POLITICS
02/11/2014 05:54 pm ET Updated Feb 12, 2014

HUFFPOLLSTER: Chris Christie's National Image Damaged By Bridge Scandal

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Another poll confirms the damage done by Bridgegate to Chris Christie's national image. Few Coloradans will tell a stranger on the phone they'd try marijuana brownies. And Americans love France. Again! This is HuffPollster for Tuesday, February 11, 2014.

ANOTHER U.S. POLL SHOWS CHRISTIE DECLINE VS. CLINTON - David Lightman: "Dragged down by controversy, Chris Christie is falling far, far behind Hillary Clinton in a potential matchup for the 2016 presidential campaign, according to a new McClatchy-Marist Poll. Christie still is neck and neck with several possible rivals in an early hypothetical matchup for the Republican presidential nomination. But general election voters are split almost evenly about whether he’s telling the truth about his role in the closing of a bridge in an act of political punishment. And his main claim to fame, that he alone among Republicans could compete against Clinton, has been seriously damaged. Four weeks ago, he trailed her by 13 points in the poll, 50 percent to 37 percent. Today, he trails by 21 points, 58 percent to 37 percent, faring worse than any other Republican tested except Sarah Palin." [McClatchy]

Other polls show similar shift - The McClatchy-Marist poll is now the fourth, along with CNN/ORC, PPP (D) and Quinnipiac, to show Christie rising nationally in December following his reelection as New Jersey governor and then falling in recent weeks following coverage of the bridge scandal. HuffPollster's poll tracking model finds Clinton's lead over Christie growing from an average of about 2 points in mid-December to nearly 19 points post-Bridgegate. Yes, the 2016 election is still a long way off, and the current results may bear little relationship to the actual contest that plays out two years from now. Nevertheless, Christie's early reversal of fortune is striking. [Pollster chart]

COLORADANS WORRY ABOUT MARIJUANA's EFFECT ON STATE IMAGE - Quinnipiac: "Legalization of marijuana for recreational use is bad for the state's image, Colorado voters say 51 - 38 percent in a Quinnipiac University poll released today…Only 10 percent of Colorado voters say they've tried marijuana since it became legal January 1, but 51 percent of voters say they've tried marijuana at some point. Among voters over 65 years old, 26 percent say they've tried marijuana at some point, rising to 57 to 59 percent among voters in younger age groups. Voters oppose 81 - 14 percent changing the law to allow people to grow more than 12 marijuana plants in their home, but say 73 - 26 percent that it wouldn't bother them if a neighbor grows marijuana at home….Only 17 percent of Colorado voters say it is 'very likely' or 'somewhat likely' they would try marijuana brownies if someone brought them to a gathering." [Quinnipiac]

PEW RESEARCH: HOW SOCIAL MEDIA & THE INTERNET AFFECT COUPLES - Amanda Lenhart and Maeve Duggan: "As technology becomes more deeply integrated into people’s lives, couples are feeling both the positive and negative effects of digital communications tools in their relationships. Fully 27% of online adults who are married or in committed relationships say that the internet has had an impact on their relationships; and a majority of them say that impact has been positive. However, technology is also seen as a negative source of distraction in some relationships; 25% of cell owners in serious relationships say the phone distracts their spouse or partner when they are alone together." [Pew Research]

Especially among young adults - More from Pew: "Young adults are more likely to report feeling closer to their spouse or partner thanks to technology: 41% of 18-29 year olds in serious relationships have felt closer to their partner because of online or text message conversations; 23% of 18-29 year olds in serious relationships report resolving an argument using digital tools that they were having trouble resolving in person."

ARE VETERANS THE NEW 'MONUMENT MEN'? - Pollsters Celinda Lake (D) and Christine Matthews (R): " In our jointly designed and administered poll of post-9/11 veterans in seven Western states for the nonprofit Vet Voice Foundation, an overwhelming 91 percent agree it is important to protect public lands and national parks for our children. In addition, 87 percent of polled veterans agree it is important to them that they spend recreational time outdoors for mental and emotional renewal. A majority also reports visiting parks and public lands with family in the past year. Not only do they use public lands, but veterans report also wanting to see Congress and the White House put policies in place that protect these places….Significantly, these poll results are not a partisan response: the responding veterans self-identified as 45 percent Republican, 24 percent Democrat and 20 percent independent." [Roll Call]

How did they sample vets? HuffPollster wondered, so we asked. According to the pollsters, the survey was conducted online and by telephone, with sample drawn from an online panel and respondents were screened to include only veterans of the armed services and active duty who had served post-9/11 (with the exception of the 15 respondents in New Mexico). Interviews were conducted from September 9 to October 20, 2013, and the survey reached a total of 686 post- 9/11 veterans in CA (121 interviews), CO (111 interviews), NV (107 interviews), NM (101 interviews, 15 served pre-9/11) MT (23 interviews), OR (108 interviews), and WA (115 interviews).

ANOTHER POLL SHOWS NEARLY TIED RACE IN LOUISIANA - Public Policy Polling (D) finds Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) 1 point up on GOP challenger Bill Cassidy. The Harper Polling survey critiqued in yesterday's HuffPollster showed a similarly close race, with Cassidy 1 point ahead. [PPP]

AND IT MIGHT SNOW A LITTLE OR A LOT - Republican pollster Glen Bolger, via Twitter: "NWS is predicting 3-20 inches of snow for the DC area. As a pollster, talk about a margin of error!" [@posglen]

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TUESDAY'S 'OUTLIERS' - Links to the best of news at the intersection of polling, politics and political data:

-Ten years after "Freedom Fries," Americans like France again. [Gallup]

-Sean Trende doubts demographics will destroy the GOP. [RCP]

-Bruce Rauner leads in a new poll of the Republican primary for Illinois Governor. [Chicago Tribune]

-Most Americans favor ties with Cuba. [New York Times]

-San Diego voters head to the polls for a mayoral runoff that looks like a tossup. [Reuters]

-"People surveyed in a hot room are more likely to say global warming is real, compared with folks in a cold room." [NYTimes via @Nate_Cohn]

-Glenn Kessler explains how an 8.5 percent survey result turned into a 74 percent talking point that earned 4 Pinocchios. [WaPost via @SFCpoll]

-Celinda Lake (D) joins Taegan Goddard for a podcast about how voters are responding to government gridlock. [iTunes]

-Ars Technica takes a closer look at the Republican Party's Para Bellum Labs project. [Ars Technica]

-A Canadian study redefines "troll poll." [CNN via @LSimonetta]

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