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

Republicans pilloried President Obama throughout the campaign for being a purportedly weak ally to Israel, but Election Day research suggests that the strategy flopped with Jewish voters.

The exit poll, conducted by Democratic firm GBA Strategies on behalf of the liberal Jewish advocacy group J Street, shows that Obama once again won by a large margin among Jewish voters, and that the contentious debate over Iran's nuclear program was a virtual non-factor.

According to the survey, 70 percent of Jewish voters nationwide supported Obama on Tuesday — down just 4 points from his 2008 share. Romney picked up only 30 percent support. The poll also found a sharp aversion to the Republican nominee among Jewish voters: 64 percent have an unfavorable view of Romney.

As was the case with other constituencies, the economy ranked far-and-away as the top issue for Jews. Only 10 percent cited Israel as the most important issue, and a paltry 2 percent identified Iran as the top concern.

Jim Gerstein, a pollster for GBA Strategies, said the results signal that Obama has not lost credibility with with the reliably Democratic constituency — and that GOP saber-rattling on Israel's national security, policy areas that are trumped by other issues, failed to move the needle for Romney.

“The only problem Obama has with Jews is that there aren’t more of them," Gerstein told reporters during a conference call Wednesday. "A candidate must be seen as supportive enough of Israel and pass that credibility threshold, and then [Jewish voters] quickly move on to other issues.”


Jim Graves, the Twin Cities hotel magnate and Democratic challenger to Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) in Minnesota's 6th Congressional District, released a statement Wednesday congratulating the three-term incumbent and one-time presidential candidate on her re-election.

I want to congratulate Rep. Bachmann on her victory last night. We wish her and her family the very best. I also want to thank all of the folks who worked so hard on our campaign over the last seven months. Their support has meant the world to me and my family and we are incredibly humbled by their dedication. We remain hopeful that our country can come together and address the pressing issues before us. Thanks again to all.

An effort to repeal the death penalty in California fell short at the polls on Tuesday.

With nearly all precints reporting, Proposition 34 — which would have supplanted capital punishment with life in prison without parole — was opposed by nearly 53 percent of California voters. The measure earned the support of 47 percent.

A proposed change to Minnesota's constitution that would have required photo identification in order to vote was rejected at the ballot Tuesday. 

The amendment finished with the support of 46 percent of Minnesota voters. Fifty-two percent voted against the measure.

The defeat of the amendment, which was passed by the state's Republican-controlled legislature in 2011, defies much of the pre-Election Day polling that indicated it was a favorite to pass.


Polls in some states are set to close within the hour, and results will start coming soon after that. Here is the timeline of when the polls will close in each state. Some, marked with an asterisk, have multiple closing times. All times listed are Eastern.

6 p.m.: Indiana*, Kentucky*

7 p.m.: Florida*, Georgia, Indiana*, Kentucky*, New Hampshire*, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia

7:30 p.m: New Hampshire*, North Carolina, Ohio, West Virginia

8 p.m.: Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida*, Illinois, Kansas*, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska*, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota*, Tennessee, Texas*

8:30 p.m.: Arkansas

9 p.m.: Arizona, Colorado, Kansas*, Louisiana, Michigan*, Minnesota, Nebraska*, New Mexico, New York, South Dakota*, Texas*, Wisconsin, Wyoming

10 p.m.: Idaho*, Iowa, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota*, Oregon*+, Utah

11 p.m.: California, Hawaii, Idaho*, Oregon*+, North Dakota*,  Washington+

12 a.m.: Alaska*

1 a.m.: Alaska*
* - multiple closing times
+ - mail-in states

Source: National Association of Secretaries of State

A Michigan voter emerged from an apparent brush with death on Monday with one concern trumping all others: did he finish casting his ballot?

From the Detroit News:

Ty Houston, 48, a home care registered nurse, was toiling on his absentee ballot Monday afternoon when things got strange at township offices on 13 Mile.

"I was filling out the form as were an elderly couple sitting at a nearby table," said Houston on Tuesday. "His wife, who was helping him fill out the ballot, asked him a couple of questions but he didn't respond. She screamed for help and I went over to see what I could do."

Houston laid the victim on the floor and went to work.

"He was dead," Houston said. "He had no heartbeat and he wasn't breathing. I started CPR, and after a few minutes, he revived and started breathing again. He knew his name and his wife's name."

What happened next astounded Houston and the victim's wife.

"The first question he asked was 'Did I vote?'"

Dumbfounded, the man's wife told him that whether he voted was the least of their concerns.

"She told him 'Your life is my concern,'" Houston said.

Nate Silver's polling analysis has been both manna for political junkies and a lightning rod for criticism from conservatives during the 2012 campaign. A report Tuesday indicates it has also been a major driver of the New York Times' web traffic.

According to The New Republic, 20 percent of visitors to the Times’ website made a stop at Silver's blog "FiveThirtyEight."

From TNR:

The Times does not release traffic figures, but a spokesperson said yesterday that Silver’s blog provided a significant—and significantly growing, over the past year—percentage of Times pageviews. This fall, visits to the Times’ political coverage (including FiveThirtyEight) have increased, both absolutely and as a percentage of site visits. But FiveThirtyEight’s growth is staggering: where earlier this year, somewhere between 10 and 20 percent of politics visits included a stop at FiveThirtyEight, last week that figure was 71 percent.

More from TNR:

According to Alexa, a Web information company, “538” is the eighth-most searched-for term that led visitors to the Times last month. And over the previous month, it grew more than any other referral term; other increasingly relevant terms were “nate silver” and “538.com.” Notably, no other Times staffers or brands appear on Alexa's lists of top referral terms or rising referral terms.

Correction: The post has been changed to indicate that 20 percent of Monday's visitors to the New York Times' website also visited FiveThirtyEight.


When the results of the 2012 presidential election pour in Tuesday night, the lights of the Empire State Building will keep New Yorkers updated in real time. 

From CNN:

As CNN projects winners in each state, the iconic beacon of Gotham will be exclusively displaying the race to 270 electoral votes with a vertical LED illuminated “meter” on its spire—blue for President Obama, and red for former Governor Romney.

And when CNN projects a winner in the presidential election, the full spire and upper floors change colors to either red or blue.

In an interview that aired Tuesday, President Barack Obama told radio host Ryan Seacrest that he's optimistic about the employment outlook for college graduates entering the work force.

"Well, what we've seen over the last 32 months, five and a half million new jobs created and the unemployment rate steadily moving down," Obama told Seacrest. "And so, job prospects for young people, especially if they're getting some sort of advanced degree -- whether it's at a community college or a four-year college -- the prospects for young people are going to be great. And it's going to be very important that we continue this progress and a lot of the debate during this campaign is, do we go back to the policies that got us in trouble in the first place or do we make investments in things like helping young people afford college."

The president also offered an Election Day admonition to listeners.

“The first thing is vote," Obama said. "Regardless of who you’re voting for our democracy works when the American people get involved. The American people are decent, hard working, and they’ve got great instincts. The more people participate the better the outcome.”

Mitt Romney enters Election Day with a 1-point lead in the final national tracking poll from Republican-leaning Rasmussen released Tuesday. 

According to the poll, Romney earns the support of 49 percent of likely voters nationwide, while President Barack Obama trails with 48 percent support. The Republican nominee led by an identical margin in Rasmussen's poll on Monday, and the two candidates were locked at 49 percent on Sunday.

Tuesday's poll also shows that 50 percent approve of the job Obama is doing — the fifth consecutive day Rasmussen has shown the president with an approval rating of at least 50 percent.

The latest poll was conducted Nov. 3-5 using automated interviews with 1,500 likely voters across the country. It has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

Obama currently holds an Election Day lead of about a half-point, according to the PollTracker Average.