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

Republican nominee Mitt Romney leads President Barack Obama by 2 points, according to a new national survey from Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling (PPP).

The poll, conducted on behalf of Daily Kos and Service Employees International Union (SEIU) in the days following last Wednesday's debate, shows Romney edging Obama among likely voters nationwide, 49 percent to 47 percent.  Obama held a 4-point lead in last week's PPP survey.  Romney also took a big chunk out of the president's 15-point lead among women from a week ago.  PPP now shows Obama leading by only 6 points among female voters.

But Markos Moulitsas, founder of Daily Kos, noted in a corresponding blog post that the majority of the poll's interviews were conducted on Thursday and Friday, arguably the apex of the post-debate buzz.  Moulitsas said Romney defeated Obama on those days by 2.5 points, but the former Massachusetts governor's edge subsided over the weekend — and after Friday's encouraging jobs report.   

The PollTracker Average reflects Romney's post-debate gains and currently shows him with a lead over Obama, 48.8 percent to 46.4 percent.


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Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) has taken the lead in the marquee U.S. Senate race playing out in Massachusetts, according to a new poll out Tuesday.

The latest survey from MassINC Polling Group shows Brown leading Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren among likely Bay State voters (including leaners), 48 percent to 45 percent.

Tuesday's poll runs counter to what has been a persistent trend, with most surveys over the last month showing Warren outpacing Brown.  In fact, Warren led by 4 points in MassINC's late-September poll.  

The PollTracker Average still shows Warren holding a lead over Brown, 48.2 percent to 44.2 percent.



Correction: This post originally used the topline that excluded voters who are leaning toward a candidate, which showed Brown leading, 47 percent to 43 percent.  It has now been updated to highlight the sample that includes leaners, which shows Brown leading by 3.

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Former state attorney general and Democratic nominee Heidi Heitkamp is tied with Rep. Rick Berg (R-ND) in North Dakota's tight Senate race, according to a new poll released Monday night.

The latest poll from Mason-Dixon shows Heitkamp and Berg each earning the support of 47 percent of the state's likely voters.  Both candidates are well-know among voters, and both are viewed favorably.  Heitkamp is viewed favorably 46 percent of North Dakota voters, compared with 35 percent who view her unfavorably.  Forty-two percent have a favorable view of Berg, while 37 percent have an unfavorable view.  

Berg was elected to the House only two years ago after defeating long-time Democratic Congressman Earl Pomeroy.  Heitkamp has been largely out of politics since her defeat in the state's 2000 gubernatorial election.  The two are vying to replace outgoing Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND).  

Despite its competitive nature, the North Dakota Senate race has been lightly polled.  In fact, Monday's survey from Mason-Dixon is one of the only polls of the race that wasn't commissioned by a campaign or political party.  The PollTracker Average currently shows Heitkamp narrowly edging Berg.


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Even after a successful performance in the first debate, Mitt Romney is still not viewed as favorably as President Barack Obama, according to a new poll released Tuesday.

The latest poll from ABC News and the Washington Post shows that 47 percent of registered voters view Romney favorably.  That represents a new high for the Republican nominee this election cycle, according to ABC/WaPo.  Fifty-one percent have an unfavorable view of the former Massachusetts governor.  

Obama, however, still trumps his GOP challenger in this category.  Fifty-five percent of voters said they have a favorable view of the president — his highest mark since the spring of 2010 in ABC/WaPo's polling — compared with 44 percent who have an unfavorable view.  Long his most sterling characteristic as a politician, Obama's favorability rating appeared to suffer from the post-debate fallout in Monday's poll from Pew Research Center.  It was the rare survey that showed Romney boasting a better favorability rating — albeit by a narrow margin — than Obama.

The poll was conducted Oct. 4-7.  ABC/WaPo's pollsters noted that Romney saw an immediate bump on the day following the Oct. 3 debate, but that his surge leveled off over the weekend. 

Below, the PollTracker Average shows the disparate favorability ratings of Obama and Romney.


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In the first national poll to be conducted entirely after the opening presidential debate, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney now leads President Barack Obama by 4 points.

The poll, conducted by Pew Research Center from Thursday through Sunday and released on Monday, shows Romney leading Obama among likely voters nationwide, 49 percent to 45 percent. That's a stark contrast from Pew's mid-September poll after both parties' conventions, which showed Obama up 8 points among likely voters.

The dramatic 12-point swing in Pew's poll from Obama to Romney is perhaps the strongest piece of evidence to date that the president has paid a political price for his listless performance in the Denver debate. But the complete suite of post-debate surveys from national pollsters is only beginning to emerge, and the early indications are of a less dramatic shift than what Pew is showing.

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Mitt Romney has taken a big slice into President Barack Obama's once-solid lead in Michigan, a new survey released Monday by a prominent in-state pollster shows.

The latest poll from Lansing, Mich.-based firm EPIC-MRA, conducted entirely after last Wednesday's debate on behalf of the Detroit Free Press, shows Obama holding a small lead over Romney among likely Michigan voters, 48 percent to 45 percent.  

That's within the poll's margin of error of 4 percentage points and a sharp dip from EPIC's poll a month ago, which showed the president boasting a 10-point lead in the Great Lake State, where many expected Obama to receive a big boost from his administration's successful restructuring of the U.S. automakers.

The PollTracker Average continues to show Obama in a strong position in Michigan, where he currently leads by nearly 7 points.


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President Barack Obama leads Mitt Romney by 5 points among registered voters and boasts an approval rating above 50 percent, according to Monday's daily tracking numbers from Gallup.

In the head-to-head, Obama outpaces Romney, 50 percent to 45 percent. But that 5-point margin is based on responses gathered during the tracking period of Oct. 1-7, which means that it was partially conducted before the Oct. 3 debate and partially after Friday's jobs report.

Obama's approval rating may serve as a fresher indicator of the state of the race. Using a 3-day rolling average, the latest approval rating from Gallup is based on the tracking period of Oct. 5-7, which encompasses the aftermath of the first debate and the two days that immeidately followed the jobs report. Fifty-one percent of American adults surveyed in Monday's release approve of the president's job performance, compared with 44 percent who disapprove.

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A referendum to legalize same-sex marriage in Washington is a strong favorite to pass next month, according to a new poll released over the weekend.

The poll, conducted by SurveyUSA and commissioned by KING-5 News in Seattle, shows 55 percent of likely voters support Referendum 74, which would affirm a law signed by Gov. Christine Gregoire (D) in February that made Washington the seventh state to legalize marriage for same-sex couples.  Only 40 percent are opposed to the measure.

Polls have consistently shown around 50 percent support for Referendum 74, as evidenced by the PollTracker Average. 


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Mitt Romney's post-debate bounce found by Republican-leaning pollster Rasmussen's over the weekend appears to have tapered off.  

In Rasmussen's Saturday release of its daily tracking poll, Romney led President Barack Obama among likely voters, 49 percent to 47 percent — a reverse from Obama's 2-point edge found in the previous day's release.  Based on a 3-day rolling average, Saturday's release was based on findings from Wednesday through Friday, which means that it included some pre-debate responses.

Obama and Romney each draw the support of 48 percent of likely voters in Monday's poll, which is based on responses gathered Oct. 5-7.  That tracking period encompasses both the aftermath of the Oct. 3 debate and the two days following Friday's solid jobs report.  

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Mitt Romney erased a 5-point deficit to tie President Barack Obama in the period after last week's first debate, according to Gallup's tracking poll.

Among registered voters surveyed in the three days immediately following the Oct. 3 debate in Denver, Obama and Romney each earn the support of 47 percent.  In the pre-debate tracking period — Sept. 30-Oct. 2 — Obama held a solid lead over his Republican challenger, 50 percent to 45 percent.

An additional poll by Gallup also shows that the public overwhelmingly identifies Romney as the winner of the opening debate: 72 percent of debate watchers gave the edge to Romney, compared with only 20 percent who said Obama did a better job.  According to the poll, conducted Oct. 4-5, approximately two out of three Americans said they watched the debate.  

The 52-point win for Romney in the debate is the largest that Gallup has ever found in its post-debate polling, topping former President Bill Clinton's 42-point win following the town hall debate in 1992.

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