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 new poll released Monday confirms a fact of which most Americans are well aware: Voters have grown sharply divided along partisan lines over the last quarter-century.

But the poll is striking in its revelation that party affiliations divide Americans more than any other mitigating factor, including gender, class, age and race.

The 25th anniversary edition of the Pew Research Center's American Values Project, the longest-running study the polling firm conducts, offers a wide-ranging look at the values, trends, partisanship and demographics that have permeated public life in the United States since 1987. Tracking public opinion on 48 political values, Pew's survey reveals that Americans have grown increasingly divided along party lines over the last 25 years -- while the divides based on gender, class, age and race have remained static.

"I don't think we're going to surprise many people in showing how polarized this nation has become on party lines," Michael Dimock, associate director of research at Pew, told TPM. "What's surprising is how stable the nation is in so many other ways."

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Gabriel Sherman of New York magazine reports that Bill Daley, former chief of staff to President Barack Obama, approached Michael Bloomberg earlier this year to offer the New York City mayor the top post at the World Bank.  Bloomberg declined and the Obama administration in March nominated Jim Yong Kim, President of Dartmouth College, to serve as president of the World Bank.   

From Sherman's report:

Last winter, Bill Daley, then Obama’s chief of staff, discreetly called the mayor and asked him if he wanted to be head of the World Bank—Robert Zoellick was stepping down. But Bloomberg did not want to have a boss, and he’d already begun to retool his life for his post-mayoralty. He turned the job down. 

A new CNN/ORC International poll released Monday shows Mitt Romney continuing to enjoy a steady improvement in his favorability rating.

According to the poll, 48 percent of Americans now view the Republican nominee in a positive light — a sharp jump since the CNN/ORC February survey, which showed Romney with a paltry 34 percent favorability rating.  But with a favorability rating of 56 percent in the latest CNN/ORC poll, President Barack Obama remains more popular than Romney.  

Romney has seen an ongoing bump in his favorability rating after surviving a bruising Republican nomination contest, during which the former Massachusetts governor's image took a relentless beating.  The TPM Poll Average captures the rise in Romney's favorability rating over the last two months.  


In a televised speech to parliament Sunday, Syrian President Bashar Assad insisted that his government played no role in last week's massacre in Houla that left over 100 people dead.  The embattled leader, facing mounting pressure from the international community to end the violence, blamed the bloodshed on foreign terrorists.  

"We are facing a real war from outside," Assad said. "Despite the political and reform process which we launched, terror has not stopped. I don't have a magic wand. I have tried all political solutions with no avail. Terror will not stop unless we force it to stop."

A new poll shows that California voters have decidedly turned against the proposed $68 billion bullet train project that would connect Los Angeles and San Francisco.  

In the latest USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times survey, 55 percent of voters say they want the bond issue, which was approved through a statewide referendum in 2008, placed back on the ballot.  Perhaps most distressing to proponents of the bullet train such as Gov. Jerry Brown (D), who has been pressuring the state legislature to green light construction on the project: 59 percent say they would now vote against it.  

A pair of polls released Saturday show the Massachusetts Senate race is living up to its billing as one of the tightest contests in the 2012 election cycle.

The polls also indicate Elizabeth Warren is weathering the controversy surrounding her claims of Native American heritage that has vexed her campaign for weeks.

In the latest survey from Western New England University Polling Institute, Warren holds a slim lead over Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA), 45 percent to 43 percent. A poll from the Boston Globe also shows a 2 percentage point gap between the two, this time with Brown edging Warren, 39 percent to 37 percent.

The TPM Poll Average currently shows Brown and Warren virtually tied.

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The BBC reports that huge crowds have gathered in Tahir Square in Cairo to protest the life sentence given to former Egypt President Hosni Mubarak on Saturday.  Mubarak was handed the sentence by a judge for his role in the killing of protesters during last year's uprising that ultimately led to his downfall. 

From the Associated Press:

The U.S. Department of Justice says at least some materials sealed as part of the court case against seven men involved in the 1972 Watergate burglary should be released.

The agency responded Friday to a request by a Texas history professor who is seeking access to materials he believes could help answer lingering questions about the burglary that led to President Richard Nixon's resignation.

Democratic Senate hopeful Elizabeth Warren won the endorsement of her party on Saturday, officially securing the nomination to challenge Republican Sen. Scott Brown.  Warren garnered the support of 97.5 percent of delegates at the state Democratic convention in Springfield, Ma.