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 bill proposed by Republicans in the Missouri General Assembly that would prohibit the teaching of sexual orientation in public schools appears to be losing traction fast, but opponents aren't content to allow the legislation to fade quietly from the public consciousness.

Legislators from both parties and gay rights advocates held a press conference at the state capitol in Jefferson City Wednesday to call for the bill, known officially as HB 2051, to be immediately withdrawn from the legislative calendar. After being introduced last month by state Rep. Steve Cookson (R) and 19 Republican co-sponsors, HB 2051 was referred to the House Committee on Elementary and Secondary Education, where it has languished with little sign of advancing. But some opponents are concerned that until the bill is cleared from the docket, it could still advance through some clever legislative maneuvering.

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The wife of a sponsor of North Carolina's Amendment One, a proposed change to the state's constitution that would ensure legal recognition only for marriage between a man and a woman, reportedly offered an eyebrow-raising explanation for her husband's support of the measure.

Jodie Brunstetter, the wife of state Sen. Peter Brunstetter (R), has found herself embroiled in controversy after suggesting that her husband's role in writing the bill -- which passed the Republican-controlled general assembly last fall -- was racially motivated.

According to the alternative Yes! Weekly, which picked up the remarks from freelance journalist and activist Chad Nance, Jodie Brunstetter told a poll worker in Winston-Salem, N.C. Monday that the reason her husband "wrote Amendment 1 was because the Caucasian race is diminishing and we need to uh, reproduce."

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Emboldened by a buildup of encouraging recent developments, opponents to North Carolina's Amendment One felt confident that the tide was beginning to turn in their favor. They may have just been dealt a reality check, as a new poll released today suggests that the tide isn't turning quickly enough.

The latest release from the Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling (PPP) shows that public opinion of the amendment has remained static since last week. In PPP's latest statewide survey of likely North Carolina voters, conducted on April 27-29, 55 percent of respondents said that they will vote for Amendment One while 41 percent said they will vote no. That amounts to virtually no change since last week when 54 percent -- the lowest level of support that PPP has found for Amendment One since it began polling last October -- said they intended to vote for the measure. With the May 8 vote looming, the anti-amendment campaign must now hope for a scenario that appears unlikely: significant poll movement in the span of a week.

Opponents to Amendment One have waged a two-pronged campaign with a dual emphasis on persuasion and education. Ever since the measure was approved by the Republican-controlled general assembly last fall, PPP has consistently found North Carolina voters to be ill-informed of what the amendment's passage would ultimately yield. More than simply a ban on same-sex marriage, Amendment One would preclude all civil unions and domestic partnerships from receiving legal recognition. In fact, the anti-amendment contingent has gone to great lengths to shift the debate away from gay rights. The Coalition to Protect NC Families, the organization behind the opposition campaign, released its first two television ads last week, which focused on the amendment's potential implications on recipients of domestic partnership benefits and domestic violence protections. Jeremy Kennedy, campaign manager for the Coalition to Protect NC Families, told TPM last week that he has emphasized to voters that same-sex marriage -- already illegal under North Carolina law -- will be unaffected by either outcome.

"What the other side says is that it's just about marriage and protecting marriage, but what we've been saying all along is that it's about much more than marriage," Kennedy said. "Why would we be so irresponsible to amend our constitution in a way that would strip families of benefits and domestic violence protections?"

PPP's latest poll shows that 40 percent of likely voters now understand that the amendment would ban both same-sex marriage and civil unions -- a four percent bump since last week. That may be the most discouraging revelation for the opposition, whose campaign has rested on the notion that as people learn more about it the less like they are to support the amendment. All along, Kennedy has remained cautious in his optimism, making it clear that he and his allies are "still the underdogs in this race." Today's poll serves as a reminder of that.

President Barack Obama holds an eight-point advantage over presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney, according to the latest United Technologies/National Journal poll.  

The nationwide survey of adults shows the president polling at 47 percent, while Romney trails with the support of 39 percent.  It was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International and has a margin of error of 3.7 percent.  

The poll underscores a sharp racial divide, with a staggering 94 percent of African-Americans supporting Obama.  Romney, on the other hand, garnered the support of 55 percent of white males with at least some college education.  The TPM Poll Average shows a slightly tighter race between Obama and Romney.

A new survey released by Public Policy Polling (D) shows waning support for the proposed marriage amendment in North Carolina ahead of the upcoming statewide vote on May 8.

The poll of likely voters shows 54 percent of respondents intend to vote for the amendment, while 40 percent are opposed.  That's still robust support, to be sure, but it's also the lowest level of support that PPP has found for the amendment since it began polling last October.  

The amendment is not simply a ban on gay marriage, as is widely believed.  Rather, the amendment would provide legal recognition only for marriage between a man and a woman, effectively outlawing both gay marriage and civil unions.  PPP has consistently found that as voters become more familiar with the far-reaching implications of the amendment, they grow less receptive to the proposal.

“Passage of the marriage amendment is looking like less and less of a sure thing,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “The more voters learn about it the less inclined they are to support it.”

Voters under the age of 30 comprised 18 percent of Colorado's turnout in 2008, outnumbering voters over the age of 65, and that injection of youth helped hand President Barack Obama a comfortable nine-point victory there. The big question going into 2012: Can Obama replicate those turnout numbers among younger voters?

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The latest CBS News/New York Times poll shows President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in the deadest of dead heats.  

In the nationwide survey of registered voters, Obama and Romney both drew 46 percent support.  That marks a slight shift since the previous CBS/NYT poll in March, when the president held a 3-percentage-point advantage over Romney.   

Romney has seen a bump in many polls since Rick Santorum suspended his campaign last week, with much of the Republican base consolidating behind the former Massachusetts governor heading into the general election campagin.  The TPM Poll Average currently shows Obama nursing a razor-thin lead over Romney.

A new survey from Public Policy Polling, a Democratic-leaning firm, shows President Barack Obama with a 5-percentage point advantage over Mitt Romney in the perennial bellwether state of Florida.

Obama leads Romney, 50 percent to 45 percent. Among the Floridians surveyed, 51 percent approve of Obama's job performance — the same percentage of respondents who find the former Massachusetts governor unfavorable.  

The TPM Poll Average shows Obama with a comparable lead over Romney in Florida, marking a significant turnaround for the president in the Sunshine State since the beginning of the year. 

A new Investor's Business Daily/Christian Science Monitor/TIPP poll shows President Barack Obama holding a comfortable eight point advantage over Mitt Romney, who has all but secured the Republican nomination.

The survey of 818 registered voters nationwide shows Obama claiming the support of 46 percent of respondents, while Romney trails with 38 percent.  Another encouraging detail for the president: he leads Romney among women voters, 48 percent to 35 percent.  

The poll, which has a margin of error of 3.3 percent, is yet another reminder of just how damaging the GOP nomination contest has been on Romney's brand.  A look back on the TPM Poll Average reveals that the former Massachusetts held a lead over Obama until early January, when the presidential primary season began in earnest.