A show of reality

Donald Trump and his surrogates can still find an obscure, outlier poll to argue that he’s in a dead heat. But campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, whose business is polling, agreed Sunday with the consensus of major surveys and political pros on both sides: “We are behind.”

Conway, on the talk show circuit, also argued that he can still win. “Go out on the road with Donald Trump and this election doesn’t feel over,” she said on CNN.

“We have a shot of getting those undecided voters that somehow have said, ‘I know who Hillary Clinton is, I don’t want to vote for her, I don’t much trust or like her.’ We need to bring them aboard over the next couple of weeks,” Conway said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

But a new ABC poll, which found Clinton was up 12 points nationally, indicated it’s Trump who is bleeding support and enthusiasm, with the share of registered Republicans who are likely to vote down 7 points since mid-October.

Clinton is ahead by 5.6 points in the RealClearPolitics average of recent polls.

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Conway — pressed on whether Trump served himself well in a Saturday speech in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, by talk about plans to sue women who accused him of sexual misconduct — said, “I think Donald Trump is at his best when he sticks to the issues.”

Lifting all boats

As her prospects for a big victory look stronger, Clinton’s campaign is adjusting its strategy to help Democrats win more congressional races, The Washington Post reported.

The hope is to give her a stronger hand if elected in pushing her legislative agenda. “Hillary recognizes, as we look at the past eight years, how important it is to have allies and like-minded elected officials who can just help get things done,” Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook told the Post.

The take-away: Not funny

Newsday’s Dan Janison looks back at Thursday’s Al Smith dinner, where Trump bombed and Clinton’s routine got a so-so response.

As Cardinal Timothy Dolan observed the next day, “The characteristic of the evening is self-deprecating, humble humor. And that seems to be a tougher and tougher goal to achieve.”

... so no shock here

The ABC poll found 74% of Americans thought it is somewhat to very important for the president to have a sense of humor, but their expectations for the 45th president are low.

Thirty percent of Americans say Clinton has the better sense of humor; 28% chose Trump. Forty percent said neither is funny. In contrast, 68% said President Barack Obama has a good sense of humor.

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Once a front-runner ...

Baseball fans may have a hard time reconciling Clinton’s display of enthusiasm for the World Series-bound Chicago Cubs if they remember she declared herself a Yankees fan during her 2000 run for the Senate from New York.

She gave this explanation for dual loyalties in a Chicago speech in 2014: “I couldn’t stay hitched with a losing team. ... I had to search for a team that would counterbalance the experience of losing every single year, so — I hate to say this, and I know you’ll boo me — I became a Yankees fan.”

More postseason trivia: Trump made an unsuccessful attempt in 1983 to buy the Cleveland Indians.

What else is happening

  • Clinton and first lady Michelle Obama will campaign together for the first time in North Carolina on Thursday.
  • Maybe it’s Trump’s way of balancing out his debate crack that Clinton is “a nasty woman.” He told a rally in Naples, Florida, that her campaign chairman, John Podesta, is “a nasty guy.”
  • Trump hinted in a Florida interview that he could reverse current diplomatic relations with Cuba upon taking office.
  • WikiLeaks-hacked emails show that Clinton was spurred to rev up her fundraising early in 2015 — with fewer constraints than Obama followed in 2012 — after hearing about Jeb Bush’s cash hauls, The Washington Post reported.
  • Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in a speech Sunday the U.S. presidential election offered a choice between “bad and worse.” He didn’t specify who was which.
  • "Apprentice" show staff had to work through the chaos wrought by Superstorm Sandy in 2012, they say. 
  • Having Trump atop the ticket is making it harder for Republicans running for the House in districts with large Latino populations, Politico reports.
  • Some residents of Trump Place, a luxury high-rise development on Manhattan’s West Side, want the name removed because it’s an “embarrassment,” BuzzFeed reported.
  • Obama called it 'too late' for down-ballot Republicans to withdraw their earlier Trump support.
  • At a rare Sunday rally, Trump said this:"When I’m president, this is to me, like, this is why I started. Are we glad that I started? Are we happy? ... Well, I’ll let you know on the evening of Nov. 8 whether I’m glad.”
  • Longtime Clinton ally Terry McAuliffe, the Virginia governor, gave $500,000 to the election campaign of the wife of an FBI official who later helped oversee the e-mail investigation, the Wall Street Journal notes
  • "As many Syrians as possible" is what Clinton "wants to take in," Trump tweeted Monday per a "secret tape", concluding: "We cannot let this happen - ISIS!" The format is not believed to suggest that ISIS signed his tweet.
  • Only Sheldon Adelson's Las Vegas Review Journal has backed Trump so far, among major newspapers.