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 Quinnipiac poll of Florida shows that two-term Democratic  Sen. Bill Nelson could be in the fight of his life in his matchup against U.S. House Rep. Connie Mack (R).

The statewide poll of registered voters gives Mack a narrow one percentage point lead over Nelson, 42 percent to 41 percent — within the survey's margin of error of 2.4 percentage points.

Mack, who represents Florida's 14th Congressional District, is the heavy favorite to win the Republican Party's nomination in August.  In the Quinnipiac poll, he claims the support of 40 percent of Republicans.  No other GOP candidate tops ten percent.  

The PollTracker Average currently gives Nelson a razor-thin lead.


A trio of polls released Thursday give President Barack Obama marginal leads over presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney in three crucial swing states. 

The latest NBC/Marist surveys polled registered voters in Ohio, Virginia and Florida.  Obama enjoys his largest lead over Romney in Ohio, where NBC/Marist found the president favored by voters over the former Massachusetts governor, 48 percent to 42 percent.  The president's leads over Romney in Virginia and Florida are identical: 48 percent to 44 percent.  

Not only will the three states figure prominently in the 2012 electoral college map; they are also home to three elected officials rumored to be on Romney's veep shortlist.  The bad news for Romney: tapping Ohio Sen. Rob Portman (R), Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) or Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R) as a running mate would not improve the Republican ticket's chances in their respective stomping grounds.  The NBC/Marist poll found there is little change in the three swing states when Portman, McDonnell or Rubio are added to the hypothetical matchup, with the Democratic ticket of Obama and Vice President Joe Biden maintaining their leads in all three states.

The current PollTracker Average of Ohio, Virginia and Florida illustrates just how tight the race is between Obama and Romney in the three battlegrounds.  Below, the average for Florida shows Romney with a narrow lead: 


Gen. Colin Powell told CNN's Wolf Blitzer Wednesday that, like President Barack Obama, he supports the right of same-sex couples to get married. 

"I have no problem with it," Powell said. "In terms of the legal matter of creating a contract between two people that's called marriage, and allowing them to live together with the protection of law, it seems to me is the way we should be moving in this country. And so I support the president's decision."


Comedy Central has announced that First Lady Michelle Obama will appear on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" on Tuesday, May 29.

In what will be her second apperance on The Daily Show, the First Lady will be promoting her new book, AMERICAN GROWN: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America. 

Katie Couric said former Alaska Governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin has an "open invitation" to appear on her new show.  

Couric, of course, garnered considerable attention for her 2008 interview with Palin — then serving as the running mate of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) — who struggled to respond to many of the former CBS Evening News anchor's questions.

"She has an open invitation to come talk to me," Couric said during a stop Monday in Orlando to promote her new daytime talk show "Katie." "I'm not sure she'd be interested, but she'd certainly be welcome. She's a fascinating figure not only on the political scene but in popular culture."

If you were betting on President Barack Obama's chances to win Nevada in a Vegas casino, you would probably consider the state's staggering unemployment rate, its history of voting for Republicans in seven of the last 10 presidential elections and its large Mormon population. And you might be wise to put your chips on him anyway.

Despite the many factors working against Obama in the Silver State, he is still favored to beat Mitt Romney there in November. Nevada bore the brunt of the recession arguably worse than any other state. Its unemployment rate dipped below 12 percent for the first time since 2009 last week, but its jobless rate is still the highest in the country. While any improvement is welcome for the state's beleaguered economy, there was an important caveat: The dip in unemployment numbers was partly due to a shrinking labor force. On paper, that should validate Romney's constant criticism that the economy has not recovered fast enough under Obama.

But recent polls indicate that talking point is simply not resonating in Nevada. A survey from the Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling (PPP) last month gave Obama a healthy 8-point advantage over Romney in the state. Another poll released last month by Rasmussen Reports, a Republican-leaning firm, showed the president's approval rating in Nevada at 55 percent. The current PollTracker Average of both the presidential contest and Obama's approval rating in Nevada tells a similar story.

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A new Gallup survey shows the percentage of Americans who identify themselves as "pro-choice" on the issue of abortion has reached a record low.

Among 1,024 adults surveyed nationwide, 41 percent call themselves pro-choice, down six percentage points from last July and narrowly below the previous low recorded in May of 2009.

But the poll comes with an important caveat: 52 percent of those surveyed believe that abortion should be legal under certain circumstances.  Only 20 percent believe it should be illegal in all circumstances, while 25 percent believe abortion should be legal under all circumstances.   

In the wake of President Barack Obama's highly publicized announcement, a new poll shows that opposition to same-sex marriage has sunk to an historic low.

The Washington Post/ABC News survey released Wednesday shows that a majority of Americans, 53 percent, believe same-sex marriage should be legal, while only 36 percent believe it should be illegal.  For perspective, a WaPo/ABC poll from a mere six years ago showed that only 36 percent of Americans supported same-sex marriage.  

It's evidence of the ongoing shift in public opinion of same-sex marriage and perhaps further indication that Obama will not pay a political price for his support for marriage equality; indeed, his new position will likely yield a neutral outcome at the polls.  

From the Washington Post: 

The president’s announcement may prove to be a wash: Most Americans say Obama’s stance on gay marriage will not play a big role in their vote for president. And the number of voters who say it makes them more apt to support Obama’s bid for reelection is roughly the same as the number who say they are now more likely to oppose a second term for him.


  The PollTracker Average also currently shows a majority in support of same-sex marriage.  



The ABC/Washington Post survey of 1,004 adults nationwide was conducted May 17-20.  It has a margin of error of 3.5 percent.  

A new poll shows that North Carolina is still very much up for grabs, with President Barack Obama and presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney in a dead heat in the Tar Heel State.

The poll, conducted by SurveyUSA on behalf of WRAL-TV in Raleigh, Romney earns the support of 45 percent of likely voers, while Obama trails with 44 percent support.  That's well within the poll's margin of error of 4.4 percent.  

The poll also revealed that same-sex marriage, an issue that has generated considerable coverage in recent weeks due to Obama's public support and North Carolina's constitutional ban, might be a factor in the state's general election campaign.  Among the likely voters survey, 36 percent said the candidates' contrasting positions on the issue will be a "very important" factor, while 24 percent said it would not be a factor at all.

The current PollTracker Average currently gives Romney a narrow edge over Obama in North Carolina, which will play host to the Democratic National Convention in September.  


The new Quinnipiac poll of Florida shows a majority of voters there oppose same-sex marriage, already banned under the state constitution.  

Among voters surveyed, 50 percent said they oppose same-sex marriage, while 40 percent support.  But when given a three-way choice, 36 percent same-sex couples actually should be allowed to marry, 34 percent support their right to form a legal union but not marry, while 23 percent believe they should not receive any legal recognition of their relationships.  Florida passed a constitutional amendment in 2008 that defined marriage as union between a man and a woman.

But gay marriage will likely have little impact on the presidential race there: 63 percent of voters said President Barack Obama's recent support of same-sex marriage will makae no difference on their vote, while 59 percent likewise said that Mitt Romney's opposition to civil unions will not be a factor.  

The Quinnipiac poll, released Wednesday, also showed Romney besting Obama in Florida, 46 percent to 41 percent.