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

Arizona Democratic Senate hopeful Richard Carmona is offering an impassioned rebuttal to Republican Jeff Flake, whose campaign on Thursday dropped a ruthless ad that surfaced stinging allegations of anger management issues against Carmona.

Carmona's camp responded with their own ad featuring retired Capt. Kathleen Brennan, who served as Carmona's SWAT commander in the Pima County, Ariz. sheriff's department. 

"Rich treats everyone with respect," Brennan said in the ad.  "It doesn't matter whether you're male or female."



President Obama's senior campaign adviser David Plouffe dismissed the findings of a Mason-Dixon poll released on Thursday that showed Republican nominee Mitt Romney leading in Florida, 51 percent to 44 percent.

Arguing to the Tampa Bay Times that the poll is "not rooted in reality," Plouffe argued that it was unlikely that Obama is polling so low in the Sunshine State.

"We got 57 percent of the Latino vote, according to exit (polls) last time," Plouffe said.  "We think we'll probably push 60 or above this time.  It's impossible for us to be at 44 in Florida."  

The Mason-Dixon poll was conducted on behalf of the Tampa Bay Times, Bay News 9, Miami Herald, El Nuevo Herald and Central Florida News 13.


A CBS News snap poll taken after Thursday night's vice presidential debate indicates that half of "uncommitted voters" surveyed believe Vice President Joe Biden bested Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI).  

The online poll shows that 50 percent of uncommitted voters — defined as voters who have either not settled on a candidate or who could change their minds — believe Biden won the debate in Danville, Ky., compared with 31 percent who said Ryan won.  Nineteen percent said the debate ended in a tie.

The once-sizable lead claimed by Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey (D) in his re-election bid has been cut in half, a poll released Friday shows.

Casey leads Republican challenger Tom Smith by 10 points among likely Keystone State Voters in the latest Philadelphia Inquirer poll, 48 percent to 38 percent, a sharp drop for the Democratic incumbent since August.  The Inquirer poll that month showed Casey with a wide lead over Smith, 53 percent to 34 percent.

Casey's lead has dwindled since September, according to the PollTracker Average.


One of the biggest prizes on the 2012 electoral map, Virginia represents a battleground where both President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney believe they can win in November. A pair of polls released Thursday morning make the eventual outcome there all the more uncertain.

In one poll, released jointly by Quinnipiac University, CBS News and the New York Times, Obama leads Romney among likely voters in the state, 51 percent to 46 percent. The other, from NBC News, Marist College and the Wall Street Journal, shows Romney narrowly edging the president by one.

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It's still unclear what the long-term fallout from President Barack Obama's lackluster debate performance will be, but a poll released Thursday shows he continues to hold the upper-hand in the coveted bellwether of Ohio.

That's the upshot of the latest survey from NBC News, Marist College and the Wall Street Journal, which shows Obama leading Romney among likely Buckeye State voters, 51 percent to 45 percent. While that's a 2-point uptick for Romney since the previous NBC/Marist/WSJ poll Ohio released a week ago, which showed Obama up 51 percent to 43 percent, voters' impressions of the two candidates have remained largely the same.

Fifty-one percent of Ohio voters view Obama favorably, down only 1-point from the previous poll, which was conducted in late-September and early-October. The 44 percent of Ohio voters who view the president unfavorably is unchanged. Obama's job approval rating has inched up a point to 49 percent. Meanwhile, Romney's own favorability rating is up 2 points to 44 percent, although half of Ohio voters still have an unfavorable view of the Republican nominee — virtually the same as the last NBC/Marist/WSJ poll.

Ohio voters still prefer Obama over Romney when it comes to the economy and foreign policy; in fact, the president has slightly widened his lead in those areas over the last week. Obama tops Romney on the question of which candidate would do a better job on the economy, 49 percent to 45 percent, a 1-point improvement for the president since the previous NBC/Marist/WSJ poll. Additionally, Obama's 12-point edge over Romney on foreign policy amounts to a 1-point improvement since last week.

Thursday's poll indicates that 62 percent of Ohio's likely voters tuned in to the first presidential debate, while another 21 percent said they mostly watched news coverage. But 92 percent of the same likely voters said their minds were already made up prior to the debate, with only 7 percent suggesting they made a decision after its conclusion.

The PollTracker Average currently shows Obama with a 1.5-point edge in Ohio, which places the state in the toss-up column on the TPM Electoral Scoreboard.

The NBC News, Marist College and Wall Street Journal poll was conducted Oct. 7-9 using live phone interviews with 994 likely Ohio voters. It has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.

President Barack Obama holds to a 1-point lead over Mitt Romney in Florida, according to a poll from NBC News, Marist College and the Wall Street Journal released Thursday.

Obama's lead among likely Sunshine State voters, 48 percent to 47 percent, is virtually identical to the advantage seen in the NBC/Marist/WSJ poll released a week ago and conducted before the first presidential debate.  In that poll, the president led Romney, 47 percent to 46 percent. 

Moreover, the president appears to have paid little to no political price in the critical battleground following his widely panned performance in the debate.  Obama's approval rating of 48 percent among likely Florida voters is unchanged since last week, while 52 percent have a favorable view of the president — a 2 point bump since the pre-debate poll.  Romney's image has also improved, with his favorability rating inching up 3 points to 49 percent.

The PollTracker Average shows a dead heat between Obama and Romney in Florida.


President Barack Obama leads Mitt Romney by 3 points in Wisconsin, while the Republican nominee claims a slim 1-point edge in Colorado, according to a poll from Quinnipiac University, CBS News and the New York Times released Thursday.  

Obama leads Romney among likely Badger State voters, 50 percent to 47 percent.  Thursday's poll indicates that Romney has made a dent in Obama's lead in Wisconsin since last month.  The previous Quinnipiac/CBS/NYT poll in mid-September showed the president with a 6-point lead in Wisconsin.

Romney's edge in the western battleground of Colorado is a reversal from last month's Quinnipiac/CBS/NYT poll, which showed the president with a 1-point lead.  

Seventy-two percent of likely Colorado voters said Romney bested Obama in the first presidential debate, which was held in Denver, while 65 percent of Wisconsin voters said the same.  Nearly 30 percent of likely voters who watched the debate in both states  said they think worse of the president in the wake of his performance in the debate.  A majority of voters in Wisconsin and Colorado said the debate will have no effect on their vote.

The PollTracker Average shows a toss-up in Colorado, while Wisconsin currently favors Obama.


President Barack Obama holds an 8-point lead over Republican nominee Mitt Romney in Pennsylvania, according to the results of a new poll announced Wednesday evening.

The latest Philadelphia Inquirer poll shows Obama earning the support of 50 percent of likely voters in the state, while Romney trails with 42 percent.  That amounts to a small uptick for Romney since the previous Inquirer poll in September that showed Obama up, 50 percent to 39 percent.  

Romney's personal popularity has improved only marginally, even in the wake of a triumphant performance in the first presidential debate.  While 65 percent of debate watchers in the state declared Romney the winner of the debate in Denver, only 47 percent of Pennsylvania voters have a favorable view of the former Massachusetts governor — a modest 2-point bump since the September poll.  

Obama's favorability rating has also changed little: 55 percent of voters said they view the president favorably, down only a point from a month ago.  

The PollTracker Average currently shows Obama with a 5-point edge in Pennsylvania.


Freshman Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) holds a roughly 6-point lead in Rhode Island's 1st Congressional District, according to a new poll from Brown University released Wednesday.

The poll shows Cicilline leading Republican challenger Brendan Doherty among likely voters in the district, 45.8 percent to 40.3 percent.  David Vogel, an independent candidate, picks up 6.8 percent support while about 7 percent of voters remain undecided.