like you,” it’s Biden again:  28 percent compared to 17 percent for Sanders and 15 percent for Harris.  That also holds true among black voters:  Biden (31 percent), Sanders (17 percent) and Harris (16 percent).

“Getting poor reviews for a summer debate performance hasn’t undone the fact that Biden has a strong following among both white and black voters in South Carolina.  He’s the big dog there,” says Republican pollster Daron Shaw, who conducts the Fox News Poll with Democrat Chris Anderson.

By a 52-26 percent margin, South Carolina primary voters say supporting the candidate who can oust Donald Trump is more important than backing the candidate they like the most.

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Those prioritizing defeating Trump are significantly more likely to support Biden (41 percent) than Harris (14 percent) or Sanders (11 percent).  Biden also comes out on top, albeit by a much smaller spread, among those saying it’s more important to support their favorite candidate:  Biden (29 percent), Sanders (25 percent), Harris (11 percent) and Warren (8 percent).

More than 8 in 10 would be satisfied with Biden as the nominee, nearly 50 points more than the number who support him, and far more than would be satisfied with the other top candidates.

Overall, 83 percent would be happy with Biden winning the nomination, while 73 percent who would be satisfied if Sanders won, 68 percent Harris, 66 percent Warren, and 59 percent Booker.

Among black voters, 87 percent would be happy with Biden as the nominee, 79 percent with Sanders, 71 percent Harris, 66 percent Warren, and 62 percent Booker.

Eighty-nine percent of those satisfied with Harris as the nominee would be happy if Biden wins, while 73 percent of those satisfied with Biden would be okay with Harris.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

In 2016, Hillary Clinton topped Sanders by 73-26 percent in the Palmetto primary.

Conducted July 7-10, 2019 under the joint direction of Beacon Research (D) and Shaw & Company (R), this Fox News Poll includes interviews with 701 South Carolina Democratic primary voters who spoke with live interviewers on both landlines and cellphones and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.  Respondents were randomly selected from a statewide voter file and screened to identify potential participants in the Democratic presidential primary.

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Deep budget cuts put University of Alaska in crisis mode; ‘grappling with survival’

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) – The University of Alaska board of regents, facing deep budget cuts exacted by the governor that will eliminate about 40% of the university’s state funding, voted at an emergency meeting on Monday to declare the academic equivalent of bankruptcy reorganization.

The regents’ 10-1 vote puts the university into “financial exigency,” a status allowing administrators to summarily fire tenured faculty and other staff, close whole academic programs and even shut down entire campuses. Up to 2,000 employees could lose their jobs, University of Alaska President Jim Johnsen has said.

The drastic move is necessary, regents said, because of line-item spending vetoes by Republican Governor Mike Dunleavy that slashed $440 million from the budget passed by the state legislature, including $130 million from the university system.

Dunleavy, who took office in December and is an outspoken supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump, has called for major cuts in higher education, health care and other social programs as he pushes to sharply raise the annual oil revenue dividend that Alaska pays to nearly every state resident.

Lawmakers attempted on July 10 to reverse Dunleavy’s budget vetoes but failed to muster the required three-quarters vote to override the governor. The result, the regents said at their meeting, is tragic for the university.

  “Unfortunately, we are now grappling with survival,” said John Davies, the board of regents’ chairman.

Davies disputed Dunleavy’s assertion that sharp cuts to the university and other programs were necessary because Alaska faces a financial crisis.

“I believe it’s more of a political crisis. It’s some decisions that have been made by the governor and by a minority of the legislature,” he said.

The budget as passed by the legislature contained a surplus. Dunleavy imposed deep cuts, nevertheless, while pushing to nearly double the dividend paid to residents each year from oil revenues collected for the Alaska Permanent Fund.

Dunleavy’s proposal for a record $3,000 dividend this year, at a time of declining oil industry receipts, would cost the state an estimated $2 billion.

The University of Alaska operates its three main campuses in Fairbanks, Anchorage and Juneau, with 13 smaller satellite campuses in remote communities such as Nome, Bethel and Kodiak. The $130 million cut by the governor is more than the cost of running the entire Anchorage campus, Johnsen has said.

The university, especially the Fairbanks campus, is considered a world-class hub for Arctic and climate-change research, and some Dunleavy critics have accused the governor of targeting the university because of that.

“Some prominent conservatives deny the reality of human-caused climate change, and so curtailing UA research is great from their perspective,” Susan Henrichs, a former University of Alaska Fairbanks provost, said in a column published in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

Regents had considered declaring financial exigency a week ago but postponed their decision. Since then, Moody’s sharply downgraded the university’s bond rating, giving it a “negative” outlook.

Members of the legislature’s bipartisan majority coalition said they still hope to restore funding to the university and other programs.

Reporting by Yereth Rosen in Anchorage; Editing by Steve Gorman and Leslie Adler

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Trump announces ‘real compromise’ on budget deal with congressional leaders

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Trump announces 'real compromise' on budget deal with congressional leaders

The Trump administration and congressional leaders, including Democrats, have reached a critical debt and budget agreement, a deal that amounted to an against-the-odds victory for Washington pragmatists seeking to avoid politically dangerous tumult over fiscal deadlines, President Trump announced Monday.

The deal would increase spending caps by $320 billion relative to the limits prescribed in the 2011 Budget Control Act, whose provisions have repeatedly been waived year after year. It would also suspend the debt ceiling and permit more government borrowing until July 31, 2021 — after the next presidential election.

The arrangement all but eliminates the risk of another government shut down this fall, but already has been drawing the ire of fiscal conservatives saying it will lead to more irresponsible government spending.

Even some Democrats — including Vermont Sen. Patrick J. Leahy — were outraged, saying the bill would not block Trump from spending money on his proposed border wall.

“I am pleased to announce that a deal has been struck with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy – on a two-year Budget and Debt Ceiling, with no poison pills,” Trump wrote.

He added: “This was a real compromise in order to give another big victory to our Great Military and Vets!”

Democrats celebrated that, under the new deal, the domestic, non-military budget receives larger increases than the defense budget, when compared to last year. Democrats also lauded the deal’s allocation of $2.5 billion for the 2020 Census, to ensure that all residents are counted.

The deal, which must still pass Congress, also comes as budget deficits have been rising to $1 trillion levels — requiring the government to borrow a quarter for every dollar the government spends — despite the thriving economy and three rounds of annual Trump budget proposals promising to crack down on the domestic programs that Pelosi, D-Calif., has been defending.

It apparently ignored warnings from fiscal conservatives saying the nation’s spending has been unsustainable and eventually will drag down the economy.

“This agreement is a total abdication of fiscal responsibility by Congress and the president,” said Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a Washington advocacy group. “It may end up being the worst budget agreement in our nation’s history, proposed at a time when our fiscal conditions are already precarious.”

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Trump says deal reached on spending, debt limit

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Trump says deal reached on spending, debt limit

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks as he formally kicking off his re-election bid with a campaign rally in Orlando, Florida, U.S., June 18, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump said on Monday a two-year deal had been reached with congressional leaders to raise the Treasury Department’s borrowing authority and to set budget spending caps.

“I am pleased to announce that a deal has been struck with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy – on a two-year Budget and Debt Ceiling, with no poison pills,” Trump said on Twitter.

Reporting by Eric Beech; Editing by David Alexander

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