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Tom Kludt

Tom Kludt is a News Writer for Talking Points Memo based in New York City. A former research intern and polling fellow for TPM, Tom served as assistant polling editor for TPM Media's PollTracker during the 2012 campaign. Before joining TPM, he worked on political campaigns and wrote for various publications in Minnesota and his native South Dakota. Tom graduated summa cum laude from the University of South Dakota in May of 2010 with a B.A. in Political Science and History. He can be reached at tom@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Tom

The U.S. Senate race in Virginia could not be any tighter, a poll released Thursday night shows.

According to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist University poll, former Republican Sen. George Allen and ex-Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine are locked in a true dead heat, with each earning the support of 46 percent of likely voters in the Commonwealth  

Widely viewed as perhaps the most competitive race in the country, the contest between Allen and Kaine could ultimately be tied to the outcome of the presidential campaign in Virginia.  If that's the case, the Kaine camp will draw encouragement from the other side of Thursday's poll, which shows President Barack Obama holding a 5-point edge over Mitt Romney in Virginia. 

The PollTracker Average currently shows the Virginia senate race as a tossup, with Allen holding a narrow lead over Kaine, 47 percent to 45.5 percent.

 

More than half of voters nationwide attribute the country's current economic problems to former President George W. Bush and Republicans as opposed to President Barack Obama and the Democrats, a new poll released Thursday shows.

The latest release from CNN shows that 54 percent of likely voters think Bush and his Republican colleagues are more to blame for the still-sluggish national economy, compared with 38 percent who blame Obama and the Democrats.  

It should be noted that this is not a new trend.  CNN has found that at least 50 percent of Americans pin the lion's share of the blame for nation's economic woes on Bush and the GOP dating back to September of 2010.  

President Barack Obama holds an edge over Mitt Romney among men, women, independents and non-whites, while also reaching the 50 percent threshold overall, according to a new poll released Thursday. 

The poll, conducted by Langer Research Associates and commissioned by Esquire and Yahoo! News, shows Obama leading Romney among likely voters nationwide, 50 percent to 46 percent.  It's the latest evidence that Obama is riding momentum from the Democratic National Convention.  A CNN poll released earlier this week showed the president opening up a 6-point lead, while Obama hit the 50 percent mark in Gallup's daily tracking poll on Tuesday for the first time since April.

In the Esquire/Yahoo poll, Obama holds leads of 10 points among men, 12 points among women, 9 points among independents and 60 points among non-white voters.  The president also leads big among voters earning less than $50,000 a year, 59 percent to 33 percent.  Those sub-groups are all a part of the registered voter pool, as opposed to the narrower sample of likely voters.

Obama has gained separation from Romney over the last two weeks in the PollTracker Average, which currently shows the president up by 4.3 points, 49.1 percent to 44.8 percent.

 

President Barack Obama now claims a 10-point lead in Michigan, according to the first public poll conducted in the state since each party's convention. 

In the latest survey from in-state pollster EPIC-MRA, conducted on behalf of the Detroit Free Press and local ABC affiliate WXYZ-TV and released Wednesday evening, Obama claims the support of 47 percent of likely Michigan voters, while Mitt Romney trails with the support of 37 percent.  The previous release from EPIC-MRA — a snap poll conducted in late August — showed Obama clinging to a 3-point lead over Romney, 49 percent to 46 percent.

Polling in Michigan has been wildly divergent throughout the summer, with local firms often showing a dead heat and national pollsters typically showing Obama with a bit more breathing room, making it extremely difficult to get an accurate read on the race there.  Wednesday's poll comes on the heels of a survey conducted by Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling (PPP) immediately after the Republican National Convention, which showed Obama with a 7-point advantage over Romney in Michigan.

The findings of that PPP survey and Wednesday's EPIC-MRA poll comport with expectations in the state.  Although it is the former stomping ground of Romney, Michigan has been widely viewed as friendly territory to Obama, due to his administration's successful restructuring of the U.S. automotive companies.  The auto rescue figured prominently at last week's Democratic National Convention, most notably in a fiery speech by former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm on the final night.  

Obama currently boasts an 8.5-point lead over Romney in Michigan, according to the PollTracker Average, 48.2 percent to 39.7 percent.

 

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Tuesday offered a candid assessment of Mitt Romney's electoral chances in an interview with The Hill, saying the Republican nominee is "in trouble" if the race is decided by the increasingly diverse electorate in the United States.  Graham suggested that Romney's chances hinge largely on the nation's economy.  

“If I were Obama I’d be nervous about the economy, but if I were Romney I’d be nervous about demographics,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told The Hill on Tuesday. “The economic condition of the nation cries out for a change in leadership, but when you look at the map, demographics, they do matter. If this is an economic election, we’ll win, but if it’s a demographic election, we’re in trouble.”

 

 

Voters in Minnesota are sharply divided over a proposed constitutional amendment that would recognize marriage between a man and a woman as the only valid union in the state, according to a new poll released Wednesday. 

The latest release from Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling (PPP) shows that 48 percent of likely voters support the proposed same-sex marriage ban, which was adopted by the Republican-controlled legislature last year, while 47 percent are opposed.  In June, PPP found that 49 percent of Minnesota voters opposed the ban, compared with 43 percent who supported the amendment.  

Minnesota is one of four states that will vote on same-sex marriage in November, with the issue also appearing on the ballot in Washington, Maryland and Maine this year.  

The current PollTracker Average is comparable to the findings of Wednesday's poll, with 48.7 percent supporting the amendment and 45.7 percent opposed.

 

A new poll released Wednesday shows President Barack Obama holding a solid 11-point lead in New Mexico, undermining a recent claim by Mitt Romney's campaign that the presidential race is tightening there.

Conducted by Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling (PPP) on behalf of the League of Conservation Voters (LCV), the poll shows Obama earning the support 53 perent of likely New Mexico voters, while Romney trails with 42 percent support.  LCV has endorsed Obama in the 2012 election.

Neil Newhouse, a pollster for the Romney campaign, released a defensive memo earlier this week in an effort to rebut the notion that Obama has begun to pull away from his Republican challenger.  

In the memo, Newhouse cited a recent poll that was commissioned by the Albuquerque Journal, which showed Obama holding a 5-point edge over Romney in New Mexico.  While that poll did show a smaller lead for Obama than previous surveys, the president has still consistently held the upper-hand there and remains the clear favorite to pick up the state's five electoral votes — as evidenced by Wednesday's survey.  

The PollTracker Average currently shows Obama leading Romney by 9 points in New Mexico, 50.3 percent to 41.3 percent.  

 

 

A strong majority of Washington voters support a state initiative to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana, a poll released on Monday shows.

The latest poll from SurveyUSA, conducted on behalf of Seattle-based NBC affiliate KING-TV, shows that 57 percent of likely voters in the state support Initiative 502, which would legalize and regulate cultivation, distribution and possession of small amounts of marijuana for individuals 21 years and older.  Thirty-four percent are opposed.

Similar measures will also be brought to a vote in Colorado and Oregon this year.  

A Gallup poll conducted earlier this year found a majority of Libyans approved of the United States and favored the NATO mission that ultimately helped topple longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

The survey, released last month and conducted between March and April of this year, showed that 54 percent of Libyan adults approved of the job performance of U.S. leadership, compared with 30 percent who disapproved.  The European Union and United Kingdom received comparable approval ratings in the poll.

Additionally, the poll showed that 75 percent of Libyans favored the 2011 NATO military intervention, while only 22 percent were opposed.

Andrew Cuomo remains one of the most popular governors in the country, a new poll released Wednesday shows.

The latest poll from Quinnipiac University shows that 70 percent of New Yorkers approve of the job their Democratic governor is doing, compared with a mere 16 percent who disapprove.  Elected in 2010, Cuomo has claimed lofty approval numbers for virtually his entire first term.  According to Quinnipiac, his lowest mark came in February of last year, when a still-impressive 56 percent of of New York voters approved of Cuomo's job performance.  

Cuomo's popularity transcends party lines, with 66 percent of Republicans and 73 percent of Democrats statewide approving of his job performance in Wednesday's poll.  He also boasts a minimum approval rating of 69 percent among independents, men, women, whites, African-Americans and Latinos.  Moreover, Cuomo is as widely approved in the more conservative upstate New York (68 percent) as he is in the liberal New York City metro region (70 percent).

The PollTracker Average currently places Cuomo's approval rating at 67.6 percent.

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