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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

A new poll released Thursday should serve as an encouraging sign for gay rights advocates in Marryland who are campaigning to keep a state law that legalized same-sex marriage on the books.

The statewide poll, conducted by the Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling (PPP) on behalf of Marylanders for Marriage Equality, shows that 57 percent of likely voters intend to vote for the referendum to uphold the law that was signed by Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) in March.  Only 37 percent of likely voters are plan to vote against the law.

The poll also finds a significant shift in opinion among African-American voters in Maryland, which has played a large role in the measure's emergence as a favorite to pass.  

From PPP

The movement over the last two months can be explained almost entirely by a major shift in opinion about same-sex marriage among black voters. Previously 56% said they would vote against the new law with only 39% planning to uphold it. Those numbers have now almost completely flipped, with 55% of African Americans planning to vote for the law and only 36% now opposed.

The latest NBC/Marist survey of Virginia released Thursday shows Tim Kaine holding a six-point lead over George Allen in the race for the Commonwealth's open U.S. Senate seat.

Among registered voters statewide, the state's former Gov. Kaine tops Allen, who represented Virginia in the Senate from 2001-2007, 49 percent to 43 percent.  After his gubernatorial term ended in 2010, Kaine became the chair of the Democratic National Committee, a post he left last year to launch his campaign.  The two candidates are vying to replace Sen. Jim Webb (D), who defeated Allen in 2006 and announced last year that he will step down after his first term in office.

The PollTracker Average of the race mirrors the results of the NBC/Marist survey, with Kaine currently enjoying a roughly six point lead over Allen.

 

A new Quinnipiac poll of Florida shows that two-term Democratic  Sen. Bill Nelson could be in the fight of his life in his matchup against U.S. House Rep. Connie Mack (R).

The statewide poll of registered voters gives Mack a narrow one percentage point lead over Nelson, 42 percent to 41 percent — within the survey's margin of error of 2.4 percentage points.

Mack, who represents Florida's 14th Congressional District, is the heavy favorite to win the Republican Party's nomination in August.  In the Quinnipiac poll, he claims the support of 40 percent of Republicans.  No other GOP candidate tops ten percent.  

The PollTracker Average currently gives Nelson a razor-thin lead.

 

A trio of polls released Thursday give President Barack Obama marginal leads over presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney in three crucial swing states. 

The latest NBC/Marist surveys polled registered voters in Ohio, Virginia and Florida.  Obama enjoys his largest lead over Romney in Ohio, where NBC/Marist found the president favored by voters over the former Massachusetts governor, 48 percent to 42 percent.  The president's leads over Romney in Virginia and Florida are identical: 48 percent to 44 percent.  

Not only will the three states figure prominently in the 2012 electoral college map; they are also home to three elected officials rumored to be on Romney's veep shortlist.  The bad news for Romney: tapping Ohio Sen. Rob Portman (R), Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) or Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R) as a running mate would not improve the Republican ticket's chances in their respective stomping grounds.  The NBC/Marist poll found there is little change in the three swing states when Portman, McDonnell or Rubio are added to the hypothetical matchup, with the Democratic ticket of Obama and Vice President Joe Biden maintaining their leads in all three states.

The current PollTracker Average of Ohio, Virginia and Florida illustrates just how tight the race is between Obama and Romney in the three battlegrounds.  Below, the average for Florida shows Romney with a narrow lead: 

 

Gen. Colin Powell told CNN's Wolf Blitzer Wednesday that, like President Barack Obama, he supports the right of same-sex couples to get married. 

"I have no problem with it," Powell said. "In terms of the legal matter of creating a contract between two people that's called marriage, and allowing them to live together with the protection of law, it seems to me is the way we should be moving in this country. And so I support the president's decision."

 

Comedy Central has announced that First Lady Michelle Obama will appear on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" on Tuesday, May 29.

In what will be her second apperance on The Daily Show, the First Lady will be promoting her new book, AMERICAN GROWN: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America. 

Katie Couric said former Alaska Governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin has an "open invitation" to appear on her new show.  

Couric, of course, garnered considerable attention for her 2008 interview with Palin — then serving as the running mate of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) — who struggled to respond to many of the former CBS Evening News anchor's questions.

"She has an open invitation to come talk to me," Couric said during a stop Monday in Orlando to promote her new daytime talk show "Katie." "I'm not sure she'd be interested, but she'd certainly be welcome. She's a fascinating figure not only on the political scene but in popular culture."

If you were betting on President Barack Obama's chances to win Nevada in a Vegas casino, you would probably consider the state's staggering unemployment rate, its history of voting for Republicans in seven of the last 10 presidential elections and its large Mormon population. And you might be wise to put your chips on him anyway.

Despite the many factors working against Obama in the Silver State, he is still favored to beat Mitt Romney there in November. Nevada bore the brunt of the recession arguably worse than any other state. Its unemployment rate dipped below 12 percent for the first time since 2009 last week, but its jobless rate is still the highest in the country. While any improvement is welcome for the state's beleaguered economy, there was an important caveat: The dip in unemployment numbers was partly due to a shrinking labor force. On paper, that should validate Romney's constant criticism that the economy has not recovered fast enough under Obama.

But recent polls indicate that talking point is simply not resonating in Nevada. A survey from the Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling (PPP) last month gave Obama a healthy 8-point advantage over Romney in the state. Another poll released last month by Rasmussen Reports, a Republican-leaning firm, showed the president's approval rating in Nevada at 55 percent. The current PollTracker Average of both the presidential contest and Obama's approval rating in Nevada tells a similar story.

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A new Gallup survey shows the percentage of Americans who identify themselves as "pro-choice" on the issue of abortion has reached a record low.

Among 1,024 adults surveyed nationwide, 41 percent call themselves pro-choice, down six percentage points from last July and narrowly below the previous low recorded in May of 2009.

But the poll comes with an important caveat: 52 percent of those surveyed believe that abortion should be legal under certain circumstances.  Only 20 percent believe it should be illegal in all circumstances, while 25 percent believe abortion should be legal under all circumstances.   

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