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

Despite the enormous influence of Super PACs in the 2012 campaign, a huge majority of Americans have either heard only "a little" or "nothing at all" about the proliferation of spending by outside groups in this year's presidential election, according to a new poll released Thursday.

The poll from Pew Research, in collaboration with the Washington Post, shows that 25 percent of Americans have heard "a lot" about increased spending in this year's presidential election by outside groups unaffiliated with a candidate's campaign, known as Super PACs.  Thirty-six percent said they have heard "a little" about the spike in spending by outside groups, while 39 percent have heard "nothing at all."  Moreover, when given four choices as to what constitutes a Super PAC, 40 percent correctly identified it as "a group able to accept unlimited political donations," but 46 percent said they have no opinion.

Super PACs have already played a significant role in the 2012 presidential election.  Restore Our Future, the Super PAC supporting Mitt Romney, buried his Republican rivals with an avalanche of ads during the party's nomination contest earlier this year, and the group is poised to continue its domination on the airwaves through the November election.  

Reuters reports:

Syrian rebels turned the gun of a captured tank against government forces on Thursday, shelling a military airbase expected to be used as a staging post for army reinforcements in the battle for Aleppo.

President Bashar al-Assad's troops meanwhile bombarded the strategic Salaheddine district in Aleppo itself with tank and artillery fire while rebels tried to consolidate their hold on areas they have seized.

President Barack Obama isn't likely to duplicate his landslide 2008 victory in Connecticut this time around, a new poll released Wednesday shows.

The latest from Democratic-leaning firm Public Policy Polling (PPP) shows Obama leading Mitt Romney by a comofortable margin in Connecticut, 51-43 percent, but that's a far cry from the 22-point gap that separated the president from Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) there four years ago.  In a continuation of a nationwide trend, PPP finds that Obama continues to struggle to win over white voters, even in a typically blue state located in the heart of New England. Romney claims a narrow edge among white voters in Connecticut, 48-46 percent.  

To be sure, Obama is still the clear favorite in the Nutmeg State, which Democrats have carried in the last five presidential election cycles.   Wednesday's poll actually represents a decided improvement for Obama since PPP's previous survey of Connecticut in September, when he led Romney by only 2-points.

President Barack Obama holds a 6-point lead over Mitt Romney in Michigan, according to a new survey from an in-state pollster.

In the latest poll from Lansing, Mich.-based firm EPIC-MRA, Obama earns the support of 48 percent of likely voters in the Great Lakes State, while Romney trails with 42 percent.  The results are a departure from the previous EPIC-MRA poll in June, which found Romney leading Obama by a razor thin margin, 46-45 percent.  

Michigan has long been thought to be auspicious political terrain for Obama, due largely to his administration's successful restructuring of the U.S. automotive industry.  Despite recent polls that have shown the presidential race tightening in Michigan, the PollTracker Average shows the state still favors Obama, who currently leads Romney, 48.3-41.9 percent.  

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) leads U.S. House Rep. Connie Mack (R-FL) in Florida's ever-tightening U.S. Senate race, according to a new poll released Wednesday.  

A new poll from Quinnipiac University, CBS News and the New York Times shows Nelson leading Mack among likely Florida voters, 47-40 percent.  

Recent polls have shown Mack ahead of Nelson, who is seeking a third term.  The PollTracker Average tracks the inroads made over the last two months by Mack, but Nelson still clings to a slim lead, 44.5-43.9 percent.  

Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson looks increasingly vulnerable in his bid for the Republican nomination in the state's U.S. Senate race, a new poll released Tuesday night shows.  

In a new survey from Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling (PPP), businessman and upstart Eric Hovde leads the field, earning the support of 28 percent of likely Republican primary voters.  Thompson finds himself tied for second with former U.S. House Rep. Mark Neumann at 25 percent.  State Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald picks up 13 percent.  The primary election will be held on August 14, with the winner slated to take on Democratic U.S. House Rep. Tammy Baldwin in the general election.

Once a heavy hitter among Wisconsin Republicans, Thompson has struggled to win over a new generation of conservatives in the Badger State.  Thompson served as governor of the state from 1987 until 2001, when he assumed the role of Secretary of Health and Human Services under former President George W. Bush.

The PollTracker Average currently shows Thompson holding a 5-point lead over Hovde, 32.7-27.7 percent.

Finishing a full five points ahead of second place Russia, the United States women's gymnastics team won Olympic gold Tuesday in London.  The title marks the first time since 1996  — and only the second time ever — that the U.S. women's gymnastics team won the top prize at the Olympics.  

The NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll is expanding the number of cell phone-only respondents in its sample, the Republican and Democratic firms that conduct the survey announced Tuesday.  

After increasing the portion of cell phone-only respondents to 25 percent of the total sample in February, the NBC/WSJ polling team will now increase the percentage of cell-phone only respondents to 30 percent of the total sample — or 300 out 1,000 respondents.

The change is an effort to better "reach younger and more ethnically diverse respondents."


Former President Bill Clinton is now as popular with the American people as he ever was when he was in office, new research from Gallup shows.

Sixty-six percent of Americans have a favorable view of Clinton — matching the record high favorability rating achieved in January of 1993, when he began his first term.  Only 28 percent have an unfavorable view of the former president.