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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 from the Seattle-based consulting firm Strategies 360 shows President Barack Obama with a comfortable 11-point advantage over Mitt Romney in Washington, while the gubernatorial contest there remains close.  

In the statewide survey of likely voters, conducted May 22-24, 51 percent say they intend to vote for Obama, while 40 percent prefer Romney.  The two candidates running in the state's governor's race are about even, according to the poll.  Republican Rob McKenna, Washington's two-term attorney general, bests Democrat and former U.S. House Rep. Jay Inslee, 43 percent to 39 percent.

The TPM Poll Average currently shows McKenna with a comparable lead over Inslee.  

 

In an interview with BuzzFeed, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) called on the United States to help build a "coalition of the willing" in an effort to take down President Bashar al-Assad, whose regime in Syria has levied a brutal crackdown over the last week against rebels who have led the bloody uprising.  Rubio's choice of words harkens back to the build-up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, when Bush administration officials used the phrase to tout broad support for the war even as many allies took a pass on joining the American military engagement.

"The US is indispensable [in] increasing a Coalition of the Willing, for lack of a better term," Rubio said. The goal of the partnership is to create "that safe operating space where Syrians that desire freedom are able to organize themselves and create a cohesive political and military positioning,” he said.  The junior senator from Florida, however, declined to call for direct U.S. military action in Syria.

Ex-Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, who retired in 2010 after serving on the court for 35 years, issued a sharp criticism toward his former conservative colleagues Wednesday.

In a speech at the University of Arkansas, Stevens took aim at the court's conservative bloc for inconsistently applying the law in its controversial decision on campaign finance reform in the 2010 case, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.  Stevens wrote a blistering dissent in that case, and on Wednesday he revisited the decision that gave outsized influence to corporations, advocacy groups and wealthy individuals in political campaigns. 

"The court must then explain its abandonment of, or at least qualify reliance upon, the proposition that the identity of the speaker is an impermissible basis for regulating campaign speech," Stevens told the audience. "It will be necessary to explain why the First Amendment provides greater protection for some nonvoters than that of other nonvoters.

(h/t CNN)

President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are running neck-and-neck in three key battleground states, according to a trio of new NBC/Marist polls released Thursday.

The polls examine the state of the 2012 campaign in Iowa, Nevada and Colorado.  In Iowa, Obama and Romney each poll at 44 percent among registered voters including those who are undecided but leaning toward one of the two candidates.  The president holds a slim lead in both Colorado and Nevada, edging Romney by one and two percentage points respectively.  Obama carried all three states over Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) in the 2008 presidential contest.  

The polls make it difficult to determine which candidate has the upper-hand politically on the crucial issue of the national economy.  There are signs of economic optimism, with majorities in each state saying the worst of the recession is behind us.  Moreover, majorities in all three states say Obama inherited current economic conditions.  

But over 50 percent of voters in each of the three states believe the country is on the wrong track.  When respondents were asked which candidate would do a better job on the economy, Romney enjoys a slight advantage over Obama in Colorado and Iowa, while voters were split between the two candidates in Nevada.

The three polls not only reflect recent national head-to-head polls — nearly all of which have shown an extremely tight race between Obama and Romney — but also a round of NBC/Marist polls released last week.  Those surveys likewise showed tight races between Obama and Romney in Florida, Virginia and Ohio.

The TPM Poll Average currently shows the president with marginal leads over Romney in Iowa, Colorado and Nevada (shown below). 

  

The Republican presidential nomination finally his, Mitt Romney has seen a steady uptick in his favorability ratings since breaking free of the GOP pack. A new poll shows that trend continuing, and Romney has women, in part, to thank.

The latest ABC News/Washington Post survey released Wednesday shows Romney with his highest favorability rating of the presidential campaign in their polling. Among those surveyed, 41 percent view Romney favorably, while 45 percent view him unfavorably. Registered voters, however, are split: 44 percent have a favorable view of the GOP nominee, while 44 percent have an unfavorable view.

The poll provides the latest evidence that Romney has steadily gained support since Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich left the contest. Throughout the primaries, Romney routinely drew low marks from voters. That was particularly true among women, as Republicans drew criticism for trying to curtail coverage for contraception. But the survey shows Romney has rebounded with women. Forty percent view him favorably, up from 27 percent a month ago. His overall favorability was below 40 percent in last month's poll.

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A new poll from Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling (PPP) shows that neither President Barack Obama nor Republican nominee Mitt Romney are particularly popular in Missouri — and that's reflected in the competitive nature of the presidential race there.

The PPP survey shows Obama edging Romney among Missouri voters by the narrowest of margins, 45 percent to 44 percent.  And while Obama's approval rating is in negative territory — 44-52 percent — Romney's favorability rating is even lower in the Show-Me State, with 38 percent viewing the former Massachusetts governor favorably compared to 50 percent who view him unfavorably.  

Republicans have won Missouri in the previous three presidential contests and the state figured to be difficult terrain for Obama, but the GOP's nomination of Romney may ultimately give the president a chance there.

From Dean Debnam, President of PPP: 

Missouri remains surprisingly competitive. Barack Obama’s unpopular there but this was one of Mitt Romney’s weakest states during the primary season and it still hasn’t warmed up to him. This will not be part of the path to 270 for Obama but if he stays close there it could help Claire McCaskill.

The TPM Poll Average still gives Romney a slight advantage over Obama in Missouri.

  

Opponents to a Maryland law that legalizes same-sex marriage announced Tuesday that they have turned in more than twice the number of signatures necessary to bring the measure to a statewide referendum in November.  

With 113,000 signatures, the coalition of religious leaders and social conservatives vastly exceeded the 56,000 signatures necessary to bring the law before Maryland voters.  Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) signed the measure into law in March, making Maryland the eighth state to legalize same-sex marriage.  

A new poll shows that Americans widely view Michelle Obama positively, a continuation of the First Lady's high favorability ratings that have spanned her husband's entire first term.

In the latest nationwide survey from Gallup, 66 percent have a favorable view of the First Lady, while only 27 percent view her unfavorably.  According to Gallup, her favorability ratings have remained above 60 percent since January of 2009, when President Barack Obama entered office.  

 

Charles Taylor, the ex-Liberia president and once-feared warlord, was sentenced to 50 years in prison for war crimes committed during the civil war in Sierra Leonne in the 1990s.  The judge presiding over the case at an international criminal court in The Hague said Taylor's crimes, which include murder, rape, sexual slavery, recruiting child soldiers, enforced amputations and pillage, were of the "utmost gravity in terms of scale and brutality."  

The latest survey from Quinnipiac University shows New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) with a sky-high approval rating among registered voters in his state.  

Cuomo, who many believe will launch a White House bid in 2016, enjoys an approval rating of 71 percent, according to Quinnipiac.  Only 16 percent disapprove of the job the one-term governnor is doing.

From Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute: 

"Gov. Cuomo might not be the most popular governor in the nation, but he's the most popular - Democrat or Republican - in the seven states surveyed by Quinnipiac University. For example, he's well-ahead of New Jersey Gov. Christopher Christie's all-time best 59 - 36 percent. Cuomo tops that score among Republicans in New York State."     

The TPM Poll Average also reflects Cuomo's popularity in the Empire State.

  

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