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

More than half of registered voters nationwide prefer President Barack Obama over Mitt Romney to handle issues related to Medicare, according to a new poll from USA Today and Gallup released Monday.

The poll shows that 51 percent of voters across the country prefer Obama to preside over the nation's health care system for senior citizens, while 43 percent prefer Romney.  Voters in swing states give the nod to Obama on Medicare by a similar margin, 50 percent to 44 percent.  Gallup's swing state sample includes voters in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.    

The issue of Medicare was viewed by many as a potentially problematic policy area for the Republican ticket after Romney's selection of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) as his running mate in August.  Ryan's much-ballyhooed budget proposal, widely celebrated on the right, included a provision to turn Medicare into a voucher program, a proposal that has proven to be consistently unpopular among voters.  

The PollTracker Average shows Obama gaining separation from Romney on the issue of Medicare this month, after the two candidates were running evenly on that for much of August.  


U.S. House Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-MT) leads Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) in Montana's hotly contested U.S. Senate race, according to a new poll released over the weekend.

The poll, conducted by Mason-Dixon on behalf of Lee Newspapers, shows Rehberg, the state's lone member of the House of Representatives, earning the support of 48 percent of likely voters, compared with 45 percent who give the nod to the Democratic incumbent.  The state's junior senator, Tester was elected in 2006 after narrowly defeating former Republican Sen. Conrad Burns.  

Rehberg currently holds a slim lead over Tester in the PollTracker Average, 46.3 percent to 45 percent.


President Barack Obama holds a 3-point lead over Mitt Romney nationally, according to a new poll out Monday.

The latest Politico/George Washington University poll shows the presidential race almost exactly as it has been for months: Obama claiming a narrow but consistent lead, while Romney lags with low personal popularity.  In the poll, Obama leads Romney among likely voters, 50 percent to 47 percent — slightly larger than the 1-point lead he held over the Republican nominee in the previous Politico/GWU poll in early August and within the latest poll's 3.1 percent margin of error.

Romney's favorability rating has slipped under water since August, when 46 percent of likely voters viewed the Republican nominee favorably and 46 percent viewed him unfavorably.  Today, 46 percent of voters still have a favorable view of Romney, but the number of voters who view him unfavorably has ticked up to 49 percent.  

Obama's favorability rating has improved from 50 percent a month ago to 53 percent in the latest poll, compared with 45 percent who view the president unfavorably (down 2 points from August).  And the president barely leads Romney on the question of who is best-suited to preside over the economy, 49 percent to 48 percent.  The former Massachusetts governor led by 5 points on that same question last month.

The PollTracker Average currently shows Obama holding a 2.5-point lead over Romney, an advantage that has dipped since the period immediately following the Democratic National Convention.


Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) on Friday expressed "frustration" with how Mitt Romney's campaign has operated since the early-August addition of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) to the Republican ticket.  

In an interview with a local radio station, Walker said the Romney campaign needs to use his fellow Wisconsinite "more effectively" on the campaign trail.

“I thought [picking Ryan] was a signal that [Romney] was getting serious, he’s getting bold, it’s not necessarily even a frustration over the way Paul Ryan’s been used but rather in the larger context. I just haven’t seen that kind of passion I know Paul has transferred over to our nominee, and I think it’s a little bit of push-back from the folks in the national campaign. But I think for him to win he’s gotta [do] that.

“They not only need to use [Ryan] out on the trail more effectively, they need to have more of him rub off on Mitt because I think Mitt thinks that way but he’s gotta be able to articulate that…I think too many people are restraining him from telling [his vision].”

H/T Politico 

President Barack Obama's yawning post-convention lead over Mitt Romney has extended to 7 points, according to two new polls released Friday.

Each poll shows the president earning the support of at least 50 percent of likely voters, while also showing a low level of support for Romney.  The Heartland Monitor Poll, conducted by FTI Consulting on behalf of All State and the National Journal, shows Obama leading Romney, 50 percent to 43 percent.  Obama's approval rating also hits 50 percent in the poll, while 46 percent of likely voters disapprove of the job he's doing as president.  

The new Reason-Rupe poll, conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, shows Obama outpacing Romney among likely voters, 52 percent to 45 percent.  That includes undecided respondents who are leaning toward one candidate.  As has been the case throughout the campaign, the poll shows Obama with a decided edge over Romney on personal popularity.  

Fifty-two percent of voters surveyed say they have a favorable view of Obama, compared with 45 percent who have an unfavorable view.  Romney, on the other hand, is viewed favorably by only 41 percent of voters nationwide, while 49 percent view the former Massachusetts governor unfavorably.  And the poll shows that a central theme of the Romney campaign could be falling flat: 44 percent of voters say they are better off than they were four years ago, compared with 41 percent who say they are worse off and 14 percent say they are about the same.

Obama has now opened up a 5-point lead over Romney in the PollTracker Average, the president's largest lead over his challenger since the height of the Republican nomination contest.  While the average shows Obama inching closer to the 50 percent threshold, Romney has been trending downward since the beginning of the month.


President Barack Obama leads Mitt Romney by 5 in Wisconsin, a new poll released Thursday evening shows.

The latest poll from NBC News, Marist University and the Wall Street Journal shows Obama with a solid lead over Romney among likely voters in Wisconsin, 50 percent to 45 percent.  

Obama's 5-point lead is slimmer than the margins shown by other polls out of Wisconsin this week, including one released Wednesday by Marquette University Law School that showed the president boasting a 14-point lead over Romney there.  But Thursday's poll still cements Obama's increasingly strong standing in the Badger State.  Fifty-one percent of likely voters have a favorable impression of Obama, compared with 44 percent who have an unfavorable view.  

A plurality of Wisconsin voters, 46 percent, have an unfavorable view of Romney, compared with 43 percent who view the Republican nominee favorably.  On the other hand, Romney's running mate, Paul Ryan, is still personally popular among his fellow Wisconsinites: 49 percent have a favorable view of the House Budget Committee Chairman, compared with 40 percent who have an unfavorable view.

The PollTracker Average currently shows Obama leading Romney in Wisconsin, 51.1 percent to 44.7 percent.


President Barack Obama holds a 3-point edge in Nevada, according to a new poll released Thursday.

In the latest poll from CNN, Obama leads Mitt Romney among likely voters in the state, 49 percent to 46 percent.  

Obama carried Nevada by nearly 13 points in 2008, and he has consistently led there throughout the current campaign.  But recent polling shows a tightening in the Silver State, as Romney has steadily made gains there since the end of July.

The PollTracker Average shows that Nevada still slightly favors Obama, who leads by 3 points, but also illustrates that the president has lost the larger advantage he claimed earlier this year.


Another poll released Thursday shows President Barack Obama leading in Wisconsin.

Obama leads Mitt Romney among likely Wisconsin voters, 52 percent to 45 percent in a new poll from Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling. The 7-point gap is the president's largest lead in Wisconsin since February, according to PPP. It's also a big jump since last week, when PPP showed Obama clinging to a 1-point lead there.

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A ballot measure to make same-sex marriage legal in Maine earns the support of more than half of voters, a new poll released Thursday shows, but the race appears to be tightening. 

The latest survey from Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling (PPP) shows that 52 percent of likely voters  approve of "Question 1" — an initiated measure that would overturn a 2009 ban and allow the state of Maine to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples — while 44 percent are opposed.

While LGBT advocates will be pleased that the measure eclipses 50 percent support, PPP's latest release shows a closer contest than previous polls have indicated.  Polls in the summer showed Question 1 winning by roughly 20 points, and another PPP survey in March showed it up by 15 points.  

“Our experience in polling gay marriage is that if people say they’re undecided it usually means they’re opposed to it,” said Dean Debnam, president of PPP, in the poll's release. “Despite the 8 point lead for passage this should be seen as a very close race.”

Maine voters in 2009 overturned a law that legalized same-sex marriage through a statewide referendum. 

Enthusiasm among Democrats nationwide and in 12 key battlegrounds has grown considerably since the beginning of the summer, according to a new poll from Gallup released Thursday.  

The poll shows that 68 percent of Democratic voters nationwide are now either "extremely" or "very" enthusiastic about participating in this year's election, up from 49 percent in June.  Republicans have seen a smaller uptick in enthusiasm levels, going from 52 percent who were enthusiastic in June to 62 percent in Thursday's poll.  A poll from Pew Research Center on Wednesday also showed Democrats narrowing the enthusiasm edge claimed by Republicans for much of the campaign.

The story is much the same in a dozen swing states, where 53 percent of Democratic voters were enthusiastic about this year's election in June.  Today, 73 percent of Democrats in those states are enthusiastic about voting, according to Gallup. Republican enthusiasm in the swing states ticked up 9 points since June to 64 percent.

Gallup's swing state sample includes registered voters in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin.