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Tom Kludt

Tom Kludt is a reporter for Talking Points Memo based in New York City, covering media and national affairs. Originally from South Dakota, Tom joined TPM as an intern in late-2011 and became a staff member during the 2012 election. He can be reached at tom@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Tom

The Gallup organization on Tuesday defended its polling of the 2012 presidential election in a memo posted on its website. Frank Newport, editor-in-chief of Gallup and author of the memo, argued that the organization's final estimate of the national popular vote showing Mitt Romney with 50 percent to President Barack Obama's 49 percent was "well within the statistical margin of error."

Gallup's polling came under sharp scrutiny during the final stretch of the campaign for showing Romney with much wider national leads than other outlets. A study from Fordham University last week ranked Gallup as one of the least accurate pollsters in the 2012 cycle.

More from the memo:

As our tradition has been in presidential election years, Gallup's focus this year was on producing an estimate of the national popular vote. We don’t “predict” the election, nor do we make estimates of the Electoral College. In the end, Gallup's national popular vote estimate was that the popular vote was too close to call, a statistical tie -- 50% for Mitt Romney, 49% for Barack Obama. When the dust settled, Romney got 48% of the popular vote and Obama received 50%, meaning that Gallup’s percentage-point estimate was within two percentage points for Romney and within one point for Obama. The “gap” difference was three points. All of these are well within the statistical margin of error and underscore the accuracy of random sampling today, even with all of the challenges provided by changing forms of communication (i.e., cellphones), changing demographics, lowered response rates, identifying likely voters, and a wide variety of other factors.

 

Fifty-one percent of Americans believe that President Barack Obama and Congressional Republicans will fail to strike a deal in order to avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff," according to a new poll released Tuesday.

The survey, from the Washington Post and Pew Research Center, shows that only 38 percent believe an agreement will be reached while 11 percent have no opinion.

A failure to produce a deal before the January 1, 2013 deadline will trigger a host of automatic spending cuts and tax increases, something that 44 percent of respondents said would have a "major" effect on their personal financial situation. Sixty-eight percent believe that the more than $500 million in spending cuts and tax increases that would result from unsuccessful negotiations would also have a major effect on the economy.

The poll was conducted Nov. 8-11 using live phone interviews with 1,000 American adults. It has a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.

 

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) offered a frank asssessment of what he believes cost the Republican Party at the ballot box this year in an interview with Politico that ran Tuesday, suggesting that the GOP has come to be seen as too cozy with the wealthiest segment of the country.

“We’ve got to make sure that we are not the party of big business, big banks, big Wall Street bailouts, big corporate loopholes, big anything,” Jindal said. “We cannot be, we must not be, the party that simply protects the rich so they get to keep their toys.”

Ostensibly referring to the likes of Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) and Richard Mourdock, Jindal also noted that some Republican candidates inflicted harm on the party's image this year.

“It is no secret we had a number of Republicans damage our brand this year with offensive, bizarre comments — enough of that,” Jindal said. “It’s not going to be the last time anyone says something stupid within our party, but it can’t be tolerated within our party. We’ve also had enough of this dumbed-down conservatism. We need to stop being simplistic, we need to trust the intelligence of the American people and we need to stop insulting the intelligence of the voters.”


 

In an interview with WISN 12 News in Milwaukee on Monday, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) admitted that he and Mitt Romney were indeed caught off guard by the results of last week's election, claiming that the campaign's internal polling all pointed to a triumph for the Republican ticket.

"The polling we had. The numbers we were looking at looked like we stood a pretty good chance of winning," Ryan said. "So, when the numbers came in, going the other direction. When we saw the turnout that was occurring in urban areas which were really fairly unprecedented, it did come as a bit of a shock. So, those are the toughest losses to have -- the ones that catch you by surprise."

In Gallup's final pre-election poll earlier this week, President Barack Obama led among women voters by 12 points while Mitt Romney held an 8-point edge among men.

That, according to the national research organization, created the largest gender gap "since it began compiling the vote by major subgroups in 1952." The chart below, courtesy of Gallup, illustrates how the gender gap in this year's campaign stacks up historically.

According to Gallup, Obama's smaller margin of victory in 2012 was attributed to Romney performing more strongly among male voters than Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) did four years ago.

More from Gallup:

Notably, Obama's 12-percentage-point advantage among women is slightly less than the 14-point advantage he had over John McCain in 2008, while Romney improved on McCain's performance among men by eight points. Thus, the narrowing of Obama's winning margin between the two elections, from seven points to two points, can be ascribed mainly to men's shifting more Republican.

 

Vice President Joe Biden has thus far done little to suppress speculation that he could launch his own run to the White House at the end of President Obama's second term. On Thursday, he offered a clue on what might ultimately determine his decision: the health of the nation's economy in 2016.

“There’s plenty of time to think about 2016,” Biden said, quoted by the Wilmington News Journal. “We’ve got to get this economy working. If three years from now the economy is not working, it’s not going to be worth doing much. This is all about making Barack an incredibly successful second-term president. That’s my focus.”

Newark, N.J. Mayor Cory Booker (D) will reportedly make a decision soon on whether or not to challenge Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) in next year's gubernatorial election. 

According to a report in The Newark Star-Ledger on Thursday, Booker will finalize his plans by next month after he meets with prospective fundraisers on the West Coast to evaluate their level of support.

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