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

A week after President Barack Obama publicly supported same-sex marriage — and a week removed from the state's passage of a sweeping constitutional amendment that guarantees legal recognition only to marriage between a man and a woman — there has been a decided shift in attitudes among African-American voters in North Carolina, according to a new poll.

The latest survey from the Democatic-leaning Public Policy Polling (PPP) shows that 27 percent of black voters in North Carolina now support the right of gay and lesbian couples to get married, while 59 percent are opposed.  

That represents an 11-point change since PPP's final poll before last week's statewide vote on Amendment One, which was held a day before Obama's much-publicized announcement.  At that time, 20 percent of black voters were in favor of same-sex marriage, while 63 percent were opposed.  

A new poll suggests that a competitive U.S. Senate race could be developing in North Dakota.

The statewide poll of voters deemed likely to vote in the state's June primary — conducted by Essman/Research on behalf of Forum Communications Co — shows that Rep. Rick Berg (R), who was elected to Congress in 2010, leads former Democratic state attorney general Heidi Heitkamp, 51 percent to 44 percent.  Democrats and Republicans will hold their primaries on June 12, with both Berg and Heitkamp regarded as the favorites to claim their respective party's nomination.  

Berg and Heitkamp are seeking the seat being vacated by four-term incumbent Sen. Kent Conrad (D), who announced last year that he will not seek re-election.  

A new poll confirms that the race between President Barack Obama and presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney is shaping up to be a tight one.  

The poll, conducted by John Zogby on behalf of The Washington Times, shows Romney and Obama in a statistical dead heat: 43.6 percent to 43.2 percent, respectively.  Zogby, who polled likely voters nationwide May 11-12, said the survey reflects what appears to be an extremely competitive contest.  

“It’s tied. That’s pretty much where we are. The poll reveals what everybody feels,” Zogby told The Washington Times.

The TPM Poll Average paints a similar picture of the race, with Obama currently edging Romney by a razor-thin margin.


A clear majority of New Jersey voters favor a law that would allow same-sex couples to get married, according to the latest Quinnipiac poll.  But those same voters overwhelmingly support Gov. Chris Christie's (R) idea to allow voters to decide the fate of the law, which he vetoed after it passed the state legislature earlier this year, through a ballot referendum in November.

In the statewide poll of registered voters, 53 said they support same-sex marriage, while 42 percent are opposed.  But 67 percent said Christie's proposal to bring the law to a statewide vote is a "good idea."  Moreover, voters are split on both Christie's veto and the prospect of a legislative override.  When asked about Christie's veto, 44 percent said the governor did the right thing, while 48 percent said it was the wrong thing to do.  

There is a nearly identical divide over how the Democratic-controlled legislature should respond: 48 percent said that state lawmakers should attempt to override Christie's veto, while 45 percent said that legislators should not pursue that option.  

The latest poll from Fox News shows that a majority of Americans are opposed to a constitutional amendment that would define marriage as strictly between a man and a woman.  

Among registered voters nationwide, 53 percent were opposed to such an amendment, while 38 percent were in support. That's a far cry from 2004, when a Fox poll found that 52 percent of voters favored a constitutional ban, which presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney has said he supports.  

The most recent Fox poll also found that 37 percent of voters believe gay and lesbian couples should have the right to get married, while 33 percent favor a legal partnership comparable to but not labeled as marriage and 25 percent support no legal recognition.  

The latest survey from the Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling (PPP) shows an extremely competitive gubernatorial race developing in New Hampshire, where current Gov. John Lynch (D) will not seek a fifth two-year term.  

Both parties will hold their primaries on September 11, although the Republican nomination appears to be all but sewn up by Ovide Lamontagne.  Among Republican primary voters in the state, PPP found that Lamontagne — who has previously run unsuccessful campaigns for governor and U.S. Senate —leads former state legislator Kevin Smith, 53 percent to 13 percent.  The Democratic primary figures to be much tighter, with two former state legislators running neck-and-neck.  Among Democratic primary voters, Maggie Hassan edges Jackie Cilley, 23 percent to 20 percent.  

Democrats may struggle to decide which of their two candidates is the most "electable."  In PPP's general election questions, Cilley and Lamontagne are both locked at 38 percent, while Lamontagne narrowly tops Hassan, 40 percent to 39 percent.   

Former Sen. James Abdnor (R-SD) died this morning in Sioux Falls, S.D. He was 89.  

Abdnor's career in the Senate began in 1980 when he defeated former Democratic presidential nominee Sen. George McGovern. Abdnor lost his re-election bid in 1986 to another well-known Democrat from the Mount Rushmore State, former Majority Leader Tom Daschle.  

Mitt Romney is weighing in on the U.S. Senate race in Florida, endorsing Rep. Connie Mack (R-FL).  

Mack is currently battling George LeMieux, a former senator, in a Republican primary. The primary will be held on Aug. 14, with the winner earning the right to take on two-term incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) in the general election.

The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll reveals that voters are split when it comes to one of presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney's key campaign pledges. 

Among registered voters nationwide, the poll shows that 41 percent have a favorable impression of Romney's vow to repeal the health care reform law — colloquially referred to as "Obamacare" — that was passed and signed into law in 2010, while 42 percent have an unfavorable view of the proposal.  But the former Massachusetts governor's plan is unpopular among independents, with 47 percent saying they view Romney's call for repeal unfavorably and only 33 percent saying they have a favorable view.  

The results are somewhat surprising given that polls routinely show clear majorities favor repeal of the new health care law. The TPM Poll Average currently shows strong support for repeal.  


Republicans have decried President Barack Obama’s policy proposals as socialist, anti-business and tantamount to class warfare, but if the results of a new poll are any indication, independent voters may have a different response to Obama’s populist posturing: do more.

A survey conducted by the Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling (PPP) and commissioned by the Campaign for a Fair Settlement, a coalition of various organizations seeking to hold certain banks accountable for their roles in the housing foreclosure crisis, shows that independent voters in five potential battleground states would like to see the Obama administration do more to hold banks accountable and police Wall Street.  The five states included in the survey — Nevada, Florida, Arizona, North Carolina and Pennsylvania — will not only figure prominently in the 2012 presidential election; they were also among the most acutely affected by the housing crisis and ensuing recession.  

Significant majorities in all five states believe that some Wall Street executives were guilty of criminal actions in triggering the economic meltdown.  Moreover, majorities in each state also believe that the Obama administration — which has not filed a criminal charge against any top executive of a major financial institution —has not gone far enough in holding the banks accountable for their role in the housing collapse.  

“The President should heed the message independent voters are sending and show stronger leadership on housing,” Nish Suvarnakar, campaign manager for Campaign for a Fair Settlement, said in a statement. “Obama can help homeowners, his campaign and the overall economy by more aggressively pursuing banks’ criminal acts and supporting meaningful solutions for underwater homeowners.”